If you are looking for a truly indulgent afternoon tea experience you can’t go far wrong with Slattery. You will find the award winning patissier & chocolatiers in Whitfield. If that seems a long way to drive for chocolate and cake (is any drive too long when you are rewarded with sweet treats?) you can get the tram from Manchester Piccadilly in about 30 minutes.
Regular readers will know that I don’t need an excuse or occasion to enjoy a spot of afternoon tea. The meal itself is occasion enough. Catching up with some girl friends did however create an opportunity a few weeks ago.
Securing a table
Before I mention the food I want to share some useful tips for securing a table in what is an extremely popular restaurant. First of all, if you want to make a reservation you need to plan a long way ahead. To give you an idea of how far in advance, I tried to book a table on 8 February for afternoon tea on 2 April. The latest time I could get a reservation was 11.00 am. It would have been perfect for a late breakfast or brunch but not so good when it’s tea and cake you’re after.
Luckily the restaurant keep tables free for walk-ins, although this can mean up to an hour’s wait, especially on a Saturday.
Having visited Slattery once before, I knew that any wait would be worthwhile as long as we were prepared for it. We decided to arrive between 11.30 and 12.00 in the hopes that we would be seated ahead of a lunchtime rush, but not too early to appreciate our food.
We planned to entertain ourselves in the shop, which is a feast for the eyes and nose it is so crammed full of treats. It sells every sort of chocolate goody you can imagine, as well as cupcakes, ice cream, cakes, baked goods, and lots of chocolate making supplies in case you are inspired to have a go at home. (Slattery also runs chocolate making courses if you fancy learning the tricks of the trade).
As it turned out we timed it perfectly. When we arrived we were given a pager and told to expect a 30 minute wait. We had just finished drooling over the breathtaking wedding cakes and delicious smelling chocolate when we were called to the dining room about 20 minutes later.
Once we were seated the staff could not have been more attentive despite how busy the place was. They struck the perfect balance between being on hand when we needed an extra pot of tea or glass of water and leaving us to our own devices. Despite the substantial queue in the waiting area we were not rushed and we weren’t even asked if we were ready to leave until we had requested the bill. By that point it seemed fair enough to give someone else the chance to enjoy the table, not least because we had occupied it for the better part of 2 hours!
As for the afternoon tea, well, it was served with a traditional selection of finger sandwiches including coronation chicken, smoked salmon and cream cheese, ham and mustard, cheese and pickle, egg mayonnaise and tuna and cucumber. They were all substantial and delicious.
Moving on to the scones (I always eat them after the sandwiches), they were large, crumbly and packed with fruit. And, most importantly, they were served with plenty of clotted cream and jam – it always bugs me if I have to ask for more.
The sweet treats were fairly typical of an afternoon tea. I have to say that I was expecting more chocolate, given our location, but that’s not to say that the selection of cakes and fancies was disappointing – far from it in fact.
We enjoyed a shot glass sized trifle, a slice of Bakewell tart, a mini Victoria sponge, a macaroon and a chocolate dipped strawberry. Each was as light and delicious as you would expect.
Afternoon tea is served with a pot of tea (although if you’re not a tea lover you could have coffee or a soft drink) and there are several options for accompanying tipples including champagne, G&T or a driver friendly pink rose lemonade. All the drinks arrive with a signature Slattery chocolate disk, which is great for rounding off your meal, provided you can squeeze it in!
If you decide to take your little ones, Slattery even offer a children’s afternoon tea, which features treats including jelly and meringue, a strawberry and marshmallow skewer and a chocolate ‘fish and chips’. Sounds amazing to me!
Slattery: 197 Bury New Road, Manchester, M45 6GE, Tel: 0161 767 9303
Love cake? Check out my guide to the best afternoon teas in Manchester.