Tuesday 27 March 2012

Home Sweet Home, Manchester

I've heard rumblings about this place. First those lovely ladies at @TeaCupReview had me wanting to go. Then I looked at their menu. I wanted to go that very second. I was sold on that chilli! But they do cake as well... match made in heaven... Next thing I know, my Twitter friend @NorthWestNosh had reviewed it too. Everyone seems to love Home Sweet Home...

Home Sweet Home is situated in the Northern Quarter of Manchester. This normally gives me that little 'eek' inside which can only be associated with running into hipster (click here for explanation) types. When we arrived, the shop was bathed in the most amazing Sunday sunshine. Our lovely waitress greeted us with a smile and asked us to choose a seat. I liked this as I'm an awkward type, and hate that initial 30 seconds when entering an establishment for the first time... Do I just sit down...? Do I stay here to be seated? Are they going to give me that cack little table by the bins etc...

As the name suggests, you instantly feel at home. The staff were rushed off their feet, yet still had time for a chat. I genuinely loved being in this place. 

The menu is brilliant. It combines the favourites you are looking for with a little Home Sweet Home creativity. They have time honoured classics alongside crackers items such as the cheeseburger toastie. Yep.

My husband had a Charlie Brown milkshake, which is 'peanut butter and jelly sandwich blended with vanilla ice cream, malt, skippy peanut butter and raspberry jelly'. 
He loved it. Sickly enough to satisfy the sweetest tooth.

The food was fantastic. We were hoping for home cooked, tasty food which wasn't too heavy. I had the Famous Home Made Chilli. This is a tex-mex lover's dream! It came served on a crusty roll with plenty of grated cheese, jalapenos and a healthy dollop of sour cream. It was utterly divine! I'm confident I could have eaten twice the amount, but I'd have needed rolling home.
My husband opted for his cafe favourite. The humble cheese and ham toastie. He just can't resist! I suppose it's a simple dish but easy to get wrong. No-one wants a floppy old bit of bread. This one was crisp with a decent amount of cheese inside. I pinched a bit... it was yummy. Oddly it was served with two chunks of watermelon, but it worked remarkably well! I think the sunshine outside helped.
Even though I felt fit to burst, I had gone to Home Sweet Home for cake, and I was not leaving without it. I chose the Golden Syrup Ginger Cake. It was really moist and sticky, and reminded me of a refined version of Jamaica Ginger Cake. I'm a little ashamed to say that I only managed half, and even more ashamed that I snaffled the rest into my bag and scoffed it later... piglet. 
We'll definitely be going back to Home Sweet Home. I really can't think of anything bad to say about our experience. It was relaxed yet timely, homemade yet wonderful and simple yet thoughtful. 

Disclaimer: I reviewed Home Sweet Home because I had heard brilliant things about it. They did not know I was  going to write a review, and I was not paid for doing so.
Read more about Home Sweet Home.
Follow them on Twitter @HomeSweetHomeNQ

Home Sweet Home on Urbanspoon

Monday 26 March 2012

Bread Revolution by Duncan Glendinning & Patrick Ryan

These chaps are really rather fond of bread. 

My first real experience of bread making was in 1996. It was the initial project we did in Food Technology as part of our GCSE. It started well, with a trip to the Warburton's factory in Bolton, but turned sour when I had to wear a hairnet (give me a break, I had a waist length perm...) Back in the classroom, it went from bad to worse. Our teacher was like a young(ish) version of the Trunchbull. She did not tolerate meat eaters, lateness or any form of personal creativity. She terrified me. As a result, bread making was not a joyous experience! It reminds me of her. The bread we made lacked flavour and there wasn't a sniff of anything beyond your bog standard loaf.

I spent quite a while looking at books dedicated to bread, books with bread sections and even thought of reverting back to cake loaves... Then I found this little beauty. What a refreshing change! There they are, on their bale of hay without a care in the world. Duncan and Patrick don't look like cookery teachers. I have no fear of them whatsoever. 

