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REVIEW: Teatime Collective | Hulme

Lucy Tomlinson finds a shed and comes up with the 'fatsulate' programme

Written by . Published on December 18th 2014.

REVIEW: Teatime Collective | Hulme

THE SLYEST, most malicious pieces of punctuation are quotation marks. A carefully placed quotation mark can introduce gallons of poisonous subtext to the most innocent missive. Think about it, if someone writes Merry ‘Christmas’ in a card, he or she are rolling their eyes at the travesty of commercialism that used to once be a Christian celebration.

I myself am working on a winter layer constructed mainly of potato and saturated fats – I call it Fatsulate™.

If you get a ‘Merry’ Christmas, be aware that your not-so-well wisher is hoping for coal in your stocking, a plague of relatives and the Christmas jumper from hell on your back. 

Normally this rule is doubly true of menus. ‘Meat’ pies are the subject of dire speculation. ‘Fresh’ vegetables may well have been ‘locally sourced’ - out of the bins behind Morrison’s.

Happily, although the menu at vegan cafe The Teatime Collective is littered with the insidious inverted commas, you don’t have to worry about whose pet is on your plate.

Teatime Collective

Teatime CollectiveTeatime Collective

We visited on perhaps the coldest day of the year so far, bright and crisp and even, it felt like something out of medieval Christmas carol, especially since the Teatime Collective is snuggled into St Wilfrid’s Enterprise Centre.

(This used to be a church. The editor tells me it's been called, 'A seminal building in the history of nineteenth century architecture'. Oh and the editor also says it was Morrissey's church when he was a nipper. Appropriately non-meaty then.)

The cafe itself is tiny, just a small table and a few stools. The main seating area is actually outside - a converted shipping container, done out just like a regular hip cafe. The only slight problem on our visit being the lack of heating – not ideal in temperatures hovering just above freezing.

Apparently someone had forgotten to turn it on that morning and to be fair once it got going it did start to warm up. Still, internal combustion was needed quick.


Normally I think vegan/vegetarian restaurants that strive to recreate meat dishes are cheating – celebrate the natural glory of vegetables! However, ‘tis the season to be firing up the gustatory central heating and developing a nice internal thermal vest - more easily achieved on the standard meat and two veg model. I myself am working on a winter layer constructed mainly of potato and saturated fats – I call it Fatsulate™.

Hoping to add to my Fatsulate layer, I ordered a Big ‘Cheesy’ Soya Burger (£7) (the ‘cheesy’ being a cheese substitute stuffed inside the burger) which came with homemade tomato sauce, salad, gherkins and topped with onion rings. It was a pretty hefty deal for seven quid. The burger itself tasted a bit on the worthy side – I don’t think it will have any carnivore announcing their retirement from flesh solely on the strength of its meat-like properties. The cheesy innards were quite cool though, and the plentiful fries and salad were hot and fresh respectively (no quotation marks needed).

More punctuation fun was to be had with the ‘Steak’ and ‘Cheese’ sandwich (£4.50). I’m not sure what kind of steak it was meant to be like, not one from a cow I’m sure, but it was a damn tasty sandwich – the mysterious protein (I’m thinking seitan, though it wasn’t specified) did a lovely umami dance across the tastebuds. A plate of sweet potato fries was provided for the third member of the party, though he seemed more interested in the Christmas tree.

'Steak' & 'Cheese' sandwich and Big 'Cheesy' in the background'Steak' & 'Cheese' sandwich and Big 'Cheesy' in the background

Pudding was a white chocolate cheesecake (or should that be white ‘chocolate’ ‘cheese’cake) with a coffee and a bowl of vegan ice-cream (a scoop of hazelnut and chocolate and a scoop of salted caramel). Seeing as the Teatime Collective advertises itself as a cafe and ice-cream parlour, both of these had better be up to scratch. I’m pleased to report that on the whole they were.

