Thursday 27 February 2014

The Afternoon Tea Club Reviews: The Rosylee Tearooms, Manchester

As flag flyers for the grand old tradition of Afternoon Tea, we were horrified to discover our good friend Phillipa had never experienced it before! Yet fear not dear tea friends, we were quick to accomodate her long awaited scone fix and went straight to Rosylee Tea Rooms. It's what any good friend would have done. 

Cake Stand
Situated in Manchester's Northern Quarter, Rosylee Tearooms is relatively hidden yet not such a secret - if the full tables inside were anything to go by. The moment we stepped in through it's statement entrance with gold letting hovering above the door, we were transported to absolute tea bliss. It does not feel as though you are in Manchester, seconds away from kooky boutiques and comic book shops. Decorated with florals trailing from the ceiling and an unusual yet beautiful array of lighting, it has modern restaurant chic and traditional London style down to a T (Pun very much intended.)

There are two Afternoon Tea options and as this was Phillipa's very first outing we opted to go all the way and treat ourselves to the Champagne tea. It would have been rude not to. Plus it comes with a plate of chocolate covered strawberries - and who are we to turn down such a treat?

The food is presented on a traditional delicate looking tea stand which fits beautifully with the floral table arrangements. Rosylee's tea has a real classic style to it and the miniatures on offer are very much inkeeping with this theme. The delicate sandwich selection had all the usual suspects including salmon and beef but it was the slightly more interesting inclusions that took our fancy, poached chicken with mustard mayo and goats cheese with Rosylee's own red onion marmalade and beetroot.

Pretty Floral Decoration
The scones were equally delicious and little touches like having individual jam jars and vanilla pods topping the clotted cream really made the difference.

Rosylee offers a really good dessert selection with a good mix of fruity bits, cakey bits and pastry bits. The worst part was having to decide who got what! (Note to future tea rooms: 3 of everything would be amazing and solve our cakey dilemma.) Again, everything was very true to the traditional idea of Afternoon Tea with carrot cake, victoria sponge and chocolate eclair being the main sweets on offer. This was great for a first timer but I think some more seasoned tea goers might expect something a little more unique.

Topped off with a glass of champagne and a pot of Earl Grey tea (Excuse our lack of adventure - the tea selection had some lovely flavours on offer but sometimes you can't beat a regular cuppa) the afternoon was a thoroughly pleasant experience. 

Edgy Lights

Roselee tea rooms is just beautiful and a complete surprise find in the otherwise reletively bohemian Northern Quarter. We're actually quite looking forward to trying their main menu as some of the options sounded absolutely gorgeous. If you're looking for somewhere classy, cool but with its own stamp on tradition, then Rosylee Tearooms is the place to go.

Afternoon Tea at Roselee Tearooms starts at £18.25 per person. For more information visit their website here.


Sunday 23 February 2014

The Afternoon Tea Club Reviews: Australasia, Manchester

Wave One

Anyone who lives in Manchester will know that Australasia's reputation for fine dining is second to none, with it being the choice eatery of many a local celebrity and aspiring socialite. However, in spite of this overwhelming reputation, we're ashamed to admit that we've never had the opportunity to visit this lovely underground establishment for a bite to eat. Because of this, you can imagine our delight when their lovely manager got in touch, inviting us to come in and sample Australasia's Asian themed High tea. Here's how we got on.

Beautiful, beautiful bar
Served in the restaurant's swanky bar, the Australasia afternoon tea is unlike anything else you'll find in the city. Something of a secret, this tea had until last week, somehow escaped our radar - and oh what a shame that was!

Asian Seafood Noodles

The environment, as you'd expect, is one of sheer luxury with beautiful white tables and oversized whicker chairs, mixing with grand crystal chandeliers and neon lights to create an edgy but distinguished beach hut come Ritz fusion. Imagine that! We were particularly impressed with the wonderful heated porch, which was incredibly inviting - in spite of the sub-zero temperatures that Manchester is currently facing. 

Chicken Salad

Anyway, enough of the environment, lets move on to the food. Served in two waves - true to the restaurant's seafood roots - the Australasia Afternoon tea is a work of art in itself, making both sweet and savoury aspects a feature in their own right.