I love books that have this 'thing'. I'm not sure there's a word for it, or indeed whether I am able to craft one. This book has the 'thing'. How do I go about describing it? Well, in the words of Run DMC, it goes a little something like this:

  • They include recipes that are loved, not used to make money.
  • They are created in a kitchen, not a home economist's lab.
  • They are tested on friends, family or loyal customers, not fat-cats.
  • The pictures look real, not plastic fantastic.

Although this book is predominantly based around bread, it goes much wider than that. It's split into what you need to get started, teaches you the basics (which encourages you to create your own recipes), looks at different types of bread, and even includes some sweet treats. Between these there are recipes which go well with the bread, for example there's a fantastic looking chicken curry which goes with the Stone-Baked Flat Breads. There are lots off hints and tips along the way too. 

I was dying to try one of these recipes. I rebelled. I'm a big girl... and I made bread with cider in it! Hear my roar cookery teacher! The recipe for Cider and Apple Bread makes two small (1lb) loaves, perfect for having with a cup of tea and a bit of nice jam or honey.

It was incredibly easy to make too. All in a bowl, give it a good knead and let nature do its magic. It doesn't rise a massive amount, but the finished product is soft and tasty with tangy chunks of apple throughout. 
I really enjoyed reading the rest of this book. Recipes range from the ridiculously easy to a bit of a challenge, so there's something here for everyone. They had the foresight to think beyond bread, and considered how it is an integral part of the western diet. This book is about eating as well as baking.That's probably why I love it so much...

Bread Revolution by Duncan Glendinning & Patrick Ryan
Publisher: Murdoch Books, 2012
Hardback, £17.99
Disclaimer: I reviewed this book because I fancied making a nice loaf. I received no payment from the publisher for doing so.
Read more about the author at Murdoch Books.

Sunday 25 March 2012

Frantzen/Lindeberg, Stockholm

As well as being a keen baker, I am a total restaurant fiend. My husband and I love to travel to try new places, often with two of our closest friends Wayne and Vicki (please see Mrs Petticoat for more restaurant reviews). Together we are... the Horwich Fine Dining Society.

Last year we were lucky enough to go to Noma in Denmark, which according to San Pellegrino is the best restaurant in the world. And it was. However, now is not the time to get me gushing about Noma.

When the San Pellegrino top 50 list was published last year, an up an coming restaurant caught my husband's eye... Frantzen/Lindeberg in Sweden. Two young chefs following their dream of creating outstanding food made with home grown organically produced vegetables. I was particularly excited by the fact that Daniel Lindeberg is a pastry chef... 

Click here to watch a video about their ethos - it explains it all. The restaurant has only been open a little over three years, and already has two Michelin stars and sits at number 57 on the San Pellegrino World's Best list (with 'The One to Watch' award to boot...)
Their mantra is "A gastronomic journey led by the needs of each ingredient and with the freedom for our creativity"
Today is my 30th birthday. Those of you who know me will understand that the prospect of this milestone has haunted me for some time. My gift from my husband was a trip to Franzen/Lindeberg. I was over the chuffing moon. We went earlier this week.

There is a lot of food involved here, and I will try not to go into too much detail, so I will let the pictures explain...

When we arrived at the restaurant, Roland the doorman greeted my husband with 'good evening Patrick!'... nice touch! It gets better. When we got inside, our waiter greeted me as Dolly, and advised we had chatted on Twitter. I was tickled half to death! The dining room is really intimate, and you can watch the food being prepared in the open kitchen. On our table, our bread was proving, and we were swiftly given a glass of champagne and a warm 'happy birthday!'. Red cheeks.


3 - Potato & creme fraiche: crispy potato strips wrapped around cream cheese. I could eat my own body weight in these.
4 & 5 - Oven baked Jeruselem artichokes, roasted hazelnuts, preserved mushrooms from last Autumn, chicken skin.
6 - Raw langoustine from Ingemar J. pig's tail, saffron and salted lumpfish roe.
7 - Oyster, frozen apple, cream and juniper.
8 - 12 days old halibut 'sashimi' and egg creme and raw shrimps.
9 & 10 - Our waitress Helene arrives with a piece of reindeer meat, some coal and a blow-torch. She proceeds to char the outside and explains it will be back later as tartar...
11 - The blood from the mountain reindeer and duck heart. Bleak roe, potato and dried tallow.
12 to 14 - Coal flamed mountain reindeer tartar, tallow from 11 years old milk cow (Stina), smoked eel, Iranian caviar. Pleas note the pink dust in picture 14. Quote of the day... 'And the pink dust is ground reindeer penis'. Honestly.

