It’s the busiest weekend of the year, the weekend before Christmas, and the streets of Manchester will be manic with frantic shoppers picking the perfect gift for their loved ones. To remain sane, and have something to look forward to when you are all shopped out, Manchester House‘s Lounge on 12 has a new winter afternoon tea where they will welcome you with open arms.
We visited on a particularly murky day when the clouds were filled with snow, but the incredible views over the City were still there and await you as the perfect escape from the busy streets. Despite the floor to glass windows and light leather furniture, the Lounge on 12 is warm and inviting creating the perfect ambiance to relax and recover.
The new afternoon tea can be enjoyed on its own (£25), with a glass of champagne (£35) or with a perfectly paired cocktail flight (£45). Head Chef Nathaniel Tofan has designed the dishes specifically to work with the cocktail flight so, if you can afford this option, I would definitely recommend it. We visited really early in the day with plans later on so I didn’t want to be too squiffy after the tea. The champagne was welcomed and is a lovely way to enjoy the views whilst waiting for the food to arrive.
At first glance, the afternoon tea appeared slightly smaller than others I have had, how wrong I was! Neither of us managed to finish it and left with full happy tummies that lasted for the rest of the afternoon.
My absolute favourite element is this delightful little shot of bloody mary demitasse with bison vodka jelly. Inspired by the bloody mary cocktail, this more like a soup served warm and the little dots of jelly throughout add a lovely bit of texture to it. I’d love to see this as a starter on the main menu!
The sandwiches, ham & mustard and cream cheese & cucumber, were fresh and soft with a fairly thin yet rich filling. The chicken and tarragon buns were also good, in fact my friend dipped his into the bloody mary shot declaring it the perfect accompaniment! The Lancashire cheese and onion pie was lighter than I was expecting but the crispy shell was well seasoned and it worked well with the spicy piccalilli served on top.
Onto the desserts where tea from Teapigs is also served. The fruit scones are light and fluffy with ample cream and jam. Devon or Cornwall style (I’m a Devon style girl, cream goes first!) these scones are dainty so won’t spoil your appetite for the other desserts that await. The shot of Manjari chocolate mousse with tonka and vanilla panna cotta, caramel and gold is rich and dense but in a small portion so not too overwhelming. The rose and grapefruit battenberg is fragrant whilst the Manchester tart a slight twist on the classic with raspberry meringue and custard.
The choux buns filled with a pistachio creme were my favourite and what toppled me over the edge in terms of fullness. Whilst the cream was lightly whipped and airy, they were a decent size and I struggled to finish mine.
The afternoon tea as a whole is very relaxing and the Lounge was full when we visited which was lovely to see. There were some issues with service due to it being so busy and the fact the new afternoon tea had just been launched in the last few days. For example, we asked for a jug of water with the champagne which never arrived, and the tea arrived without cups which we had to then wait for. Not major issues and certainly something, I would guess, has now been remedied as the afternoon tea has been available for the last week or so. It is the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle as well as the perfect way to toast yourself for getting all your Christmas shopping done, we all need to celebrate that right?
I was invited to try the new afternoon tea at Lounge on 12 as a guest and was not asked to pay.