Full Stand

Wave One: 
The first wave is the savoury selection, which comes exquisitely presented on a wonderful pyramid tower. Attention to detail here was notable with the glass layered tower, being distinctly reminiscent of the marvellous glass structure which provides an entrance to the main restaurant - a lovely touch.


Gone are the cucumber sandwiches of traditional afternoon teas, in favour of tuna, salmon and mushroom Sushi and Nigiri on the base. Whilst a wonderful Asian seafood and noodle medley replaces the scones. With neither of us being particular sushi fans prior to this afternoon tea experience, we're pleased to report that Australasia have managed to convert us - on a side note, be sure to look out for the duck spring rolls - they're absolutely fabulous!

Wave Two

Wave Two: 
Not to be out done for grandeur, the second wave of this fabulous tea, arrives on its own glass stand, complete with cocoa powder garnish. Once again, unlike its traditional rivals, the dessert section steers away from cakes in favour of off beat treats with an exotic twist. Selections on this menu include: a decadent Panna Cotta, Chocolate & Coconut Roll and Sweet Spring Rolls.

Our favourite out of this selection however, was the Raspberry Cream meringue, which was lovely and light, offering the perfect end to the meal. 


As a special treat, the bar offered us the chance to sample some of their signature cocktails. Now, before we go on, we really must give a shout out to our lovely waiter Nick - who was quite possibly one of the loveliest people we've met on our travels so far. His enthusiasm for his job was truly infectious and really made the whole afternoon that much more enjoyable. He made such an impression in fact that, we just had to send over a physical version of our elusive golden cupcake just for him, as a token of our appreciation - an afternoon tea club first!

Assam Breakfast Tea

Anyway back to the cocktails...
Any swanky Spinningfields bar needs similarly swanky cocktails, and Australasia doesn't disappoint. Engulfed in flames, the Bush Fire was our tipple of choice for the afternoon and was an immense amount of fun. We won't ruin it for you (although the pictures may do that anyway) but if you can only try one thing at Australasia, make sure its this.

High Tea at Australasia is unlike any other in the city and is definitely one to try if you're ever in town. For both food and service, it can't be beaten. Pay them a visit today!

Afternoon Tea at Australasia starts at £25pp. For more information please visit their website HERE

DISCLAIMER: As is common in the catering and leisure industry, we were provided with complimentary services for review purposes. However, all views and opinions are our own!

Wednesday 19 February 2014

WIN Afternoon Tea at Betty's

Did our review of Betty's York leave you craving their perfect scones? We thought it might! So we're giving you the chance to experience one of our favourite tea rooms for yourself!

We have £40 worth of Betty's vouchers up for grabs for one lucky reader and a friend to spend at one of their gorgeous tea rooms in York or Harrogate courtesy of the lovely folk at Betty's

Treat yourself to an afternoon of complete indulgence and get a glimpse of the place that inspired The Afternoon Tea Club!

To be in with a chance of winning this fantastic competiton simply follow the Rafflecopter instructions below. 

Good luck!

Laura & Caroline 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and Conditions: Open to UK residents only. Competition will close at midnight on 07/03/2014. The winner will be chosen and announced on 09/03/2014. The Afternoon Tea Club's decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into. There will be no cash alternative. Winner will be notified via email. By entering the competition the winner agrees to participate in such promotional activity on our website and Twitter. No responsibility can be taken for any entries which are not received for any reason.

Sunday 9 February 2014

The Afternoon Tea Club Reviews: Bettys, York

Last year, we compiled a list of our favourite tea rooms for The Independent's Top 50 Tea Rooms. Bettys York was one of our top picks and so we were very happy to recieve an invitation to sample the delights of Champagne Afternoon Tea at the famous York venue. Here's how we got on ...

Champagne Afternoon Tea.


From the outside, Bettys York is simply gorgeous. It’s grand, traditional and looks absolutely magical – and there’s a huge queue of people outside to prove it.
Today we were situated in the Belmont Room, Bettys upstairs tea room, reserved exclusively for their finest Afternoon Tea. There’s even a side entrance, solely for this room, just to make you feel extra special – like celebs of Afternoon Tea … ahem.
The Belmont Room transports you back to an age of tradition and sophistication with gorgeous wooden panelled walls, huge beautiful windows and perfect white tablecloths.
Setting the scene even more was a delightful pianist, which got Caroline just a tad excited!
Everything is very light and airy with honey coloured finishes and woven furniture – lovely.