Chapter 1
15 - This basket of vegetables and eggs is brought to the table before the Satio Tempestas arrives. It is explained that it all comes from the restaurant gardens and changes daily. 
16 - Satio Tempestas. I need to explain this one. It is served on a platter to feed two. It is without doubt one of the tastiest things I have ever eaten. It is drizzled with all sorts of goodies like herb infused butter and dried fish scales (just trust me...). 
17 & 18 - A waiter came to the table with some clotted cream (which they hand make... it takes 3 days...) which he starts to churn with a wooden paddle. Within a couple of minutes it has turned to butter! Hey presto! 
19 - A little earlier on, the risen bread was whipped away from the table. It comes back still warm form the oven. 
20 & 21 - Yellow onion and almond and liquorice. 
22 to 25 - Diver scollops. Truffle puree and bouillon.

Chapter 2
26 - Frozen rowanberries and winter apple
27 - Monkfish baked for four hours. Algues and raw mushrooms. Butter flavoured with roasted chicken juice and soya.
28 - Six months old milk fed veal first marinated in whey for 2 days then roasted and finally oven 'Delta" baked.

29 - You know it's good when you are given three spoons for dessert...
30 - Cauliflower, toasted bread, hazelnut ice-cream, hay.
31 - Beer, yeast and yolk from the first egg the hen warps (first egg the chicken ever lays).
32 - Frozen sea buckthorn, Oolong tea, seaweed.

33 & 35- This is the amazing birthday cake that Daniel Lindeberg made for me. It was a tour de force! Layers of chocolate with mouse and sea buckthorn. Bravo!!!
34 - Tea
36 - this is Jim, the Sous Chef. He came over for a chat at the end of our meal. A thoroughly lovely chap. I just couldn't help but notice that he strikes an uncanny resemblance to Lincoln Potter from Sons of Anarchy... 

We had the most wonderful time at Frantzen/Lindeberg, and yes, it was worth travelling all the way to Stockholm for! The staff were warm and friendly and the food was out of this world. It was totally unique. If you want to compare it to the Nomas and Fat Ducks of this world, don't. You won't find anything else like it. 

Let's hope that they get the recognition they deserve in the next San Pellegrino World's Best list... This year's list is published on 30th April, so keep your eyes peeled for this little gem...

Disclaimer: Frantzen/Lindeberg knew I was coming because I had tweeted them like an excitable fool. However, they did not know that I would be reviewing the restaurant afterwards. The main aim of our visit was purely for pleasure.

Read more about Frantzen/Lindeberg.
Follow them on Twitter: @Restaurant_FL

Saturday 24 March 2012

A visit to Clandestine Cake Club South Lancs

I popped into the South Lancashire Clandestine Cake Club today to have a natter with our neighbouring members. I had a cracking time and came back with a box full of cake (which is never a bad thing...) The theme was 'It's Spring', so I decided to make my Lemon and Poppyseed Ring Cake

It was really nice to meet some more of my Twitter friends (@MCMBusinessCons, @Orangemartini, @Chorleycake1 and @sweetfannyadams) as well as some more familiar faces in @thymedeli and @twittottee. 

Lots of cake consumed and cake ache well and truly set in... 

The next Bolton event is on 14th April if you can join us! 
Email me at dollybakes@gmail.com if you fancy coming!

Fika at Vete-Katten

The idea of 'fika' was a bedazzling one. It roughly translates to drinking coffee with a sweet accompaniment. Yes. It sounds like my kind of pass-time. All food establishments in Sweden have an amazing array of sandwiches and home made cakes. Nothing looks mass produced, and everything looks appealing. 