The ice-cream was completely convincing (please tell me that because it's vegan it’s healthy) with the salted caramel actually tasting of salt, something the salted caramel trend at large seems to have bypassed. The cheesecake had a lovely, buttery base, though I was less enthused about the ‘cheese’ part as it was whipped rather than baked (probably some kind of technical issue with baking ‘cheese’). Still, I was impressed at how good it tasted overall and the other cakes on display looked tempting too.

The menu is very pared down at the moment – perhaps this is to simplify things as the Teatime Collective still finds its feet. For example, the website advertises many different kinds of pies which look damn tasty but are not currently on the menu (come on, the world needs more pies, get them back on). And, of course, once summer tosses its hair in our direction I expect there will be lots more salads and such healthy frippery.

Dsc_0455White chocolate cheesecake

Unfortunately a small menu limits the scope of recommendation. Vegans, vegetarians and Hulmites should of course check it out. But what is more intriguing is that the Teatime Collective will open up in the evening for private bookings of eight or more, providing a set menu for £16-20 a head, with dishes that move away from the cafe standards of the daytime and into a more supper-club feel.

So though I can’t personally vouch for the private dinner option (if you have please let us know in the comments) I think anyone seriously interested in food with a large'ish gathering should at least consider giving it a whirl, with the added bonus that it’s BYOB.

I even thought of recommending it to Gordo for the Confidential Christmas party, if only to see what magnificent shade of puce he turned at the thought of eating a meal without meat or cheese. But I wouldn’t like to get in the way of his lifelong vendetta against his arteries. Perhaps ‘arteries’ is more accurate.

All scored reviews are unannounced, impartial, paid for by Confidential and completely independent of any commercial relationship.

Teatime Collective, St Wilfrids Enterprise Centre, Royce Road, Hulme, M15 5BJ. 07950 469089

Rating: 12.5/20

Food: 6/10 (burger 5, sandwich 7, cheesecake 5, ice-cream 7)

Service: 3.5/5 (Very friendly in a peaced-out sort of way)

Ambience: 3/5 (if you like slightly ramshackle organisation and shipping containers, if not, avoid)

PLEASE NOTE: 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, 18 exceptional, 19 pure quality, 20 perfect. More than 20, we get carried away

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

AlexDecember 18th 2014.

The shipping container is done out beautifully, and doesn't feel like one once you're inside; it's warm and the walls are decorated tastefully, though that said, it has only one window. The outside eating space, once summer returns, is peaceful and just next to the park. Personally I'm not a fan of fake cheese, and if you aren't either, I'd suggest asking them not to put it on your e.g. Mediterreanean pizza - which is delicious without it. The presentation and look of the food is great and the portions are good value and size. The evening menu (available on their website under Christmas evening set menu) is varied and truly delicious. The evening menu is a bit pricier than I'm personally used to, but for a treat it's well worth it, the options exquisite in look and taste, and if you go with a large group, you'll probably end up having exclusive use, which indeed feels like you're own supper club.

Cathy BryantDecember 18th 2014.

I've been to one of the evening private dos (with Manchester Vegetarian and Vegan Group) and it was marvellous. Everything was delicious and the portions were very generous, for a reasonable price. The ice cream, in particular, is made on-site and heavenly, and the cheese and onion pie was spot on. It's one of my favourite places and MVVG has another meal booked there in January!

AnonymousDecember 18th 2014.

Went here in the summer and can't wait to go back!. Great food. Child and family friendly too. Best of luck guys.

Richard AthertonDecember 19th 2014.

An 'enjoyable' review, I will be dining here soon. ;-)

Nicky LambertDecember 19th 2014.

I've only been once and was blown away by the food and the huge choice which vegans NEVER get. I will definitely be going back, am desperate to try the salted caramel ice-cream!

Dan ZDecember 19th 2014.

Dan I went for a christmas meal here with our pottery group. We had about twenty of us seated round a large table, the atmosphere was cosy and intimate. With lots of variety on the menu, we all enjoyed our meals. Nice one Tea Time!

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