Afternoon Tea & Snacks European and West Asian Places in Manchester

The Vienna Coffee House

Pear drop cake

After a meal, Elsa and Ryo find themselves walking around Manchester City Centre with a sudden craving for something sweet. Aiming towards Northern Quarter, something caught Elsa’s eye in the window as they walked on Mosley Street.

Exterior

Vienna Coffee House

Elsa: This place is very unassuming and I’ll admit I’ve passed this street very often without taking note of it. For some reason, the display case caught my eye as we were passing. One cake, in particular, was tempting me..

Ryo:  I’ve always wondered about this place. It is situated just in front of the Manchester Gallery and its sign always looked somewhat old-fashioned… which I thought it fits quite well with the Gallery in front.

Interior

Elsa: The interior is cosy with one wall filled with printouts of what I can only assume are old Vienna related advertising and photos. It was odd and I’m not sure I felt totally comfortable sitting inside.

Ryo: It was a bit strange. The cafe sign looked quite traditional but inside was all modern and slightly plastic-y like a fast-food joint. I can see some elements of typical Viennese coffee houses – paintings, for instance – but it wasn’t particularly a cosy place.

Menu

Elsa: I had a quick look at the menu as this is what I normally do when I visit a new place, regardless of whether I intend on ordering anything or not. The menu was ok nothing special but I wouldn’t mind popping in here for a meal, although I’ll admit it’s not high on my list of places to try.

Ryo: It wasn’t exactly an appealing menu I have to say – ranging from sandwiches to soup and even falafel and Moroccan tagine? Given their name, I thought they would have at least some Schnitzel or Apfelstrudel… but no. Their drinks, however, lived up to their name. They offer Einspanner (basically, coffee with whipped cream) and other Viennese Coffee specialities.  I’m a heavy coffee drinker but I have to be in an extra, extra special mood for coffee with cream. Sadly the day we went to this cafe wasn’t one of them… 

Pear drop cake

Pear drop cake

 Elsa: If you know me well, you would know that I am a sucker for anything pear related in desserts. I grew up eating a wonderful pear flavoured ice lolly (Pear Picking Porky, how awesome is that name?!) which can only be found in Northern Ireland and I believe this started my pear sweet craving. My favourite Jelly Belly flavour is Juicy Pear and I will buy any pear flavoured yoghurts I can find (currently Oykos and Liberte).

Anyway, back to this cake. I’ve tried a pear drop cake before from Teacup and felt disappointed by the amount of pear in the cake as a whole. This one, however, had a good pear to cake ratio and the top was a light chocolate mousse-like layer with pistachios. It had a good mix of texture and flavour.

Ryo: I told Elsa that I don’t actually remember how the cake was like – but seeing the picture, I remember it now. Because of the chocolate mousse on top, I thought  it was going to be a heavy dessert but it actually was surprisingly light. Pear and chocolate ratio was good, and it wasn’t too sweet. I found pear dessert often too sweet for my taste, but the dark chocolate and pistachio balanced it out. Overall, a surprisingly good cake.

OVERALL RATING AND COMMENTS

Elsa: 7/10 -1 semi-dull menu, -1 odd interior, -1 awkward service. It feels weird to give a rating for this place just based on this cake alone; I did however quite enjoy this pear drop cake. As nothing else popped in the menu, I’m I generally felt a bit weird for ordering just the cake I’m knocking a few points just based on my own feelings at the time of visiting.

Ryo: 6/10 -1 for the menu, -2 for interior, -1 for slightly unfriendly service. I agree with Elsa that it feels weird to give a rating based on one dessert. So I’m going to review for the whole experience I had at that time. I didn’t like the atmosphere of the cafe – not only because it was odd, but because it didn’t offer a good cafe experience.  Unless it is for a quick caffeine fix, people go to a cafe to spend a bit of time so you don’t want to go to a place where you feel uncomfortable and rushed. Elsa and I usually spend a bit of time in the cafe chatting to each other but we got out almost instantly when we finished the cake.

WOULD VISIT AGAIN?

Elsa: I think I would like to try this place again, maybe for an actual meal with cake. I have also heard their coffee is decent, but I will get Ryo to test this out as I don’t drink coffee.

Ryo: I’m not really a sandwich/panini and soup type of person so I might try this place again if I pass by and see some nice cakes… or have one of those “I have to have some coffee with cream” moment.

INFORMATION

Website: http://www.theviennacoffeehouse.co.uk/
Address: 74 Mosley Street, Manchester M2 3LW

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