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Richmond Tea Rooms

Lynda Moyo feels like a living doll in this vintage-inspired tea parlour

Published on September 15th 2011.

Richmond Tea Rooms

IT’S just what village life needed; a welcome break from the exhaustive run of nightlife which, until now, has defined Canal Street and the surrounding roads.

They’ve done their utmost to transform what was a white box into a majestic and camp space – paying attention to every tiny detail.

Richmond Tea Rooms is a new tea parlour where you can enjoy everything from breakfast to afternoon tea and late night cocktails, thanks to the affiliation with Lodge bar next door.

It’s an idea dreamt up by local entrepreneurs Nicholas Curtis and Andrew Underwood and it literally is the stuff dreams are made of. The pair came up with the kitsch and camp fantasy theme themselves, building everything by hand and even going so far to restore what was the building’s old parking bay into a grand entrance for the tea rooms. Curious looking stairs lead you up to the doll house-esque tea rooms and magic awaits you.

The Cake CabinetThe Cake Cabinet

You’re welcomed by a cabinet full of cakes (instant winner) set against a Queen of Hearts inspired backdrop with signs reading ‘Eat Me’ and ‘Drink Me’. It’s no trick either – Richmond Tea Rooms has a menu fit for a queen with a range of herbal and traditional teas (we’d recommend Scottish breakfast tea for the real hardened tea drinkers and China Rose for those looking for a more fragrant and delicate tea). The team’s a friendly bunch too, and came over several times to offer extra hot water to save me buying another cuppa.

Sandwiches are reasonably priced too, with none over the £5 mark. We tried the Richmond Club (£4.95) and it managed to avoid the common club sandwich fate of being too dry. We also couldn’t resist Alice’s Rarebit (£4.95) – the most requested light meal according to Jackie, who runs the tea rooms. You might recognise Jackie as the former face of the Friendship Inn in Fallowfield.

Richmond Tea RoomsRichmond Tea Rooms

Richmond Tea Rooms is her new baby and her and the rest of the team bring the enchanting surroundings to life.  The range of cakes from clotted cream tea cheesecake (£3.40) to traditional Victoria sponge (£3.20), is extensive to the point where the menu simply asks customers to peruse the display fridge for bavaroises and tortes as there are ‘too many to mention’. Don’t even get us started on the hot puds yet – including sticky toffee pudding (£3.50) and luxury four-layer chocolate fudge cake (£3.70) and not doll-sized portions either.

You can’t help but let your eyes wander in here, what with all the confectionary and snug little areas in which to have your cake and eat it. The greenhouse for one, makes a change from the dim-lit, romantic main tea rooms and offers a relaxing conservatory ambience, surrounded by foliage. At the back of the tea rooms, you’ll also see a draped den area – perfect for private functions or birthday parties.

View From The GreenhouseView From The Greenhouse

Each and every individual Rococo-inspired chair has been handpicked and sourced from a variety of places the boys have come across on their travels. They’ve done their utmost to transform what was a white box into a majestic and camp space – paying attention to every tiny detail. Even the fire exits have been decorated in luxurious quilting and their aim is to continue filling the walls with collectables until “there’s only enough room left for the customers,” they joked.

On a serious note, it’s very apparent that Richmond Tea Rooms is the first stage of a wider plan for those who have become despondent about Manchester’s Gay Village. Nicholas and Andrew are united in the opinion that there’s a need for less hen parties (and the hoards of rowdy straight men chasing them) and a greater variety of venues to make the Village they live in and love, into a place for everyone – day and night. If you agree and want to see the Village from a different view, it begins with sweet tea and frivolity, here at Richmond Tea Rooms.

For more information on Richmond Tea Rooms including 2 for 1 on afternoon tea, click here.

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HulmePix shared this on Facebook on September 16th 2011.

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