Teacup Kitchen is a tea lovers’ dream and a jewel of an eatery in Manchester city centre, perfect for a leisurely lunch or mid-shopping brew and cake.
I began following Teacup Kitchen on Facebook after reading about it in a magazine and the vivid photos of delicious looking food and drinks appearing on my timeline implored me to pay a visit.
Located on Thomas Street, in the Northern Quarter and just a few minutes’ walk from the main high street, you can expect originality and attention to detail from the moment you step inside.
The venue has the feel of a retro warehouse diner with a red, brown and stainless steel interior, wooden table and chairs, tiled floors and an open kitchen, with an old fashioned bell used by the chefs to signal that food is ready to serve. It’s a spacious and attractive venue that was half full when we visited early afternoon on a Tuesday. 50s style music playing (non intrusively) in the background helped to give it a social and relaxed atmosphere. My fellow diners ranged widely in age and it is definitely not just a venue for ladies who like to lunch.
A vast menu, with specials intriguingly presented in the form of a letter within, made deciding what to have a lengthy affair. Let’s start with the drinks. Despite a choice of smoothies, milkshakes, fresh juices, coffees, hot chocolate and even wine, beers and ciders, this was easy for me – I’m a dedicated tea drinker. I just had to choose from around 25 different types ranging from a selection of Earl Greys to the delectably named Performing Flower Tea which promises a display of dancing blossoms and Energise Your Eyes, a reviving tonic. There’s even one to help you recover from a hangover! I opted for Assam Gold – black tea, good and strong.
My tea was served in a pot with strainer (no tea bags here) and a quirky tea timer which I loved – three little egg timers designed to tell you when your tea has reached the desired level of strength. You can also buy a range of loose leaf teas to take home with you.
Making a food choice was tricky – there was much on the menu to tempt me (I should say that I like fresh, seasonal, unprocessed food and if these criteria are met, I’m open to all suggestions). Sandwiches, soup, pies, pastries and eggs of every variety – Benedict, Florentine, scrambled and poached; afternoon tea, cream tea, scones, flapjack and cake by the slice; something for breakfast, lunch and tea; and each item thoughtfully put together with scrumptious sounding flavours and textures.
I opted for an oldie but a goodie – beans on toast! But not just any beans on toast, Heritage Tomato Beans, a mix of tomatoes, red kidney beans and green lentils in tomato sauce served on rye toast. My choice did not disappoint. The combination of ingredients was luscious, the tomatoes ripe and busting with flavour, and it was a healthy portion.
The rest of my party sampled a cream tea (with the jam and cream served together in a glass jar, which went down extremely well with my scone connoisseur mum); a ham hock, cheddar and piccalilli sandwich; a Love Ewe sandwich of sheep’s cheese and sweet onion marmalade; and a shared portion of sweet potato fries, all of which impressed. We all spent around £10 each on our lunch and a drink, which I thought was great value for money.
The cake counter was drool-inducing. Colourful is not the word – pale green pistachio cake, pink red velvet cake and multi-coloured rainbow cake just some of the treats on offer. If we hadn’t had a pressing shopping agenda, we’d have each sampled a different one. Still, gives me an excuse to go back…
The waiters were pleasant and attentive and the food was served quickly but without any implication that is should be eaten quickly. I could have happily ordered another pot of tea and whiled away a lazy afternoon there.
Teacup Kitchen is an absolute gem and a welcome alternative to the masses of national chain eateries that dominate the city centre.