Once a Victorian schoolhouse, Great John Street Hotel is now a chic and stylish boutique hotel where waiting paparazzi frequently signal the presence of visiting celebrities. Afternoon tea is served in the Oyster Bar, winner of In-Out magazine’s ‘Most Intimate Hotel Bar’ award. Here, rich textures and neutral colours are used to great effect to create a calm and relaxing interior. Crushed velvet couches and deep-cushioned armchairs sit in cosy groups on a dark wood floor beneath a beamed ceiling and a gallery featuring sepia photographs of former pupils. The decor succeeds in being elegant but unpretentious, sophisticated but still homely. It’s also possible to take tea on the roof garden, the school’s original rooftop playground.
Great John Street offers two versions of afternoon tea. There’s the classic ladies’ afternoon tea, plus a gentleman’s version. The ladies’ version starts, as all proper afternoon teas should, with delicate finger sandwiches of soft bread spread with fillings including smoked salmon, egg, chicken, and cream cheese and cucumber. Next, comes the cake stand. A glorious display of light, crusty scones topped with jam and rich clotted cream, together with a decadent variety of home-made cakes and pastries dotted with red berries and summer fruits. Possibilities include coffee and vanilla cupcakes, red velvet and meringue sponge, and chocolate strawberry cake. Tea and coffee are unlimited, and, if you want to add a touch of fizz to the conversation, you can add a glass of Perrier Jouet champagne. Without the champagne, the ladies afternoon tea costs £19.50; with the champagne, it’s £25.50.
The gentleman’s afternoon tea at Great John Street is a rather different animal. Recognising that some people prefer more savoury options, it offers a selection of canapé style bites, such as fish and chip skewer, prawn dumpling, chicken and leek pie, mini beef burger and fries, and home-made Scotch egg. Warm chocolate brownie with Bailey’s ice cream followed by cheese and crackers completes the feast, whilst you can add that special extra touch with a glass of Gentlemen Jack – a fusion of citrus and black raspberry with the smooth taste of Jack Daniels – or a glass of fine wine. The price without the cocktail or wine is £21.50; with the extra drink, the meal costs £25.95.
There’s also a special Bookatable Star Deal, offering you a classic afternoon tea selection for just £15.
To reserve your cosy corner, book online here.
Afternoon Tea at Great John Street Hotel
Great John Street, Manchester, M3 4FD
STAR DEAL – Afternoon tea – £15 per person