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Leckenby's Champagne And Tearooms Review

Ruth Allan Gets Into An Eighties Groove Off Deansgate And Loves It

Published on January 5th 2012.

Leckenby's Champagne And Tearooms Review

WHILE Leckenby’s tearooms is not part of a shopping complex, it fulfils the department store café criteria better than most. It’s got booths, palms and a menu wedged in the 1980s - or maybe the 1890s.

I love the feeling of being in a special dining bubble while shoppers whizz and fizz past like fireworks.

Staff are dressed in chessboard tones and its so unpretentious to the point of being uncool in terms of being on-trend, which is only a bonus. The café also stocks cakes by the north-west’s finest chocolatiers – Slattery’s of Whitefield - and, better still, huge glass panes run street side, so you get to spy on celebs in San Carlo without having to listen to them. 

I ate here just before Christmas and there was no one in when we arrived. It’s a large space and it felt large and quiet - no bad thing to be honest, with the streets swarmed with shoppers. House specials are Champagne afternoon teas, sandwiches, house blended teas, coffees, chocolates and Cheshire ice cream. They also do traditional café breakfasts and lunches but as it was late in the day, we went for supper, with half a bottle of Laurent-Perrier champagne on the side (£28.95).  

Starters were more 1980s than Max Headroom (if you are as old as me, you may remember virtual TV presenter Max, dating from 1984). We had ‘fishcake of the day’ (£4.95), a standard object recently rescued, I suspect, from cryogenic suspension.

It had a thick, crispy exterior and the faintest hints of cod, spinach and cheese within. A small pot of sweet chilli sauce sat on the side of the plate alongside a tomato, thick cucumber and iceberg garnish. Snooze.

The prawn cocktail (£5.25), on the other hand, was textbook. Mayo met tomato ketchup in a proper Marie Rose sauce spooned into a sundae glass lined with fresh iceberg (ideal in this context), and thickly buttered brown bread on the side. The uniform chicken liver pate (£5.25) was reasonable; gamey flavour muted only slightly by an oversweet jelly layer on top. 


Mains stepped up with wild, fruity garnishes of blue and red berries, melon and orange. These accompanied the poached salmon salad (£8.75), mixed pepper ‘quiche of the day’ (£7.50) and my son’s gargantuan Leckenby’s club sandwich (£8.25), complete with layers of egg, bacon, chicken, tomato, mayo and more iceberg (well, it was popular in the 1980s), pinned together like an updo, with toothpicks. 


“Mind your mouth, son,” his dad said, adding that the meal seemed to improve with each course - and each glass of Champagne.

For once, he was spot on. The sticky toffee pudding (£4.95) with custard had a thick, melting glaze, which lifted the cake somewhere altogether more heavenly than Deansgate, while Slattery’s chocolate fudge cake (£3.95) was an intense experience, picked from a selection that included carrot cake, fruit gateau and a chocolate tart that could have won architectural prizes for it’s brazen, edible baubles. I’d advise saving room for cakes, or better still, taking one or two home to eat at your leisure. 


During the meal, we chatted to the couple in the next booth. They’d come to Leckenby’s for dinner the night before, breakfast that morning and supper once again; evidence, perhaps, of the café’s olde worlde allure.

Like the new diner in Waterstones, this central space warps time, allowing you to breathe in and relax, even in the heart of the city centre; I love the feeling of being in a special dining bubble while shoppers whizz and fizz past like fireworks.

Akin to the original branch of Leckenby’s in Bury, the painstakingly presented salads, soups, and starters won’t blow you away but this is the perfect spot for treating auntie or your good self to a pot of tea and a slice of cake –a simple pleasure, if you like, after the thrills of the festive season. 


Leckenby's Champagne and Tearooms, 47 King Street West, City, 0161 839 1929  

Rating: 15/20
Food: 6/10
Service: 5/5 
Ambience: 4/5

Venues are rated against the best examples of their kind: fine dining against the best fine dining, cafes against the best cafes. Following on from this the scores represent: 1-5 saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9 get a DVD, 10-11 if you must, 12-13 if you’re passing,14-15 worth a trip,16-17 very good, 17-18 exceptional, 19 pure quality, 20 perfect. More than 20: we've got carried away.

