50 Dearmans Place, Chapel Wharf, Manchester, M3 5LH (View on map)
This was a special afternoon tea tasting trip with the usual suspects of H, E and N. H and E had organised this visit and N and I had chosen not to be told where we were going, but instead it was going to be a surprise. This suited me fine (once I’d checked the dress code and the price) as I like surprises. Perhaps because I didn’t know beforehand, or just because it’s a very stylish hotel, I got a bit snap happy and took lots of photos.
Before heading to The Lowry Hotel we had looked round the craft and design gallery of the Manchester Art Gallery. This had dozens of beautiful teapots as well as other beautiful yet useful things. I appreciated the design care The Lowry Hotel had put into their afternoon tea surroundings and food all the more after seeing the gallery.
Stylish as it was, the lack of carpet and liking for chrome meant the room was very noisy and this meant we couldn’t hear each other properly at times, but never mind. The Ritz‘s love of plush upholstery and thick carpet is justified. And they had sugar cubes – The Lowry only had sugar packets.
The menu was already on the table when we sat down and our first thought was ‘this is not enough tea’. The menu gave of a choice of about seven types of tea and only three of those were black tea. The choices were Earl Grey, Breakfast blend and an Afternoon blend (described as 50% Assam, 50% Darjeeling). H prefers a lighter tea and would usually have a Darjeeling. She ordered the Afternoon blend and found it too strong.
We sometimes have trouble with an equal amount of sandwiches as H and N are vegetarians, E will eat fish but not meat and I eat everything. The Lowry coped without any trouble and presented us with ham, salmon, cream cheese and cucumber, Lancashire cheese and tomato and egg – all to the correct people. I think H and N also had a hummus sandwich.
Scones were small and lovely with enough jam and cream to go round. The cake course had a raspberry and white chocolate cake, a passion fruit tart and a pistachio and chocolate mousse. They were all delicious, my only grumble was that the spoon we were given to eat the mousse with was too big to get all of the mousse out of the glass it was served in. A variety of methods were employed to try and get this last bit of extremely good mousse out and the favoured technique was turning the spoon upside down and using the handle. It’s not good table manners, but when there’s chocolate at stake…
All in all a reasonably good afternoon tea and the restaurant was decorated in my favourite colours so I was happy.
Teapot? Yes, but the three of us drinking the afternoon blend had to share a teapot that looked like a coffee pot. And we had to ask for hot water.
Leaf tea? Yes.
Milk jug? Yes, but only one between four so we had to ask for a refill.
Price? £19.95 each, but with service charge automatically added so it brought it to just under £22 each.
Go again? Yes.