Situated on the 3rd floor, overlooking the hustle and bustle of Manchester’s Piccadilly Gardens, you will find the 4 star Mercure Hotel’s Brasserie and Bar; STYLEetc. was kindly invited along at the weekend to sample their indulgent afternoon tea offering – with a quirky Mancunian twist.
Situated right in the heart of Manchester’s Piccadilly Gardens, the Mercure Piccadilly hotel can be found right next to the bus terminals and Metrolink tram stop, a welcome notion for visitors unfamiliar with the city’s layout.
Upon our arrival, we were kindly directed to a set of lifts to take us up to the Brasserie on the 3rd floor. When we reached the restaurant, there were a handful of people relaxing with a drink on what was an overcast Sunday afternoon, but no real sign of the staff; we waited for someone to greet us by the entrance to no avail, but after a couple of minutes a staff member noticed we were waiting and quickly sat us at our table.
We were sat on a tall table right next to the striking floor-to-ceiling windows, which offered a stunning panoramic view of the city’s Piccadilly Gardens.
Once seated, we were then left to our own devices for about 15 minutes before someone came over to take the order; which was found odd considering we were surrounded by empty tables. But, at least it gave us a chance to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy watching the people below through the full-length windows.
The Brasserie itself offers a variety of seating arrangements, including cosy couches to relax on and enjoy a coffee and tall bar tables overlooking the view. Although in a prime city location, it was surprising to find the brasserie virtually empty, especially as we arrived during the peak of Sunday lunchtime.The brasserie windows are lined with fairy lights, and neon lighting can be found around the edges of the restaurant, so one would imagine the location would be a more tranquil setting to enjoy an evening meal and a few cocktails compared to the surrounding establishments, allowing you the opportunity to sit back and relax.
The afternoon tea at the Mercure Manchester Piccadilly is a pretty unique affair, as the selection of sandwiches and cakes take inspiration from the city itself, along with the food products that the region is famed for.
The locally-inspired Manchester themed afternoon tea offers a quirky selection of miniature delights, featuring some of Greater Manchester’s most famous food exports; including Bury black pudding, Vimto cordial, Kellog’s Cornflakes and Duerr’s fruity jams. An afternoon tea like you’ve never had before, Mercure combines traditional elements with a unique flair, for a memorable culinary experience.
Finger Sandwich Selection: Coronation (Street) Chicken and Patak’s spices. Cheshire cheese with Boddingtons chutney. Ham and tomato relish. Prawn Sandwich (once made famous by Roy Keane at Old Trafford).
Bury black pudding Scotch egg coated with a Kellogg’s Corn Flakes crumb
Home-made Jaffa Cakes
Scones with Clotted Cream and Duerr’s Strawberry & Apricot Jam
When the waitress came over to take the drinks orders, we decided to opt for some tea. Although the tea menu was not overly extensive, it included all the fan favourites, such as English Breakfast, Egyptian Mint, Earl Grey, Jasmine Green Tea, Citrus Camomile and Strawberries & Cream; keeping the most discerning of tea drinkers happy.
For a welcome change, the Strawberries and Cream tea was selected. The fruity aroma was fragrant and comforting, whilst the taste remained delicate with a hint of sweetness.
There was a noticeable gap in between receiving the tea and the selection of food being brought to the table, despite the lack of other diners. Having waited 50 minutes since arrival for the selection of afternoon tea food to be delivered to the table, this left the party feeling equal parts hungry and eager for what was to come.
A generous portion of the three finger sandwiches alongside the Coronation (Street) chicken wraps comprised the majority of the savoury selection on offer. The tangy flavours of the Boddingtons chutney and tomato relish provided ample amounts of flavour, whilst the Coronation chicken wraps were perfectly seasoned with Patak’s spices – just enough to deliver an underlying level of heat to the dish. The Bury black pudding Scotch eggs were initially forgotten and later brought to the table, but definitely worth the wait and were completed with a beautifully crispy Corn Flakes crumb for added texture.
The best part of Mercure’s afternoon tea was most definitely the selection of cakes and desserts. Although a homemade Jaffa Cake was advertised, a chocolate brownie arrived in its’ place, but this brownie was seriously good and finished with a rich chocolate ganache. The Manchester tart was deliciously creamy with a flaky pastry base and a tang of jam running throughout the centre. The Vimto trifle was light and refreshing – but we only wish the taste of Vimto was more prominent.
To finish, we had plain scones accompanied with generous servings of clotted cream and Duerr’s Strawberry and Apricot jams. We piled high the jams & clotted cream high and tucked right in, eager to eat every last bite. The scones were beautifully baked with a subtle flavour, accented by the wonderfully thick clotted cream and sharp flavours of the jams. Afterwards the afternoon tea was thoroughly enjoyed we felt satisfied with the quantity of food available as part of the package – just the right amount of miniature treats to take you through to dinner. A small complaint at the end was that no-one came to clear the table after the afternoon tea was finished, leaving us wandering back the the bar area to find a member of staff to say goodbye to.
Mercure’s Manchester themed afternoon tea was definitely worth the wait we experienced, each of the dishes sampled were delicious and indulgent, whilst the quirky touch of the local Manchester ingredients used throughout was well received. It should be noted that part of the afternoon tea experience is the fanfare and sense of occasion surrounding the event, and it did feel like the level of hospitality was not up to the standard offered at more well-known afternoon tea outlets. But if more effort is concentrated into this aspect and the service delivered is more attentive, the afternoon tea at the Mercure Manchester Hotel will be a force to be reckoned with.
Manchester Afternoon Tea for Two – £38
Manchester Afternoon Tea for Two with 1 Glass of Prosecco each – £50
Manchester Afternoon Tea for Two with 1 Glass of Champagne each – £60