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Tea 42: A Hit On Saturday Evening

Jonathan Schofield calls in for good-looking grub

Written by . Published on July 21st 2014.

Tea 42: A Hit On Saturday Evening


SO Saturday and the city was busy, the sun was shining and the belly was rumbling.

The more businesses like his on streets like this the better for us all. Tea 42 provides a civilised and civilising experience. 

Tea 42 was the destination, that distinctively designed High Street restaurant facing down the blank yellow tiles of the Manchester Arndale in a festival of glam whites and deep pink - a 'poncey' design as the owners described it on opening.

I was on a promotional visit but all the opinions below are genuinely held and I would have written the same even if it hadn't been. 

The owners have cut out Manchester

The owners have cut out Manchester

One of the owners, Will Hannah, was in giddy mood on our Saturday visit. He'd served 200 afternoon teas during the day at £18.95 - or £27.95 for the champagne one. Interesting stat. 

Tea 42 is putting received wisdom to the sword.

Most restaurateurs have been dismissive of this stretch of High Street as being too addled by public transport, too opposite the Arndale, not Spinningfields enough and not fully in the Northern Quarter enough. 

But footfall is the game-changer for Tea 42.

People who use the city centre regularly get to know all the nooks and crannies, for shoppers and visitors who only walk down main roads something as in your face as Tea 42 provides happy sanctuary. 

The food is very good looking, ambitious and certainly welcome in this neck of the woods. Chef Matt Smith (not the one who used to be in Doctor Who nor the one who works in the Coop and goes out with one of our technical people) creates lovely images on the plate.  

Ham hock and scallops (£7.95)


Ham hock and scallops (£7.95)

For me there were several top dishes. These included the superb cauliflower amuse (our cover star at the top of the page), the Thai squid which was all about the coriander and the crispy pork belly with its excellent crackling. The roast sea bream succeeded best when it combined with the layer of cockles and the samphire, the version of the Eton Mess was suitably messy.

As a caveat Smith needs to take occasional care with the seasoning, the pea veloute needed more edge. 

Thai spiced squid (£6.25)


Thai spiced squid (£6.25)

Still, we left with our bellies full and a smile on our faces. The atmosphere in the place was easy-going and jovial.

Hannah's a lively host as well. He fully endorsed the work Confidential is doing in attempting to present an accurate picture of Manchester nightlife. The more businesses like his on streets like this the better for us all. Tea 42 provides a civilised and civilising experience. 

You can follow Jonathan Schofield on Twitter @JonathSchofield or connect via Google+ 

Pea veloute (£5.95)Pea veloute (£5.95)

Chicken breast (£14.95)Chicken breast (£14.95)

Sea bream (£16.50)Sea bream (£16.50)

Pork belly %28%26#163%3B14.75%29Pork belly (£14.75)

Eton mess %28%26#163%3B5.95%29Eton mess (£5.95)

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