We found Vete-Katten in the Stockholm Time Out Guide. It's situated in the bustling Norrmalm area, hidden amongst street markets and busy department stores. Translated into English, Vete-Katten means 'wheat-cat', which is traced back to the original owner who was pushed for a name!

Vete-Katten is a proper Konditori (old fashioned coffee shop) where hot drinks are served from a hatch and milk and sugar are housed on a large lace covered table with an oversized lampshade dangling above. Like most eateries, it's quite dark inside and I couldn't quite help but feel like I'd just walked into someone's living room and asked them to make me a cuppa.

Between us we sampled three different cakes. My husband had something that resembled a large doughnut with custard in the centre (Solbulle), but it was much softer and seemed to be baked rather than fried. I had two smaller cakes. Both seemed to be based around the notion of frangipan but with a slight twist. The first was covered with a strawberry icing with pieces of fruit in it (Mazarin), the second was more of a classic almond bake (Polynee). All were beautifully fresh and packed with flavour.

Polynee & Mazarin
When you walk to the back of the shop it's like a whole new world. There is a take away section which sells all the amazing goodies on offer in the cafe, but in ridiculous volume. The sheer amount of different types of cakes, chocolates and breads made and sold in one day is breathtaking. Here are just a few...

One thing we did notice is that the bakery attracts the tourists, whereas the cafe (hidden in the back of the shop) is very much a local huant. Only one member of staff spoke English and it was clear that most of the people in there were regulars.

I would go back here in a heartbeat. If ever you find yourself wandering around Stockholm... GO!  

Find out more about Vete-Katten here.

Friday 23 March 2012

Stockholm Syndrome...

I've been dreading it since I turned 21. This weekend... I turn 30. This means I tick a different box on forms and am reminded by 'helpful' friends that my biological clock is ticking (no that's the bomb I just planted under your desk dear...)

To soften the blow, my wonderful husband booked a surprise trip to Stockholm in Sweden to visit a restaurant called Frantzen/Lindeberg (I will go into much more detail about the restaurant in a future post...)

Stockholm is utterly captivating. It is split into different areas which all have a totally unique vibe. We spent most of our time in Gamla Stan (the Old Town) which is a maze of cobbled streets, steps taking you to courtyards, gothic churches and award winning bakeries and Konditoris (tea rooms). I think it helped that we had amazing weather, so we were able to walk everywhere. 

There are several themes in Stockholm which you can't help but notice. 
Here are my top ten:

  1. Shops have beautiful window boxes filled with every kind of bulb imaginable.
  2. There is an amazing array of small pedigree dogs. Some even wore jumpers. Knitted ones...
  3. There are lots of bridges (and water).
  4. They bloody love trolls. The streets are riddled with them (n.b. not real ones...)
  5. All the markets sell an abundance of twigs with feathers on them.
  6. Sandwiches are a work of art. No floppy bread here.
  7. You never see a boring mass produced cake. They have some of the most talented pastry chefs working in small cafes tucked away in back streets.
  8. There are no coffee chains. I'm pretty sure Starbucks would be chased into the river if they dared stray into the city (and there were really angry looking swans on that river... and it had fish in it... with teeth...) The Konditori massive would 'ave them.
  9. There are very few boring buildings. Most have a fancy roof, are painted in bright colours or have intricate designs carved into the stone they are made from.
  10. If it looks like a footpath...BEWARE! It's actually a cycle path. And yes, they will mow you down.
The Old Town - Street View
Old Town - Florist
Ostermalm - Feather-o-rama

Ostermalm is the eastern part of the city, and is home to most of the upmarket shops. We found a market called Saluhall which was a cross between Harvey Nics food hall and Bolton market. The fresh produce on display was jaw-dropping. Seeing is believing...

If you ever get the opportunity to go to this beautiful city, you really must. We must have walked about ten miles in an afternoon then the following morning. It's worth every step to cram in as much as you can whilst you are there. 

More posts to follow soon on the fantastic food... 

