The Midland Hotel Visit: May 2016
The grand entrance at The Midland Hotel calls for a grand welcome which is no easy task. However, concierge doorman David McDonough delivers an enormous warm genuine authentic welcome with ease. David had the large shoes of his predecessor to fill and more than fulfils the brief. Walking through the ornate and opulent lobby of the Midland provides guests a moment to truly experience and soak in the Midlands historic and luxurious surroundings. The venue is steeped in tradition and has a rich history. The grade II listed building opened their doors on the 5th September 1903 and during The Midland Hotel’s 100 year reign they have played host to a president, a king, a queen, a rock star and importantly the general public.
Therefore, what better place could there be to host a Champagne afternoon tea. Afternoon tea is one of my favourite pastimes, as for me it is synonymous with British tradition and the elegant charm of bygone eras. Many venues have started to introduce an afternoon tea service onto their menus but I have seen many fail due to limited knowledge and understanding of exactly what an afternoon tea service should provide in terms of quality and service. The Octagon lounge at The Midland hotel do a fine job from start to finish. Many guests approach the host’s desk with high expectations. I can assure you that they will be both met and exceeded, as Jessica has the operation fine-tuned down to the minutest detail. Jessica was personable and fully informed on both our dietary and seating requests which started our afternoon tea service on a relaxed note.
Leanne Evans our server with over five years’ experience really shone through. Clearly, educated and adapt on the menu she was able to steer us through all the menu options and offer valuable advice. Tea for two of course had to begin with tea! I must admit to begin proceedings, we sampled a lovely ice tea cocktail which was blended to perfection, before opting for the more traditional brews. The Midland offer an eclectic choice of blends and loose tea. The 1903 – The Midland Hotel blend is a homage to the founding of the hotel and was a blend of Indian and Indonesian leaves and when blended with a touch of milk created the typical quintessential English cup of tea. The White Elixir a loose leaf white tea with jasmine blossoms and spirulina echoes the fragrance of a natural spa was a sheer delight and was a quality herbal offering that matched that of the traditional blends.
Leanne talked us through all the delectable delicious delights, while we sipped on some Madeira wine. We started with a selection of scrumptious sandwiches that included; cucumber cream cheese on spinach bread, honey roast gammon on six cereal bread, coronation chicken on tomato bread, salmon and dill on dark rye bread and crayfish on brioche. The last two items were replaced with a cheese sandwich and also a tomato brioche, for one diner with allergy requirements. The Midland bake their own fresh plain and sultana scones on site and to have these delivered to the table hot from the oven is a real pleasure. Served with Cornish clotted cream and strawberry preserve enhances this fabulous experience further. The homemade cakes were moreish and mouth-watering; chocolate and raspberry Tart, bannoffe opera cake, apple and custard macaroon and lemon and pine nut polenta cake.
We both sat back and indulged, as Michael an adorable addition to the Midland team, served our champagne, as we relaxed and listened to the lovely Lawrence tinkle the ivory’s. Lucky enough to hear my own request played which was perfect. I witnessed a lovely observation while simply people watching. A staff member was clearing a table single handed, then I noticed that another employee Jack kindly stepped in to help and support his colleague without being asked for assistance. A rare sight these days and I have seen many instances in other venues where employees do ‘little’ and are not team players.
The Midland Hotel offers traditional surroundings and atmosphere with a subtle injection of the contemporary. This theme consistently runs throughout service, food offerings are a mix of tradition with a contemporary twist, the pianist offers both classical and modern pieces and the staff are of a mixed age range which really works and the team spirit is high which adds to the warmth and charm of the place. Along with the historic prominence, I guarantee that a visit to The Midland delivers much more than just an ordinary Afternoon tea experience.
Thanks for reading 🙂
The Midland Hotel, 16 Peter Street, Manchester. M60 2DS.
0161 932 4128