Disclaimer: before you read what you’ll read, I don’t know why this happened.
So this place is new. When I started to see people tweeting pictures of cocktails from a place I’d never heard of before obviously I was going to have to go have a look. Even more obviously I was going to get there and remember I can’t really afford to be spending £8 on a drink. I’m not a student anymore but no one seems to have told my purse that yet. So to avoid this cocktail sadness I decided to get there for lunch, I don’t have to drink EVERY lunch time so I was pretty happy trying Rosylee Tea Rooms out with just a soft drink.
I forgot I was in a tea room as soon as I walked in, it was like no tea room I’ve ever been in especially not one situated in Manchester’s Northern Quarter. Usually it’s chintz central with dollies and cushions stuck on anything that can’t chuck it off. Rosylee Tea Rooms really aren’t like that. There are three sections to this place, not just one comfy nan room. There’s the bar, the dinning area and an outdoor eating space. Each one of these areas has been decorated with a mixture of chrome, shiny back surfaces and a mixture of interesting house plants kept under glass bell jars. The ceiling is adorned with similar glass bell jars this time used as light shades and dense faux foliage around sections of the lights (see above photo).
On entering we were asked which section we’d like to sit in and since it wasn’t sunning or drinking time we opted for the restaurant dining area. It really is impressively sophisticated, if you sat there long enough you could almost forget that you were in the Northern Quarter. After choosing the nearest table told we’d made a brilliant choice since a pianist was about to arrive and we would be sitting right next to him. The pianist was lovely and it was interesting to trying to work out what song he was interpreting, but it was quite awkward sitting only a meter away from him. Especially when my boyfriend decided to mime how he used to play the organ (he’s the coolest of catches I know) and ended up looking like he was playing along on his air piano.
To the food then. It was lunch time so I decided to stick with the light bites, Chris with the sandwiches and one side to share. I had the Goat’s Cheese Bon Bons (£6.50) which were described as “Panko Breaded Goat’s Cheese Bon Bons with Pickled Red Cabbage Tapenade, Roast Red Pepper and Beetroot Pea Shoot Salad” and that they were. The bon bons were satisfyingly crunchy with a centre of incredibly rich and creamy goats cheese. After one bite I was slightly concerned that they would become slightly to rich but thankfully the beetroot puré and pieces, sweet pickled red cabbage and roasted red pepper provided a contrast to the bon bons. The portion size of 4 bon bons was slightly too small for me but they were on the small bites menu so I’ll let you decide if it would be adequate.
Either way I was well fed because Chris decided we were going halves on a portion of Sweet Chilli Courgette Fritters. Usually I’ve a bit wary of courgette, I have cannot abide soggy courgette they make my skin craw. These little guys surprised me, I love them. They were firm, didn’t drip strange juices and had a crisp coating. The sweet chilli element came in the form of a sticky drizzle, I’d be putting that stuff on my cornflakes if I could.
I didn’t get a chance to take a picture of the Rosylee Rarebit (£6.25) Chris had chosen. On paper this was “Open Toasted Granary Bloomer with Grilled Plum Vine Tomatoes, topped with Rosylee Rarebit, Rocket and Balsamic Vinaigrette” but in fact it wasn’t quite like that. From what I saw the tomatoes hadn’t been grilled and the balsamic vinaigrette was barely there. Chris’ alternative description was “Dry toast with a mat of very tasty, but not very gooey, smokey cheese on top”. As a result he ended up pinching more than his share of courgette fritters.
Here’s where the strange things started. I’d enjoyed my meal, we’d both enjoyed the fritters and we were ready to hit up piccadilly records so we asked for the bill and didn’t bother to mention the Rarebit issues. About two seconds after a waitress had placed our bill on the table another who I assume was more senior or maybe even a manager presented us with a selection of cakes to showcase what Royslee Tea Rooms are doing with their baking. Now these were on the house but we didn’t ask for them, we hadn’t seemed unhappy with the experience and I hadn’t announced that I planned to blog about our visit. So basically we got free cake and have no idea why.
We were pretty pleased with this free cake (as you would be) so we jumped straight in. Chris even braved it and decided to try carrot cake for the first time in his life. After 24 years of not knowing that he was into it, he decided he was REALLY into it and ate all the frosting and most of the cake, apparently it was good. The Victoria Sponge was light and contained whipped cream packed with vanilla seed. The third cake was a dense load cake with nuts and fruit running through it. I thought it was a banana loaf but Chris wasn’t so sure – whatever it was I liked it.
So that’s what the disclaimer was about. I had a lovely lunch (Chris had a half lovely lunch) in a pleasant modern setting then ended up with FREE CAKEEEE. No idea why that happened but I’m totally on board with it. But before anyone mumbles blogger blagger, everything I order I intend to pay for and I never expect to be given things I haven’t paid for.