As some of my readers will already know, I quite like a good afternoon tea. It’s something that reminds me of my childhood and growing up near Devon. My children like them too so today we ventured towards Manchester, UK to look for one.
We ended up at the Tea Hive in Chorlton after a google search. It said on their website that booking is recommended for afternoon teas so we rang to book a table before we went.
When we got there we were shown to our booked table with a smile. We didn’t have enough chairs despite mentioning the amount of people when we booked, but they happily found us another chair to pop at the end of the table when I asked. We were brought the menu’s.
There was rather a lot to choose from but as we were after afternoon tea I turned straight to that page and read about the delicious sounding vegetarian and non vegetarian options. Both options came with nice sounding sandwiches, scones and cakes. It said the afternoon tea was available after 2pm which was fine as we were there at 3.30.
A nice lady came to take our order but when I asked for an afternoon tea I was told I could not order one as they were only available if you pre order them before you visit. So instead, I disappointedly decided on a savoury scone. Again I was not allowed to order this for the same reason, so I asked what I could order and the answer was pretty much anything else. I felt a bit like a fussy customer as I searched the menu for something I might like. The lady suggested the light lunch which included half a sandwich of my choice, a bowl of soup and a cake from the counter. I ordered that.
My daughter ordered a roast vegetable salad and my son was very confused by the menu so took a very long time to decide on egg on toast with beans. Their little friend is a fussy eater so he decided to have beans on toast from the children’s menu.
The food took a very long time to come and by way of apology we were given smoothies for the children. When it did come we were a little taken aback as we had not expected what we were given.
I wasn’t even going to blog about this place and was just having a Sunday afternoon off with my children so I didn’t take photographs as the food came out. However as we started to eat it I had decided to tell my readers about it so I’m afraid my photographs are of slightly more dismantled food than usual.
My daughters meal, the roast vegetable salad was possibly the most appealing and she didn’t dislike it. It was essentially a salad with roast peppers in it, a dollop of homemade and very yellow hummus and some flat bread which may have been garlic.
My meal was served on a breadboard. The half sandwich was actually very nice. It was small but then you would expect that for half a sandwich. The bread was thick and toasted and contained brie, cranberry sauce and grapes cut in half. I enjoyed the sandwich.
The soup was meant to be minestrone. It looked like a bowl of tinned spaghetti and I could actually eat it with a fork it was so thick. I still can’t decide if it was homemade tomato soup with a tin of spaghetti thrown in or just tinned spaghetti spooned into a bowl. Either way it tasted nothing like any minestrone soup I’ve ever eaten and it was quite sickly. Fortunately it was accidently cleared away before I had even eaten half the bowl full, as I went to get my cake to give to my daughter.
The beans on toast, I had to eat and instead spooned “soup” onto the child’s plate and called it “spaghetti” so he would eat it. For a childs meal it seems a little odd that the beans would not be baked beans but a mixture of beans including kidney beans, sauce and herbs and he wouldn’t even touch it.
My sons egg on toast unfortunately had the same bean mixture which he wasn’t expecting but fortunately he managed to eat around it. The poached eggs looked nice and they were on top of toasted muffins.
The Tea Hive sells a variety of cakes which you can choose at the counter and they all looked lovely. We shared a slice of cookie brownie between all of us. It was just the right consistency and very rich. Everyone thought it was delicious.
The staff at the Tea Hive were very friendly but I personally wouldn’t visit again. I was disappointed by the fact we couldn’t have afternoon tea and had ended up paying a lot for something else that wasn’t amazing. I wouldn’t recommend the soup unless you like tinned spaghetti a lot, and as my son pointed out I could of paid eight pound less for a tin of it in a supermarket. If you are ordering the kids meals I would double check you are getting what you think you are, as most kids would not be expecting kidney beans when ordering beans on toast.
I would however really recommend visiting if you like cake. The cakes are very nice.
Taking an Autistic child to the Tea Hive in Chorlton, Manchester?
The cafe is quite small and feels a bit crowded when busy.
There is no background music.
The light is natural from the windows.
The wall paper makes your eyes go funny.
We waited a long time for our food.
The menu is long and complicated and the children’s menu is inside it. When my son eventually decided he wanted egg on toast he was asked if he wanted any extras. He didn’t know what the extras were as he couldn’t see any on the menu so asked and then had the very expensive adult meals pointed out to him that contained egg benedict. Thinking he had to choose one of them he nearly did until I told him it was ok and he could just have egg on toast and add beans if he wanted.
The food on the children’s menu may not be what you are expecting so it might be worth checking to avoid being surprised, especially if your child only eats certain foods.
The Tea Hive is located at 53 Manchester Road in Chorlton, Manchester and their phone number is 0161 8810569. Make sure you ring in advance to ask for an afternoon tea if you want one as you won’t be able to order one from the menu!
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