Yummy sultana scones.

As a little girl, I loved nothing more than going to Bettys with my parents. The gentile surroundings and beautiful tea services, facinated my curiosity for times gone by and secured the establishment's place in my heart. As an adult, this love has continued, making Bettys one of my go to places for a good pick me up or escape from reality. 

However, in spite of this long standing adoration, I'm ashamed to say that I've never experienced the full afternoon tea delight - until now. Yes, I'd sampled their wonderful scones and enjoyed more than one cup of their fabulous hot chocolate in my time, but somehow a full afternoon tea had passed me by. 

Served in the Belmont Room, Bettys complete afternoon tea experience is everything that I'd ever imagined (and more). Complete with art deco surroundings and a live pianist, it has a charm quite unlike any other afternoon tea venue in the uk and is a delight to behold. As Laura said, I was particularly taken with the pianist, who played a selection of my favourite songs, including a Barry Manilow medley and selections from Andrew Lloyd Webber, which was a lovely surprise. 

Amazing cakes.


Having visited Bettys before, I was super excited to try their special Afternoon Tea. Getting ourselves off to a good start, we began with a glass of champagne each which went down very nicely, followed by a huge choice teas including some of Betty’s own unique blends. I chose a safe, Betty’s Earl Grey Tea, which was hit the spot perfectly and would make a lovely cup for at home – luckily, you can purchase some downstairs!
First things first, we started with a yummy range of finger sandwiches and it was good to know these could be topped up should we find ourselves not too full. These were; chicken and tarragon, Scottish smoked salmon, ham and honey mustard and egg mayonnaise. My favourite was the chicken as I loved the textured loaf and the filling was gorgeously creamy.

Sandwiches - need a refill?
To follow we each had two mini scones with jam and cream. The size was just right which left us with plenty of room for the fabulous cakes that were to follow.
And fabulous they were. Topped with the proud Bettys logo and laced with fruity, chocolaty goodness, these desserts were almost too good to eat.
From the selection, I tried the chocolate orange sponge, walnut cake and raspberry tart. Despite the chocoholic in me absolutely loving the chocolate orange, my favourite was the raspberry cake. Served on a biscuit base and dusted with sugar, it was just dreamy. On a whole, I think that the desserts complimented each other very well and I felt nicely full once finished.


The food at Bettys is top notch, and offers something for everyone. 

On this occasion, my sandwich of choice was the smoked salmon, which was beautifully fresh and exactly what I'd been hankering after all week, perfectly complimented with a thin layer of cream cheese, to create my fave combo. 

On the cake front, my pick had to be the wonderfully light berry meringue, which competed my afternoon tea experience perfectly, providing a brilliant contrast to decadent chocolate financier.

Boasting an excellent selection of home blended teas, Bettys is the perfect place to go if you fancy trying something a different, with over sixteen varieties of tea available for your delectation. However, being the traditionalist that I am, I opted for the 'Bettys Breakfast Tea' which I'm happy to report was some of the nicest breakfast tea I've ever tasted!

Beautiful tea set.


I felt a genuine warmth from the staff at Bettys. All those we met appeared to take a real interest in our day and asked questions about our trip which I thought was lovely. They couldn’t do enough for us.

Bettys staff balance the line between friendliness and formality perfectly, keeping a warm interest without being overbearing. Great work!

The famous Bettys.

Overall Thoughts

I find it amazing that many people have never tried Afternoon Tea yet most people I meet seem to have heard of Bettys. There’s a reason for that and it’s a true testament to the name which has been going strong since 1919, it’s not just about good cake and tea, it’s about the experience. Going to Betty’s should be a real event and I would highly recommend braving the queues and experiencing it for yourself … or just book before you go!
Bettys is without a doubt one of my favourite places in the UK and somewhere which everyone needs to visit at least once in their life - even if it's just to sample their incredible hot chocolate. By hook or by crook, you should get yourself down there now!

Bettys York is situated in York city centre at St Helen's Sqaure. Afternoon Tea is served in the Belmont Room from 12.30pm from Friday to Sunday. Booking is essential. To reserve your table, please visit their website here:

DISCLAIMER: As is common in the catering and leisure industry, we were provided with complimentary services for review purposes. Whilst this has not influenced our review, we believe in the full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest.

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