You know when a porter opens a door for you that whatever’s behind it is going to be pretty good. Afternoon tea at the Radisson Blu Edwardian Hotel in Manchester is testament to that fact.
In the stylish Opus One restaurant, amid a nice mix of traditional and modern décor, treats fit for royalty are waiting to be served. At this time of year the restaurant is decked out in festive Christmas colours, glowing with red lights and baubles. It’s gloriously cosy – the perfect place to treat a loved one to high tea. After all, who doesn’t like to be spoilt once in a while?
Unlike many restaurants there’s a choice of two different three-tiered creations, with the Traditional Afternoon Tea featuring sarnies, scones and cakes or the more savoury Gentlemen’s Afternoon Tea which replaces the cakes with mini Yorkshire puddings, pork pies and teeny fish and chips. For an extra treat you can sip a glass of champagne (either tea or a pint with the latter option), and naturally there’s a list of various loose leaf teas to peruse.
There’s a convivial atmosphere in the restaurant, with a nice buzz of conversation against the background notes of easy listening music. But this doesn’t matter today because a group of carol singers are warming up to sing.
Standing in a good position so all of the diners can hear them, the small choir of male and female singers serenade us as we munch away at our scones. They sound beautiful, harmonising as they sing all the favourites including Jingle Bells and White Christmas. And it’s not just the music that’s festive.
Both the afternoon teas have been infused with holiday flavours to add a special twist to the usual menu. Alongside double-decker finger sandwiches with a variety of fillings, and fresh scones with jam and clotted cream which come as part of the Traditional Afternoon Tea, there’s a slice of Christmas cake, chocolate yule log, chocolate and lemon cheesecake and a naughty but nice Prosecco jelly. All of these delicacies were gorgeous but the Christmas cake was particularly tasty – flavourful and moist.
The staff here are attentive and friendly, and especially eager to make sure that you don’t run out of tea, the essential ingredient of the occasion.
The sign of a great afternoon tea is this: a little too much to eat, guaranteeing that you leave satisfied. Although I didn’t manage to polish everything off, I did make the effort to try it all and couldn’t fault it.
If you’re not yet in the Christmas mood, a carol tea at the Radisson Blu will certainly help you along, and what better way to do it.
Rating (out of five):
Carol singers will be serenading guests at the Radisson Blu Peter Street on December 16-18, 2014 at 12.30pm and 3.00pm with prices starting at £18.95pp. To book visit www.radissonblu-edwardian.com/manchester or call the hotel directly on 0161 835 9929.