Restaurant review: The Impossible Edition Afternoon Tea at The Library curated by Assouline, The Edwardian Manchester

Adam Lowe

We were pleased to be invited to try The Impossible Edition Afternoon Tea last weekend at The Library curated by Assouline, tucked away at the back of The Edwardian Manchester.

This was our first time visiting The Library, though we’ve visited Peter Street Kitchen a number of times before. The Library curated by Assouline offers an intimate guest experience with a worldly menu. A rich menu of signature cocktails is served alongside a select menu of Parisian-inspired dishes.

The venue

The Library curated by Assouline is a wonderful venue. It feels comfy yet professional, classy but not stiff. It’s nicely positioned round the rear of the hotel, so that it has a sense of quiet retreat, compared to the passersby outside the big glass windows of Peter Street Kitchen.

Made up of cosy couch seating, a number of tables and bar seating, the space is set up for a variety of different needs. These qualities make the restaurant perfect for afternoon tea, whether you’re going with friends, family or a date.

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There’s a strong theme of fashion which carries through the books on display and the artwork hanging on the walls (which features iconic faces from history). Paired with the books and literary vibes, this gives the place a sophisticated energy.

The drinks

We started off, unsurprisingly, with some tea. I had a tasty jasmine tea and my fiance tried the refreshing mint and lemon tea.

The jasmine tea grew richer over time, although we recommend not over-brewing the mint and lemon tea, as the lemon becomes more overpowering with time. Just a little is enough to keep it refreshing and light enough to sip throughout.

We also got to check out the three books in the Chanel: The Impossible Edition Slipcase while waiting for our food, which is available to take home for an additional price with your afternoon tea.

The food

A wonderful array of sandwiches, scones and cakes greeted us when our afternoon tea arrived. This was an epic serving, so there was little doubt we’d go hungry.

Along the top row, you’ll find a black forest gateau with black cherries, lemon and poppy seed opera cake, coconut mousse with ginger lime jelly and lightly toasted meringue, and a pistachio and strawberry choux.

On the middle row, there are plain and apricot scones, served with clotted cream and strawberry jam.

On the bottom row, you’ll find the finger sandwiches: roast beef with horseradish mayonnaise, grilled courgette with basil pesto, salmon on cherry sourdough and lemon-roasted chicken with truffle mayonnaise.

The clear favourite of the afternoon was the salmon on cherry sourdough. The silky, smoked salmon paired perfectly with the slight tang of the cherry bread.

The lemon-roasted, corn-fed chicken with truffle mayonnaise was wholesome and delicious, and had a unique potato and rosemary bread. This was a close second.

The rare roast beef with horseradish mayo and baby watercress was lovely on a brioche bun, which nicely balanced against the hot mayo.

Robata-grilled courgette with basil pesto on sourdough is sure to please the veggie lovers!

Next up, we tried the scones. The apricots were delicious, providing an altogether different fruitiness to the usual currants you’d find in this beloved British dessert. But the plain scones were mighty fine too – with both having a delicious, slightly crisp, crumbly outside and soft, cakey insides as a great contrast.

When set against the clotted cream and strawberry and vanilla jam, these scones were simply divine.

Next up we tried the chocolate gateau with black cherries. It had a smooth mousse, a slight hint of pop at the first bite, and a spongey chocolate cake base to hold it all together.

This brought back fond memories of childhood and is bound to be a crowd-pleaser.

The coconut mousse was altogether lighter and fruitier. With its ginger lime jelly and pressed pineapple, it had a neat blend of sharp and sweet flavours, which work very well against the toasted meringue on top.

The lemon and poppy seed opera cake really hit the high notes! It was citrus and light with crunchy poppy seeds to balance it out.

Finally, the pistachio and strawberry choux was a tasty and unexpected pairing. The nuttiness and summery fruitiness worked well together, making this my favourite dessert of the bunch.

The service

We were served by the wonderful Kai, who knew everything we needed to know about the menu and the sumptuous items in our afternoon tea. The afternoon tea came out promptly and we were able to eat at a leisurely pace.

There’s quite a lot, so you want to be able to take your time without feeling rushed. However, unlike a dinner that comes over many courses, as the afternoon tea is all presented together (save the drinks, which come first), we still found we managed to finish everything in about an hour.

The verdict

For a stylish and laidback afternoon tea, head down to The Library curated by Assouline, and enjoy a good dose of fashion with perhaps the best scones and finger sandwiches in the city.

More information

You can purchase tickets online in advance or book a table directly.

To celebrate Manchester’s launch of Assouline’s Chanel: The Impossible Collection, The Librared curated by Assouline is offering guests the opportunity to indulge in their limited-edition Chanel: The Impossible Edition Afternoon Tea.

Guests can enjoy The Impossible Edition Afternoon Tea, paired with the limited-edition cocktail, The Little Black Dress, and leave with a choice of Assouline’s iconic Chanel: 3-Book Slipcase or Chanel: The Impossible Collection books.

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Packages available:

  • The Impossible Edition Afternoon Tea with the limited edition cocktail The Little Black Dress – £38 per person
  • The Impossible Edition Afternoon Tea with the limited edition cocktail The Little Black Dress and the Chanel: 3-Book Slipcase – £75 per person
  • The Impossible Edition Afternoon Tea with the limited edition cocktail The Little Black Dress and the Chanel: The Impossible Collection – £430 per person

The Little Black Dress cocktail is Roku gin infused with jasmine tea, Muyu Vetiver Gris, yuzu, Italicus & Liquorice, jasmine syrup, charcoal and Moët & Chandon Brut.

Open from 11am–10pm, Monday–Sunday. Book on +44 161 835 8959 or thelibrary@edwardian.com.

The Edwardian Manchester, A Radisson Collection Hotel, Free Trade Hall, Peter Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M2 5GP

Visit radissonhotels.com for more information.

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