In case you have never visited the hotel it is tucked away a little, close to Piccadilly Station. Our mobile sat navs had a field day finding it and had us running around like modern day Anneka Rice's stopping random strangers in the street to ask for directions.
We came to discover 90% of people in Manchester are not from Manchester, do not know Manchester, and therefore cannot help. The other 10% have no sense of hearing and despite being from the city attempted to send us to The Midland Hotel ...by tram. It was then slightly ironic to find that the restaurant itself is actually overlooked by TFGMs main office with an excellent view of the said tram.
This wild goose chance probably has more to say about our own sense of direction or lack of it to be fair. Although once we were actually in the hotel we found light and airy City Cafe with ease. Mint has been open since the beginning of the year, formerly City Inn Manchester there is no shadow of it's previous incarnation. As we waited to be served we enjoyed the lovely and comfortable surroundings and admired the beautiful cut glass chandeliers. The restaurant was busy for a Wednesday afternoon but not alarmingly so, just enough to make it feel comfortable.
At £15 Mint's afternoon tea is one of the cheaper hotel teas in the city. It includes a selection of sandwiches, cakes, scones and last but not least a pot of leaf tea. We decided to upgrade and each ordered their house rose champagne at £9.25 a glass. Unfortunately the champagne rather spoiled our first impressions of the tea as it really did not go. Afternoon tea can be notoriously difficult to wine match but the champagne simply did not work with the sandwiches, cakes or the scones which was a real shame and very disappointing.
The tea was good however, we chose English Breakfast and Peppermint both were served correctly and were bright and clear in taste and lovely with the food.
The sandwiches were also lovely, extremely fresh and included smoked salmon, cream cheese and cucumber, ham and mustard and egg and cress. We followed these with a delicious slice of carrot cake with sour cream icing which was simply excellent and rather raised the bar for the other two cakes. Unfortunately the fruit cake was really burnt, noticeably so and was actually inedible.
The chocolate cake whilst better was far too sweet for an afternoon tea and left us both wishing we could have just had a larger slice of the carrot-cake-from-heaven. The scones were delightful served warm with oodles of clotted cream but the jam served with them puzzlingly had no smell or taste. So whilst they looked delicious this was a bit of a shock to the palate.
Despite these inconsistencies we both felt that tea at Mint offers very good value for money. With a few small tweaks it could be amongst the best in the city.
We received tea at The Mint Hotel Manchester free of charge for review.