Richmond Tea Rooms has been one of my favourite places for cake and tea in Manchester for ages. Hidden away on Richmond Street, just a stone’s throw away from Manchester Piccadilly train station and China Town. It is a place where you may not think of venturing down unless you knew it was there; the alley leading to the tea room is dark and littered with industrial bins.
When my friend came back from Singapore to visit, I knew I had to take her to one of Manchester’s best place for Afternoon Tea.
The cake counter is really a sight to behold, and you will see it upon entering the main Alice in Wonderland themed room. If the tea room is really busy, sometimes they will seat you in the lounge area instead. These cakes aren’t part of the Afternoon Tea, but you can choose to buy a slice to eat in or take out for around £3.50.
The rest of the room is furnished to support the Alice in Wonderland theme with a feature wall of red and black diamonds, lots of fake flora and foliage and some fancy lighting. I absolutely adore the teapot lights in the far corner.
With any Afternoon Tea, you would, of course, need a pot of tea! Richmond Tea Rooms have a decent selection to suit any tea lover from Breakfast Tea to Green and decaffeinated. They also do free hot water top ups. If tea is not your thing, they also offer coffee.
Elsa: On this visit, I opted for the Afternoon Darjeeling which is a light tea with floral and fruity notes. It was fairly light and I thought it complemented both the savoury and sweet parts of the Afternoon Tea.
Dory: As it was my first time here, I ordered the Richmond Blend as I like black tea. It wasn’t very strong, but good enough to cleanse the palate. I would definitely like to try other teas if I come back again.
The Queen’s Tea
Elsa: There were four finger sandwiches for each person, along with a mini quiche and some salad leaves. Each sandwich is made from one slice of white and one slice of wholemeal, which seemed a little odd to me. The ingredients in each sandwich were fresh and the quiche was ok, nothing special. I found it slightly disappointing how we had two tomato and ham sandwiches, what about variety? Their website stated that beef and horseradish, as well as cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches, were also options.
The salad leaves seemed a bit lost on the mixture and I think they could have done without this; it felt more like presentation rather than actual food you were supposed to (I did eat some since I quite like the taste of the fresh leaves in between the other things I was eating). Perhaps they could have tried to make the leaves more of a salad?
Dory: The sandwiches were fine, but I agree with Elsa – nothing particularly amazing. The quiche was a little dry for me, but they tasted fine. I nibbled on a salad leaf and they felt a bit limp.
Elsa: The scones were dry on the outside due to being overcooked, so that was disappointing. The strawberry jam and clotted cream served with the scones were perfect, though! This is perhaps my fourth time eating Afternoon Tea here and the only time the scones have been this bad. Additionally, the scones have gotten smaller as they used to be larger in the past.
Dory: I’m not sure how big the scones used to be as it was my first time here, but I have seen slightly larger scones from other afternoon tea establishments. As they were rather dry, I struggled to cut mine neatly into two and it disintegrated into several pieces. No big deal, though, since there was enough jam and cream to go with it. I think both scones were the same flavour, though.
Elsa: The dessert tier had macarons, strawberry jelly, raspberry mousse cake and a chocolate tart. The macarons were ok, but I don’t really get the fad with macarons. Don’t get me wrong, they are nice but I don’t think they deserve the fad unless they’re Pierre Herme macarons. The raspberry sponge cake was quite moist and I really liked the different layers. The strawberry jelly was overwhelmingly sweet and a bit boring following on from the jam used on the scones and the raspberry mousse cake. Maybe a different flavour profile? Lemon? The chocolate tart was quite nice, but nothing of note.
Dory: The strawberry jelly was pretty refreshing after my messy battle with the scones. The chocolate tart was a bit too rich for me, but probably good if you like very sweet bites. The mousse cake and the macarons tasted quite nice. At this point, I was pretty full from the sandwiches and scones, so the dessert tier proved to be quite a challenge for me (although we did end up sitting in the restaurant for a *long* time, so I managed to tackle this tier slowly).
Overall rating and comments
8/10, -0.5 for the lack of sandwich variety and limp salad leaves, -1 for overcooked scones, -0.5 for the strawberry jelly. I have to thank Richmond Tea Rooms for allowing us to sit for far longer than I would normally think would be ok. We were so busy catching up so the time seemed to fly!
Would visit again?
Yes, I still think this is my favourite place for Afternoon Tea in Manchester.