*Our brunch was provided free of charge, however, all opinions are my own as always
I’m sure we have all indulged in a quaint afternoon tea or two at some point (especially if you’re a fellow Brit – we can’t seem to get enough of them, can we?) but how about an afternoon brunch? Until a couple of weeks ago, I hadn’t even heard of this concept before, let alone had the opportunity to try it for myself.
When it comes to food, I like variety. Tapas is one of my favourite styles of cuisine, giving me the option to order a bit of everything and tuck into dishes that I may not usually entertain the idea of.
It also eliminates that pang of envy when you finally choose a main meal in a restaurant (this in itself is a challenge as I’m also extremely indecisive) only to find your eyes wandering over to the next table and wondering if their dish is better than the one you’ve settled for.
When The Midland in Manchester invited me along to review their new afternoon-tea style brunch, I asked my dad if he fancied coming along. He is very much an honorary Northerner, despite hailing from Ascot, and likes nothing more than a fry-up and coffee at the local greasy spoon.
Being seated in the beautifully elegant Tea Room may have taken him out of his comfort zone somewhat but he wholly embraced the experience and immediately commented on the quintessential sugar cubes and Midland-branded fine bone china that lay on the crisp white tablecloth in front of us.
We requested a pot of coffee to share and were given the option of upgrading to a bottomless brunch with a choice of Prosecco, Mimosa, Bloody Mary, Bellini, beer and lager for an additional £20 each. We declined on the basis that I was driving and my dad is tee-total but it did put The Midland on my radar for future brunches out with the girls.
The Midland has been offering their legendary afternoon teas for over a century so I was looking forward to seeing how their modern take on brunch would work. Before long, we were presented with our food, displayed on a delicate three-tier white cake stand.
It featured a blend of both sweet and savoury dishes such as:
My dad and I topped up our coffee cups and reminisced about making ‘Eggy Bread’ together in the kitchen of my dad’s little flat when I was younger, both agreeing that The Midland’s offering of fluffy and sweet French Toast had trumped our amateur efforts by a mile.
The ambience was peaceful and everything you’d expect from a hotel of this calibre, with attentive staff making sure we had everything we needed, such as extra coffee and water for the table, in a timely fashion and always with a smile.
As we dined, I challenged my dad to pick a favourite dish and he simply couldn’t. For me, the brioche French toast was sublime and the waffles were a close contender. My dad thoroughly enjoyed the fresh salmon bagels, kiwi and apple shot and baked eggs with spinach and chorizo. A far cry from his usual bacon muffin but a welcome one it seemed!
Despite the petite portions, we admitted defeat after finding ourselves nicely full and ended up taking away the scones and pancakes to enjoy later on. For £19 a head, I’d say it was absolutely worth it to enjoy a luxe Sunday morning catch up in such an iconic yet unpretentious venue.
You can book your own afternoon brunch at The Midland here, served every day between 10.30am – 1.30pm and walk-ins are also welcome.