After attending the launch of the Northern Independent Coffee Guide, the next day I picked a place in Manchester featured in the guide. I settled on Teacup in the Northern Quarter. The area is a hub of indie cafes and shops and the Saturday afternoon crowd consist of mainly students and young professionals. Teacup’s neighbours are attractive and it’s difficult to walk past so many appealing coffee shops and cafes without calling in, a number of them being in the guide also – North Tea Power and Takk being a couple of examples.
Teacup is a cafe by day and has also recently become a restaurant in the evening serving small plates. It is one of three establishments that is propelled by the self proclaimed “creative foodies” at Casual Manna. Bonbon Chocolate Boutique, and Propertea at Manchester Cathedral complete the set.
We arrived to the welcome of a small queue that reduced in minutes and smiles to inform us we would be seated shortly. The place was much bigger than I anticipated for an independent café. The space reached back to open out on a parallel road behind the building, facing other popular Manchester indies Home Sweet Home and Common. The deco was trendy and wouldn’t look out of place in London’s hipster districts. Vintage biology posters reminiscing old school biology lessons were lined along the walls adding a charm to the modern features.
The menu was interesting and varied, with breakfast being served all day, sandwiches, wraps, pies, cakes and afternoon tea options. I chose the pork and fig ciabatta with a v60 coffee, and my friend chose the carrot and lime soup with a ‘Energise Your Eyes’ tea – one of many teas they offer on a menu entirely dedicated to loose leaf tea.
We were sat in view of the kitchen where you can watch the chefs casually make up each plate and call for it to be delivered. I was intrigued by this as I could only see two chefs, the idea of them producing dishes between them from a detailed breakfast, snack, lunch and afternoon tea menu seemed ambitious and I was hesitant of how long we would wait.
Thankfully it wasn’t long until our order arrived. The coffee was a single origin Ethopian Gelana Abaya from Butterworth and Son in Suffolk. As a delicate v60 the taste was subtle chocolate with a refreshing fruity touch. The sandwich was fresh and the fig brought a sweetness similar to apple, it was a good choice. Although being placed on a table by the kitchen where you can watch the chefs, I started to regret not taking the all day breakfast menu so seriously.
We moved onto cake afterwards, I selected what seemed to be a loaf of brownie topped with cubes of cookie dough, and my friend chose the victoria sponge, generous portions made up for the price tag. The cakes are produced in house and are served large so you (in theory) take the rest home. We saw this as more of a challenge. A box would have just been an extra thing to carry, right?
The atmosphere was enjoyable, I felt that there was plenty of space and time considering the busy rush of a Saturday, and we were well looked after by some of the friendliest serving staff I have encountered for a while.
The bill came to about £13 each for lunch, a drink and cake but I would say you could easily spend more than that. The sandwiches were priced between £5.50 and £6.50, a selection of pies with mash (pies are everywhere in Manchester) which were between £9.50 and £11.50 and cakes priced between £3.90 and £5.50. The tea pricing began at around £4.00, the coffee was cheaper, starting at around £2.90.
I would recommend Teacup as a place to visit, however the price of the drinks would discourage me from attending regularly as a place to read my paper. But if I just leave this picture of the cakes here, I’m sure you will come to your own conclusion about a future visit…
Get in touch if you have been to somewhere outside Harrogate in the guide and let us know what you thought!