Tuesday 20 March 2012

The Great British Bake Off by Linda Collister with Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood

The Great British Bake Off has inspired thousands of people to don a pinny and have a bash at baking. I am convinced that programmes like the Bake Off and everyone being a little more skint than they used to be has sparked a true baking revival. In the past you were taught to bake by your mother or grandmother, and tips and tricks were passed down through families. This new generation of bakers are self taught, mainly from books and TV. They have the confidence and flair to try new things, rather than the trusted malt loaf passed from mum. 

They are making whoopie pies, macaroons, piping intricate designs in icing and even making bundt cakes in the shape of sandcastles...

Times are a changing. We watch these shows and feel the pain of the contestants, after all they are just normal people like us. They have the same disasters, say prayers that cakes release from tins and look on in horror as the word 'croquembouche' is uttered by Hollywood...  The difference being that these folk are on the telly! 

My mum was rooting for Joanne to win the last series of Great British Bake Off because 'she's just a normal mum - if she can do it, maybe I could!? Listen to me. My mother has never so much as made a fairy cake. This is progress. 

What I'm geting at is that normal people are making other normal people want to bake, and this is wonderful news...

I've had this book since it was released, but I revisited it recently when testing different frosting recipes. I'd like to share that recipe with you, as it can only be described as a tour de force. My work friend Louise sang to herself when she was eating it. My other friend Claire gave me a shifty look when I mentioned cream cheese in the frosting, but adored it. It even put a massive smile on the face of my department Director (who is a massive fan of the home made cake).

This is a delightful book. There is a recipe for every occasion. So far I have made the Sticky Maple-Apple Traybake, used the shortcrust pastry recipe for a belting pie and had a bash at Spicy Chicken Pasties. All have been wonderful and recipes have been reassuringly trustworthy. 

Here is the recipe for the Sticky Maple-Apple Tray Bake which kept my colleagues so entertained...

With permission from BBC Books

I can't wait for the next series in July, and the book that accompanies it. It's definitely on my wish list already!

The Great British Bake Off - How to bake the perfect victoria sponge and other baking secrets.
Publisher: BBC Books, 2011
Hardback, £20.00
Disclaimer: I reviewed this book because the cake I made went down a ruddy storm at work. I received no payment from the publisher for doing so.
Read more about the author at Ebury Publishing.

Sunday 18 March 2012

Flowers for Mother's Day

Mother's Day. A time to say thanks to your mum, or commercialised clap-trap? Either way, my mum loves anything pretty, glittery and lemon flavoured, so it had to be lemon flavoured cupcakes with a zesty frosting. She's a sucker for a pretty cake...

I did plan on using a round nozzle for these cakes, but it just didn't look right. Mother's Day had to be about frills and flowers. I also found that the best yellow colouring is... (dramatic drumroll) Asda's own natural yellow in liquid form. I found this after a near buttercream disaster with yellow colour paste which turned the frosting a sickly shade of peach! Not the look I was going for. I was thinking daffodils, not cobbler. 

Here's the recipe for the lemon sensations...

  • 110g unsalted butter - room temperature
  • 225g golden caster sugar 
  • 2 eggs
  • 150g self-raising flour
  • 125g plain flour
  • 120ml milk
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp lemon extract
  • 250g of unsalted butter - room temperature
  • 500g of icing sugar
  • Juice of 1 large lemon
  • Zest of 2 large lemons
  • Yellow food colouring

  • Cream the butter and sugar for about 5 minutes. 
  • Add the eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly. You'll notice the mixture getting paler and thicker (this is lots of air bubbles which makes the cake as light as a feather)
  • Mix the dry ingredients in a separate bowl.
  • Mix the milk, lemon zest and extracts in a jug. 
  • Add half of the milk mix and half of the dry mix to the creamed butter and sugar. Do this carefully with a folding action.
  • Repeat until all the mix is incorporated.
  • Do not beat the devil out of it. You cakes will be like old boots. You spent 5 minutes whisking air into these little beauties, don't spoil it.
  • Divide the mix between 12 cupcake cases in a muffin tray. These are nice and deep and will give your cakes a straight side.
  • Bake on gas 4/180C for about 30 mins. You're looking for a well risen bun with a golden top.