FOR THIS CAPTION COMP: WIN AFTERNOON TEA FOR TWO WORTH £49.90 AT LECKENBY'S, the winner is: 'She was only the baker's daughter, but her mouth could take two cream horns at once
by Anonymous'. And thanks Rachel Bullock for choosing a rude winner -honestly this office. So could the anonymous who posted this please get in touch with me: jonathans@cpub.co.uk so we can arrange their 'teas'.


Caption Comp 

Leckenbys 010

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30 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Barry Hymanson shared this on Facebook on January 5th 2012.
AnonymousJanuary 5th 2012.

we went to Leckenbys on bank holiday monday this week and the food was terrible. I had the garlic bread as a starter - dont bother for £3 you get 2 tiny slices of poor supermarket style garlic bread that was so dry. The sandwich that my wife ordered was pathetic i slice of see through beef great big chunks of red onion and bright yellow pretend butter ugh. Totally inedible. My wife had also ordered afternoon tea with a scone that was made pre christmas. It turned to dust when she tried to cut it. We got no apology we were told that there are two types of scone and that we obviously are used to the cake type of scone!
What does that mean? arent all scone's cake type's!! Not a good experience

1 Response: Reply To This...
Leckenbys McrJanuary 5th 2012.

Hi Anon, Thank you for your post. You failed to mention that you came in the previous week and had a really good experience which prompted your second visit. I personally came over to you and apologised that things were not to your satisfaction. I agreed that the beef sandwich looked 'untidy' but red onion does not sit too neatly in the sandwich no matter how it is cut. Perhaps this is our fault and we will review this when we change the menu in a few weeks. The butter is not "pretend" butter. It is just butter. I don't understand your point here. Your wife ordered a cream tea. My point on the scones was that they are all baked for us daily by a local baker and that her scones are more "cake like" in texture than "bread like" (which are more like the ones you get in a supermarket). As it was bank holiday the scones were from the previous day (our baker did not bake on Bank Holiday) but they were not pre-Xmas. I don't mind comments, observations or criticism, in fact I welcome it as we are a new business, but please be accurate. If there is anything further you would like to discuss please call in or telephone me at Leckenbys. Many Thanks.

GibberetJanuary 5th 2012.

Funnily enough I went there on Tuesday and had a great time. Yep it's old school but it is comfortable as Ruth says.

AnonymousJanuary 5th 2012.

£8.25 for a sandwich that looks like it's come from a greasy spoon cafe, I'm all for nostalgia but some places around Manchester still serve food like that but for half the price.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousJanuary 5th 2012.

i don't think you have ever been to Leckenby's if you say that about the sandwich. Their food is of exceptional quality! You don't get that fresh sandwiches with a big salad anywhere else. Love Leckenbys!

LiamJanuary 5th 2012.

Went with my partner on the New Year Bank Holiday Monday and had a very pleasant time.

AnonymousJanuary 5th 2012.

Went on the 28th. Waited 15 minutes for one coffee & one cold drink, 40 minutes for 2 cakes, was all for walking out! Service not very good, too many staff not knowing what's going on.

Elizabeth HullJanuary 5th 2012.

I don't think the photographs look very inspiring at all. What is the vegetarian menu like?!?

AnonymousJanuary 5th 2012.

I too went on 28th and was very dissappointed with the quality of food (sandwiches in my case) although I did find the service excellent.....having said that a prompt delivery of poor quality doesn't entice me to return.

pollolocoJanuary 5th 2012.

what's with the ubiquitous orange slice and "fruit salad" garnish? Do they really think that sticking that alongside sarnie justifies the daft prices??

SimonJanuary 5th 2012.

Bit unfair to base criticism of the food on the basis of some fairly amateurish photographs of it!

I don't get people who complain that on their one visit they had to wait for this or that. So, you had to wait. Did you miss your train? Jeez... don't 'we' love to knock?

It's a lovely relaxing place to enjoy a bite to eat and cup of tea/glass of champagne. Good luck to someone trying to offer something a bit different, I say.

Rant over!

3 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJanuary 5th 2012.

A long wait for 2 cakes to be delivered from fridge to table!

