REVIEW: Gluten-free afternoon tea at The Midland

It’s nice to treat yourself sometimes, whether that’s getting your nails or hair done, a spot of shopping, having a bath, simply reading a book or indulging in some delicious and exquisite edible delights. The latter was what I enjoyed recently, thanks to being invited down to The Midland, “a much-loved part of this magnificent city’s life for over 115 years and is a true Manchester icon”. I’ve been to a few events here (including the Northern Blog Awards) but hadn’t dined here properly so it was great to be able to sample their offerings on a weekday afternoon with my friend and fellow blogger / mama / mum boss Holly.

Afternoon tea at The Midland has been a stalwart of the Manchester social scene and has retained its popularity ever since the hotel opened in 1903.

On what felt like an occasion to celebrate (there wasn’t one other than having an excuse for a catch up in between our mega busy lives), The Tea Room holds a grand elegance on entering. Working closely with local suppliers and taking pride in sourcing the highest quality ingredients, guests can choose from an extensive selection of bespoke loose-leaf tea served with finely cut sandwiches, freshly baked scones with jam and clotted cream, and a range of delicate cakes and pastries.

And guess what? They offer extensive gluten-free, veggie AND vegan menus which is fantastic – it’s great to see that an old institution has kept up with the times in this sense; so many restaurants, cafes and hotels are stuck in the past and sadly miss out on audiences with such dietary requirements.

Where should I start with the offerings of this quintessential British pastime? Freshly prepared sandwiches served on pleasantly soft and seedy GF bread included: Cucumber and mint crème fraiche and Feta, roasted red pepper and rocket, all of which were delicious in their own right in terms of combinations of flavours and amount of filling to bread ratio. I felt bad leaving a lot of bread though, I’m not used to eating lots and I wanted to save myself for the sweet treats and scones which looked amazing.

Onto the array of stunningly crafted desserts and I don’t know where to start. A vibrant green macaroon filled with a rich chocolate ganache was chewy and sweet but not too overpowering; a light but rich start. Although I wasn’t too keen on the lemon & chia seed sponge with vanilla buttercream, the lemon mousse with blackberry jelly was an utter delight to eat, tart and tangy balanced with the fruity filling and creaminess of the mousse. Along the same lines, the dark chocolate delice with salted caramel mousse was equally food porn for any chocolate lover; fudgy and indulgent and perfectly balanced.

By now we were feeling very full indeed but that didn’t stop us from tucking into the essential part of any traditional afternoon tea. SCONES. With jam and cream, obviously. Although I loved the fact that you can choose between raspberry, strawberry or even pineapple jam, even lemon curd on serving. It’s been a LONG time since I’ve had a scone so I was suitably impressed that these gluten-free ones were soft and not crumbly, packed full of sultanas and a generous height.

Holly and I, filled up with sandwiches, cake, champagne and tea, both agreed that afternoon tea at The Midland is a special experience and something to do when you fancy a treat. The staff were friendly, knowledgeable and attentive and it’s just nice to feel relaxed while enjoying wonderful food in a beautiful setting. Thanks to for having us [gifted] – all views are my own.