With less than 14 days to go to the big day (1,209,600 seconds to be precise), you may have done all your Christmas shopping and feel like you deserve a treat. Even if you haven’t even glanced at your Christmas shopping list *guilty cough*, you need a pat on the back for showing up and powering through these grey, chilly days.
I find taking afternoon tea is the perfect pick-me-up and time-out from a hectic schedule. One of the things on my “To Do List” is to practise self-care and mindfulness. I can’t think of a better place to do this than Manchester House, where sweeping views of the Manchester skyline make for stunning vistas any time of the day.
We had the Champagne Afternoon Tea; I had mine with Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Rosé, whilst dining partner had Veuve Clicquot.
This was afternoon tea with a difference. In addition to a savoury selection of sandwiches, was an inventive take on the tomato soup; hot Bloody Mary demitasse with Bison Vodka jelly. Hints of the herb flavoured vodka came through on the swallow and was a superb marriage with the wonderfully piquant tomato.
Lancashire cheese and onion pie had a good quiche texture, whilst the chicken and tarragon bun came in a gloriously golden brioche bun.
Personal favourites included the ham and mustard mayonnaise sandwich (great call with the spiked mayo) and cream cheese and cucumber sandwich (I could a whole loaf of this and not get bored).
What I love about Manchester House is their intrepid streak of pushing boundaries. Like Richard Branson, the Manchester House chefs are constantly inventing, which is why I was intrigued by their Mancunian take on the billionaire shortbread dessert. Manjari chocolate mousse with Tonka and vanilla panna cotta adorned with caramel and gold was a feast for the eyes. Using a single origin Madagascan chocolate couverture from renowned chocolate-maker Valrhona is a good call for chocoholics. The deep, dark chocolate with hints of red fruit and slight acidic tang went very well with the aromatic almond and cherry base of the Tonka bean.
I loved the presentation of the Manchester House tart. Chewy raspberry meringue and creamy custard was a delicious combination, I especially liked the cerise flecked meringue crown that was (almost) impossible to eat because it was too pretty.
Rose and grapefruit Battenberg was another piece of eye candy, consisting of moist and deliciously sticky sponge. Refreshing grapefruit tempered fragrant rose petals made for another winning flavour combination, and I think this was my favourite cake and Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Rosé combination.
Matcha green tea and spiced plum choux was adventurous; I’m not a fan of Matcha tea (I find it’s an acquired taste) but the whisper of Matcha was actually very good with the spiced plum.
Scones with strawberry jam and clotted cream was a classic combination that rounded off the afternoon tea nicely.
Manchester House is an institution, and to take afternoon tea here – sipping Champagne whilst admiring the magnificent views – is a must, especially during this festive season.
There are a range of different options available from High Tea to Cream Tea, prices starting at £13. For a slice of zen and a really special pick-me-up, visit Manchester House now.
Rating: (1: Hate: I’d rather eat my shoe – 10: Love: I’d sell my kidney for a meal here)
Value for money: 9
Restaurant name: Manchester House
Address: Manchester House, 18-22 Bridge Street, Spinningfields, Manchester M3 3BZ
Opening times: Afternoon Tea served 12noon – late
How to make reservation: Online & telephone
Call: 0161 835 2557
Front of House: Ashton
General Manager: Riccardo Nelly
Head Chef: Nat Thornton
Whilst in the area check out: Emporio Armani, Mulberry or a host of pretty boutiques bedecked with twinkly fairy lights. Spinningfields is shopping heaven for fellow shopaholics, and the perfect pitstop in a postcard perfect environ.