Allow the cakes to cook completely before frosting, otherwise you will eng up with a melted mess. Mark my words.

  • Beat the butter for about 3 minutes to soften it. It will look considerably paler than when you started.
  • Add about a quarter of the icing sugar and mix by hand with a spatula. This will prevent your kitchen being redecorated.
  • Add the lemon juice, the zest and the rest of the icing sugar and mix again by hand. It will be quite firm.
  • Using an electric hand mixer, beat it for about a minute on a medium setting. This will incorporate everything nicely.
  • Add your desired colouring (if any).
  • Beat on a medium to high speed for about 5 minutes. I know this is a long time. It's time well spent.
  • You know it's done when the mixture if fluffy and paler than when you started. It should taste like a little bit of heaven...

If your kitchen is very warm, you may need to pop the frosted in the fridge for 5 minutes or so. This just makes piping easier.

This is really down to personal taste. I used my nozzle of the moment (Wilton 1b) but used it quite loosely to create a bit of a ribbon effect. I also used a bit of edible orange glitter over the frosting before covering the cakes in either small Dr Oetker butterflies or large sugar daisies from Just Bake. I used pink and yellow spotty cupcake cases from Morrison's.

I gave mine to my mum and grandma in pink spotty cupcake carriers from Sainsbury's (£2.79 for 2).


Tuesday 13 March 2012

Waltzing Matilda for Absolute Media, Horwich

When I first made my Matilda Cake, my friend Wayne commented that it looked a little like the logo of the company he works for. I know from Twitter that the chaps from Absolute Media like a bit of cake. Ding ding ding! Baking challenge...

Their colour scheme is orange, so I set about an orange version of Matilda. I originally planned to just dye the inside of the cake orange, but found orange glitter whilst I was there. Then once the cake was made, I decided that perhaps the cake itself would benefit from a splash of colour...? Matilda got her dancing shoes on and painted the town (and my kitchen) orange!

It was an absolute (fitting eh?) nightmare to cover in icing, but the finished product had a certain 'slapped in the face with a slab of glittery bundt' look about it.

If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times. Workers need cake. Without it, blood-sugar levels could get dangerously low, people could pass out (halting work) and as a result a company could quite easily go under...

Play safe. Eat cake.  

Mary Berry's Ultimate Cakes

This is where it all began. The school summer holidays when I was 11. Boredom had set in. After successfully winding up my brother and huffing around the house because my friends weren't playing out, it was time for my new favourite programme; Mary Berry's Ultimate Cakes.

I was captivated by the Sachertorte. She made it all look so easy. Looking back now, I'm certain that my grandma put it on just to get a little bit of peace. Little did she know... she had created a monster. I wanted to bake. Every day. Although my mum isn't a baker, my grandma had always encouraged me. My earliest baking memories include making Chorley cakes for my grandad and bran loaf that was measured in mugs (although the cake tasted wonderful, the batter tasted like shredded card...)

My copy of this book was bought for me when it came out in October 1994. It's battered, stained, is full of scraps of paper after deciding what to make next. This book has been been well loved, and is a testiment to the different baking phases I've gone through over the years. 

When I first got it, I started with the little cakes because it meant faffing with icing and sweets. In my early teens I fought with gingerbread men that always seemed to join together on the baking sheet. My mid teens were all about the cookies and by my late teens I was onto tray-bakes. Then for years, a period of absolutely nothing. Nada. 

I'm not sure why this happened. I can only imagine I ran out of time what with GCSEs, A-Levels and then my degree. It was only really when I bought my own house at 24 that I rekindled the love of baking and the book returned. It was back with gusto. I now have shelves and shelves of books, but this will always be my favourite because it was my first. It has such a wide variety of cakes that you will never tire of it, and is just as exciting now as it was in 1994.

I recently made the All in One Victoria Sponge for the very first time - the only 'all in' cake that has not seemed a little dense. Mary's version is light and fluffy and all kinds of wonderful!

