There is so much afternoon tea around these day, that I think many places just plop it on the menu and then serve up some sub-standard cake and curly sandwiches in order to fulfil a need. You won’t read about those places here. I only want to share the good stuff and Mamucium in Manchester is my latest find.
It was actually my sister who suggested we take our teenage nieces to Mamucium – right next door to Manchester Victoria station. I was perplexed as she isn’t one to generally have her finger on the pulse of new foodie openings, but it turns out that she knows a pastry chef there. So all in the name of support (yeah right, like we need an excuse to go and scoff cake!) we trundled off on a gawd awful rainy mid-week jaunt during the school holidays.
Mamucium is actually part of a relatively new hotel called Hotel Indigo. The building was much smaller that I was expecting for a hotel, but it is nice to see that they’ve renovated an existing old one instead of building something new and bland.
The restaurant and attached café are lovely (aside from the ‘industrial’ ceiling which just looked unfinished). Windows wrap around so it is full of light and great for people watching.
Let’s get the negative out of the way first. I just felt that the staff were a little un-prepared for the afternoon tea menu. Firstly the menu itself lists the food, but not the drinks – or even how the drinks work. Do you get one pot of tea? Is it unlimited? Can you have coffee or a soft drink? No one offered up this info either. Also, no tea menu. If you have a good selection of teas, as you should with afternoon tea, list it so that the staff don’t have to go and look it up. They’d only been open a couple of months by this point, so maybe everything is still bedding in, but it did stick with me unfortunately.
However, the food made up for this. It was great to see an afternoon tea with lots of local and regional references.
It certainly looked impressive when it arrived at the table – everything was very generous in size and it all looked so fresh. It was hard to resist just jumping straight into the cakes, but we were all very grown up and did it the right way!
Often overlooked, I think the savouries are as important as the cake, because they are the first taste.
The bread was all super fresh and tasty. My favourite was a rye with Manchester smoked salmon and cream cheese– which is a surprise because I am not a huge smoked salmon fan. Well, I am now! The bread was full of flavour but not concrete like some dark rye. A surprising flavour combo arrived in the shape of a feta and tuna wrap. Feta. Tuna. Together. None of us had ever considered this weird combo before, but it really works! There was a fresh egg mayo which made me forgot the 1,000 terrible egg mayo’s from the past, and a little oven bottom roll with ham and mustard.
Each stand served two and came with a plain scone and a fruit scone, so we shared in order to taste both. Good scones, still warm which I love. I must admit, I would much rather have an option of butter instead of cream, but I sense I am in a tiny minority with that thought!
Vimto macaron – let’s just have a moment to appreciate how beautiful that macaron is. That colour is unsurpassed, and although the Vimto flavour was very subtle, it was there and it was an excellent macaron. In fact, one of the best I’ve ever had.
Manchester tart – all the traditional Manc tart flavours in a two-bite tart. Really short pastry, great custard.
Chocolate orange opera – save it for last, or take it home. It is chocolate overload and needs some serious time and attention when eating it. Glorious!
Lemon choux – we all thought that this was very, very sweet. There is a lot of lemony cream in there, so don’t say I didn’t warn you! I would have liked a slightly smaller choux and a slightly larger tart maybe. Although I did eat it all!!
Leftovers were boxed up and taken home to share the love. Incidentally, it was ridiculously good value at £14.95 per person – including a pot of tea / coffee each for those who wanted it – although it is worth noting that soft drinks are extra.
SHE LOVES: a nod to local flavours, and Vimto. Everyone loves Vimto!
Mamucium: 6 Todd Street, Manchester. M3 1WU