SimonJanuary 5th 2012.

Sometimes it's ok to give people a break. Why didn't you simply remind them you were waiting and then tell the manager on leaving that you had to?

It isn't great to wait, I agree, but it's unfair to criticise on the basis of one wait for one cake.

AnonymousJanuary 5th 2012.

What's with the assumptions....we did all that. Bad service= no return. Simple.

food for thoughtJanuary 5th 2012.

1970 s on the phone , they want their pictures back

food for thoughtJanuary 5th 2012.

strawbrries and slice red onion ( see picture ) classic

pollolocoJanuary 5th 2012.

That salmon dish is hilarious.......a peice of poached farmed salmon with a shedload of fruit garnis for £8.75! I reckon you are looking at a cost of less than £1 there.

AnonymousJanuary 5th 2012.

For a brand new business trading for just over 5 weeks I believe, my experience of Leckenbys is certainly a positive one....not least for the attentive staff and amazing desserts!! I have probably visited around 7 or 8 times since opening as I live within the vicinity and I have been happy with the food I have chosen so far and extremely pleasant and relaxing surroundings.

Indeed I believe as with any similar fledgling business there are tweaks and improvements to be made on the menu possibly however i'm sure the brand of Italian chain across the road did not enter the business world with the often percieved perfection and processes of today from day one!! In my brief conversations with the welcoming and intelligent management here, excellence in service and food and value is paramount and I expect this business to grow from strength to strength during 2012!

2 Responses: Reply To This...
LiamJanuary 5th 2012.

my sentiments exactly

AnonymousJanuary 5th 2012.

Fair point

AnonymousJanuary 5th 2012.

I visited the day they opened. I too waited over 20 minutes for a cake and a pot of tea. The cake was delicious - as it would be coming from Slatterys. The problem seemed to be that the staff had not been properly trained but even worse were being trained on the job in a very shirty manner by a female member of senior management - I felt sorry for them as they were doing their best and would have been better if she had stopped interfering and spoken to them later about any issues. They would do well to go to Slatterys where the service is always relaxed, friendly and efficient.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
SimonJanuary 5th 2012.

I don't want to appear to be making a point of defending this particular establishment which I have visited only once but I can't believe what I'm reading here.

You visited the day they opened and you're sufficiently dissatisfied with having had to wait for 20 minutes for a delicious piece of cake that it forms the basis of your post? 'The day they opened'? Give them a chance!

I may be old-fashioned or maybe, too generous, but when a new place opens, one that is offering the public something a bit different, I think we should cut them a bit more slack than we would a new McDonald's or Costa Coffee.

AnonymousJanuary 5th 2012.

Wouldn't you often tend to expect a relatively challenging opening day for most businesses??

AnonymousJanuary 5th 2012.

I've been a couple of times, the food was fine, the service was fine but ifs think it's a bit overpriced. It's pricing is in line with Harvey Nichols and I know where I'd rather be.

food for thoughtJanuary 6th 2012.

Anonymous has been 8 times? surely he is staff and get 80 pourcent off.Food is laughable .Fancy a trip to my babys nursery maybe?it will look like heaven to you

AnonymousJanuary 7th 2012.

Leckenby's does have the look of an operation that has come in from the sticks. Food looks good though!

SmithyJanuary 21st 2012.

Visited Leckenby's today and couldn't fault the service or food. I opted for a bowl of the Lentil and Bacon soup after escaping from the biting cold, it was lovely as was the waitress who served us, extremely pleasant hour spent here, I'll be going back.

macwiddupMarch 1st 2012.

My first opportunity to take a look at Leckenby's. Thank goodness I just looked in through the window!!! There were about 6 tables in use but what caught my eye was the member of staff behind the counter. He was so caught up in cleaning his fingernails with some attachment to a huge bunch of keys on a key ring whilst a colleague was serving someone from the food on the counter .....ugh!!! A definite no no

LJuly 18th 2012.

I have visited Leckenbys Bury several times and have had nothing but fantastic experiences. The food was great and generous in size, the staff were polite and courteous. Being vegetarian, I always have a wide range of options!! I never visited Leckenbys in Manchester but have only had superb experiences at the original in Bury!!!!

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