Try this one for yourself. No baker's collection is complete without this book, whether you are 11 or a little older...

Recipe kindly given by Ebury Publishing

Mary Berry's Ultimate Cake Book
Publisher: BBC (Ebury), 1994
Hardback, £15.99
Disclaimer: I reviewed this book because it created the monster. I received no payment from the publisher for doing so.
Read more about the author at Ebury Publishing.

Sunday 11 March 2012

Richmond Tea Rooms, Manchester

Richmond Tea Rooms, Manchester
We hadn't planned on going out today, but this morning we both had the itch to get out of the house and make something of the day. Plan of attack? Richmond Tea Rooms in Manchester.

I'd heard good things about this place on Twitter (thank you @keveh, @adamcrolla, @hansyquirk and @guapette78!) so had it on my ever increasing 'To Do' list.

Moment seized, we trotted off with high expectations of somewhere so widely recommended. I knew it was in the Village area, but had never stumbled across it before. The directions took us down a rather dark and dingy back street which smelled a little of the 'night before'. I was convinced we were lost.

And there it was. A little oasis of Tête-à-Tête daffodils in window boxes.

Now I know what Alice felt like. It's like jumping into another world! Walking into the dining room from that back street can only be likened to Lucy's first glimpse past the fur coats. There was no Mr Tumnus, nor a tardy white rabbit. Instead, you are greeted by a sea of lace, floral curtains, a giant urn with an eagle on it and two huge signs demanding 'Eat Me' and 'Drink Me'. I was so aghast that I nearly didn't notice the huge cake display cabinet! Really!
Richmond Tea Rooms, Manchester
I opted for a a stack of pancakes with lemon and sugar, and my husband had Welsh Rarebit. Both of these dishes are amongst our personal favourites, so the pressure was on.

I have a simple test when it comes to pancakes. Do they come with enough lemon juice and sugar, and is it in the correct quantity? I often find that there is a sniff of sugar and only a slither of lemon. I want enough sugar to rot every tooth in my head.
The pancakes were the thick American variety and came with a miniature bottle of lemon juice and a shot glass of sugar. Plenty of both! I'm afraid I had to leave one of the pancakes, but only because I was sure I would die before dessert if I ate it.
Richmond Tea Rooms, Manchester
My husband still talks of the legendary Welsh Rarebit he had at St John's in London over the summer. I'm fairly confident nothing will ever top this. Richmond Tea Rooms serve theirs on doorstep toast, and has that rich mustardy tang I think he's been craving. It was reassuringly stodgy, with a healthy glug of Worcester sauce. Lovely.
Richmond Tea Rooms, Manchester
I couldn't wait for dessert. I'd seen the magnificent cake cabinet whilst waiting to be seated, and had my eyes on the prize... I had a white chocolate box filled with raspberry coulis and my husband had apple pie with custard.
Richmond Tea Rooms, ManchesterRichmond Tea Rooms, Manchester
My only criticism of the desserts we tried was the presentation of the apple pie. It would have been nice to see the pie. My husband also mentioned that the filling would have benefitted from some extra flavour such as cinnamon, but that may be personal preference (and him being used to my cinnamon obsession...)

The white chocolate box was heavenly. It was smooth in texture and rich in taste. I could eat this every day of my life. It was divine! It's hard to put into words just how good this dessert was, so I will add a picture of inside...
Richmond Tea Rooms, Manchester
Trust me. You need this in your life.

No review would be complete without mentioning the tea. We shared a pot of the house 'Richmond' blend, which was perfect. I like my tea strong and dark, and this ticked both boxes. Lovely stuff.

Richmond Tea Rooms was a pleasant afternoon out, and somewhere I would like to go again. For tea, two main courses and two desserts, we spent just under £25.

For more information visit their website at: Richmond Tea Rooms.

Disclaimer: I went to Richmond Tea Rooms because it was recommended by half of Twitter, and I wanted cake. They did not know I was going to review the tea rooms and did not pay me for doing so.
Richmond Tea Rooms on Urbanspoon
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