Gay-friendly, Alice in Wonderland-inspired café big on gigantic scones and mismatched tableware. A full menu and cocktails are also served in the evenings
Had Alice emerged from the rabbit hole in modern day Manchester and found herself pining for a spot of tea, she may well have ended up at Richmond Tea Rooms.
Situated on a side street in the Gay Village, it’s a space of two halves and the tea room has to be seen to be believed. It takes camp to a new level, inspired by all things Wonderland and with a skewed nod to the Mad Hatter's own tea party. It's a sumptuous bombardment of colour and gluttony – and that's just the décor.
Afternoon teas, sandwiches, scones, creams and jams are piled onto vertiginous cake stands, while a huge selections of teas, plus breakfasts, snacks and a full evening menu make the choices on offer plentiful. China abounds, most doesn't match, and it all adds up to the feeling that you've slipped into one of Lewis Carroll's chemically enhanced dreams.
The cocktail lounge next door has more of a lodge feel – dark wood, antlers, a green leather sofa – and is a far less psychedelic experience, yet becomes an extension of the tea room at busier times.
Joyously, Richmond Tea Rooms is always busy and you might well have to wait for a table. Why joyous? Because you'll be waiting with a troupe of transvestites, a pack of hungry bears, a family celebrating a birthday with wide-eyed children, and that makes the place a success by any standards.
The food is good and the portions won’t leave you wanting more. Wonderland was a place of excess, after all.
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15 Richmond Street
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