Myself and three friends recently visited the Lowry Hotel in Manchester for an afternoon tea to celebrate my friend’s birthday.
We paid £20 each for the afternoon tea with a glass of champagne. We took advantage of a special offer on Wowcher for this. We simply ordered and paid for it online, then contacted the Lowry to book ourselves in. We then had to present the Wowcher print off and barcode on arrival at The River Restaurant. The usual cost of the afternoon tea with a glass of champagne is £33 per person.
We were seated and waited on by a lovely member of staff called Mohammed. He handed us all a menu, which listed exactly what we would be getting for our money, plus a selection of teas to choose from. We perused this whilst Mohammed collected our glasses of champagne.
Mohammed returned with the champagne and asked which type of tea we would like to order. I opted for the classic English Breakfast. He then asked if our table had any dietary requirements. I advised that I would require a vegetarian version of their afternoon tea, as I don’t eat meat. (We had also advised of this when we rang up to book).
The tea and sandwiches arrived at the same time. I have to admit to being slightly disappointed with the vegetarian selection. My meat-eating friends were presented with:
* Roast beef with Dijon mayonnaise and red onion on an open sandwich
* Heritage tomato and mozzarella with pesto on rosemary focaccia bread
* Smoked trout mousse with lemon and dill cream on a brown bloomer
* All butter puff pastry sage and apple sausage roll
I was presented with:
* Heritage tomato and mozzarella with pesto on rosemary focaccia bread x2
* Cheese and Branston pickle on white bread
* And a very tiny spicy chickpea tart
I felt a bit let down with having two identical sandwiches, although they tasted good! The focaccia bread was lovely. I just think that there are so many possible vegetarian options – egg mayonnaise, hummus and roasted vegetables, avocado, falafel, halloumi… it could’ve been better. My friends enjoyed their selection, the roast beef sandwich and sausage roll especially.
Next came the sweet treats – always the best part in my opinion! We all had the same here:
* Tequila sunrise gateaux with blood orange
* Toffee apple caramelised puff pastry and vanilla cream
* Lemon tart with Italian meringue and candied lime
* Dehydrated hazelnut mousse with chocolate and cappuccino
* Scone with jam and clotted cream
Four scones arrived at the table – two plain and two fruit. We were happy with this but I imagine there wouldn’t be an issue if you preferred to have all plain/all fruit. I think the toffee apple sweet was probably my favourite although it was a bit messy to eat! The scones were also really tasty and not too dry; I had a plain one. The mousse was slightly sickly in my opinion as it was too chocolatey (is there such a thing…?!)
Overall I enjoyed my afternoon tea but I’m glad that I didn’t pay full price for it, given the lack of variety with the vegetarian sandwiches/savouries. The rest of the food, plus the tea, champagne and service from the staff was excellent. The River Restaurant itself is located on the first floor of the hotel, which is accessible by stairs and lift.
There are other variations of an afternoon tea at The River Restaurant (all prices are per person):
* Traditional afternoon tea – tea, sandwiches/savouries, plus sweet treats and scone for £22.50
* Afternoon G&Tea – as traditional but with a gin and tonic for £33
* Bellini afternoon tea – as traditional but with a Bellini for £33
You can find out more information on how to book here.