16 December, 2013

Teacup Kitchen - Manchester Eats #1

The boy and I have always enjoyed eating out and spoiling ourselves with delicious food. One of the wonderful perks about living in Manchester, is the huge and vast array of exciting cafes and restaurants on offer to tourists or dwellers of the city. We are close to reaching our three month anniversary of living here and we've enjoyed tasting our way through Manchester so much, that I thought I'd share and review some of our new food haunts.

Most weekends, we take a stroll through the vibrant, creative Northern Quarter were all the artists and hipsters live and hang out. Each weekend, we pass the Teacup Kitchen and each weekend there are queues out the door as eager locals wait for a table. We reckoned they knew something we didn't and this weekend we made a plan. A plan that would get us up early and out of the apartment on a Saturday morning and enjoying a table in Teacup Kitchen for breakfast.

I did a Google search and discovered they didn't open until 10am. Result! We could still have a mini lie-in of sorts as we only live 15 minutes away. Saturday morning arrived and armed with our plans we found ourselves outside Teacup at 09:55. We were clearly eager. When we arrived, the front door was open but the 'closed' sign was still on the door. We began to experience one of those 'Well, are they open or are they closed?' moments. Robert peeked his head through the door only to be abruptly told "We're not open, we'll open around 10". He felt like a pleb. Other potential customers started to arrive and experience the same 'Are they open or closed' moment. They looked to us for guidance and we politely let them know they weren't open yet.

A short time after 10am, a member of staff flicked around the sign from closed to open. They then walked away. Given there was a queue outside, you would have thought they would have opened the door and signaled to the small, hungry group gathering that they were now officially open. No such luck. If there is one thing I dislike, it's poor customer service. I hadn't seen a menu yet and already I was feeling anger building.

A nice, friendly girl approached us and gave us a number of menus. If I'm honest, I found their menus confusing. They was too many of them. I was expecting a breakfast menu only, but instead there was a lunch, dessert and tea menu. We didn't have the breakfast menu to hand but sourced it a short time later. The cafe had just opened and from a customer point of view, it all seemed a tad (just a tad) disorganized. I've worked in many customer facing roles at management level within the catering / restaurant industry and one of my personal pet peeves is being on the receiving end of poor service. 
We glanced through the menu and there was a tempting array of breakfasts on offer. I chose the Dippy Duck eggs with sourdough soldiers and a mocha. Robert chose the Eggs Benedict with York ham, capers and meaux hollandise mustard. As an extra, he also selected the Purple Haze Milkshake which contained blueberry ice-cream, strawberries and milk. An unusual start to the day, but Robert fancied it.
Our food arrived in good time and it was presented beautifully. I loved the dainty blue, long plate my eggs and soldiers were placed on. I wanted to take it home. Roberts food looked delicious and I loved the colour of his purple shake. I tapped my eggs and was delighted to find a runny, gooey yolk. Just how I love my eggs to be cooked. The sourdough soldiers tasted delicious and it was the nicest bread I had tasted in a long time. It wasn't long before Robert nicked a few of them from my plate. Dipped into the eggs, they tasted like a piece of heaven. 

Robert also enjoyed the Eggs Benedict. I snuck as taste and loved how sweet the ham tasted. I initially decided against ordering this as I'm not a huge hollandise and capers fan. He felt the milkshake was a little on the bland side and I found it to have an aftertaste of love heart sweets. It wasn't unpleasant by any means, but probably not the best of breakfast choices. My mocha, made with organic chocolate flakes was sweet and well made. I was sad when I realized I let it go cold with half a cup to go.
As a follow up we ordered some cake. Teacup Kitchen have some stunning cakes on display and it seemed a shame not to give some a whirl. I ordered coconut and carrot cake, while Robert selected the lemon-licious cake. We received two large, generous slices. Mine was sweet, full of flavour and the cream icing was particularly scrummy! Roberts also tasted beautiful and while enjoying our dessert, I chatted to Robert about how I'll have to take my mum and friends here for some cake tasting.
We spent close to an hour in the Teacup Kitchen and the total cost was just over £30. A little on the pricey side, however the portions were generous and the surrounding aesthetics of the venue made it an enjoyable morning. We finished our cake, paid our bill and gathered our things. We passed the large queue forming as we walked out the door. Our bellies were full and we left well fulled for the big Christmas shopping spree.

If you find yourself in lovely Manchester, you can find the Teacup Kitchen here.

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