It’s the only hotel in town with a room exclusively dedicated to afternoon tea
Today is National Tea Day apparently, but that to Confidential is like national air-breathing day. We love a nice brew and if glossy cakes and dainty sandwiches are thrown in too, then even better.
Despite serving afternoon tea to guests for over 110 years, the mid-afternoon offering at Manchester’s iconic Midland Hotel has, until recently, become a little tired. As part of a recent multi-million pound investment, which included a £1.5m upgrade of the spa area, as well as an overhaul of its two main restaurants, Mr Cooper’s and The French, Q Hotels have just splashed over £110k on creating a dedicated tea room.
No longer do tea lovers have to vie with guests for table space in the bar area, now they are able to enjoy their beverage in the peaceful, elegant surroundings of The Tea Room which overlooks St Peter’s Square. The area previously known as the Wyvern Room (and before that, it was used as an office) used to be an overspill breakfast area, but now it’s a haven of tranquility with cool cream and grey panelled walls and soft grey carpets.
This is the only setting in Manchester dedicated entirely to afternoon tea. It even has its own dedicated uniformed waiting-on team and a special ‘chef’s counter’, where guests can watch the hotel’s expert pastry team preparing sandwiches, cakes and pastries.
The Midland’s executive chef Brian Sparks has designed a new menu to enhance The Tea Room experience. Dainty finger sandwiches involve various fillings on specialist bread. You’ll find prawn and crayfish Rockefeller on spinach bread and English cucumber with Hendrick’s gin and apple compote on dark malt bread, which puts a modern twist on traditional afternoon tea fayre.
The hotel has sourced high-quality ingredients from a number of local suppliers such as Cheshire’s Mrs Darlington who make jams and lemon curd which they serve alongside traditional freshly-baked scones. An indulgent selection of delicate pastries and cakes include Valrhona Guanaja chocolate torte with feuilletine and gold leaf, a glossy pink Yorkshire rhubarb confection with custard, gingerbread and white chocolate, lemon and poppy seed cake and (our favourite) roasted pecan tart with maple syrup jelly and caramel mousse.
Guests can wash these down with a choice of bespoke loose-leaf teas, including three special blends which are exclusive to the hotel; Jubilee, the Midland and the 1903.
Christopher Wayne-Wills, general manager, said: “The Midland has been serving afternoon tea since it first opened its doors in 1903. By creating a beautifully-designed, contemporary and superbly positioned room specifically for this purpose, we’re opening an exciting new chapter in the hotel’s glittering history.
"We’ve combined the best of tradition, such as uniformed waiting staff, with modern twists to the menu and exclusive tea blends, to create a truly special afternoon tea experience. Our aim is for The Tea Room at The Midland to become renowned for afternoon tea not just in the North but nationally.”
Afternoon tea at The Midland is served daily between 1pm and 4.30pm and costs £25 per person. The Royal Afternoon Tea – which includes a glass of Champagne – is £32.
The Tea Room at The Midland Hotel, Peter St, Manchester M60 2DS. Tel: 0161 235 4782.