Menagerie, Manchester

“This is Manchester, we do things differently here.” - Tony Wilson


Since its launch last year, Menagerie has become a firm favourite with Manchester's celebrity crowd. Partly owned by Cheshire Housewives stars, Seema and Stacey, the exotic interior of the bar/restaurant is a definite talking point.


Menagerie combines gastronomy with art/theatre and aims to take your dining experience to the next level.

Based on the edge of Spinningfields, the £1.5m development boasts a happy hour chandelier; a light fitting by day but at night dancers hang overhead to pour Champagne for guests. 

As you arrive you are met with a huge ornamental bird cage and a flock of white paper cranes suspended from the ceiling.

menagerie: noun - 1. A collection of wild animals kept in captivity for exhibition.

The gold leaf bar holds a sculpture resembling the Greek god Hermes. The walls are covered in ornate decor and neon light installations. There is even a bathtub which can be filled with Champagne. 

The restaurant area is big. Boasting 250 covers, it features a catwalk which runs through the centre of the room for performers to entertain diners and to host fashion shows and theatre performances.


The venture has been so successful there's talk of it expanding into other northern cities and possibly even Dubai. 

The beauty of Menagerie is it doesn't take itself seriously. Everything is tongue in cheek and fantastically over the top, yet it still manages to keep the feel of glamour.


The cocktail menu is quirky with names like "Jealous or Crazy" and "Mine Tastes Better Than Yours", which features a (fake) burning £20 note as a side garnish.

It's a fun place to enjoy brunch, dinner or an evening drink. I love it! 

The first time I visited was a few weeks ago for a hangover brunch. The friendly staff noticed that my friend was particularly struggling and suggested a Bloody Mary. She started to come back to life within a few sips.

The food hit the spot perfectly and we decided to return again today for a charity event.


Following the horrific events in Manchester on 22nd May, Menagerie hosted a fundraising event, with all proceeds going to the official We Love Manchester Emergency Fund. 


There was live entertainment, a fashion show, auctions and raffles, along with the occasional celeb or two. 


Thank you Menagerie. It was a fantastic night to raise money for an even better cause. 

If you would like to donate to the official We Love Manchester Emergency Fund please visit:

Menagerie Restaurant

Bubbles and Berries, Cloud 23

“Autumn seemed to arrive suddenly that year. The morning of the first September was crisp and golden as an apple.” - J. K. Rowling


Last weekend I returned to Cloud 23 to have afternoon tea for my birthday. You can read my previous review of Cloud 23 here.

This wasn’t just any ordinary afternoon tea. Cloud 23 has recently launched a new afternoon tea menu called “Bubbles and Berries.” 

Served in the Zeus Lounge on the 23rd floor of the legendary Beetham Tower, with stunning panoramic views across Manchester, Bubbles and Berries is an Autumnal taste experience.

Glasses of Champagne arrived on a chunk of tree dressed with foliage, and the food was served on a stand with berries and twigs tucked away inside, all adding to the autumnal theme.


My friend and I are both vegetarian so a few of the options were substituted but here is the standard menu.



Mini bagel with cream cheese and beetroot cured salmon, caper berries

Caviar blini, pomegranate pearls

Ham and redcurrant croque monsieur

Butternut squash and manchego cheese quiche, plum chutney (v)



Chocolate dipped strawberries, freeze dried strawberry

Pink Champagne and blueberry jelly shot

Berry burst frangipane slice

Bellini curd part



With raspberry jam and Kir Royale clotted cream

£35 per person a glass of Champagne, plus unlimited tea and coffee

Our favourites were the vegetarian croque monsieur and the butternut squash quiche with plum chutney. 

We were also given the option of sipping on a hot chocolate rather than the usual tea or coffee, perfect with the dainty warm scones. 


We dined at 4.00pm, giving us the opportunity to watch a fantastic sunset from our elevated spot up in the clouds. 

“And the sun took a step back, the leaves lulled themselves to sleep and Autumn was awakened.” - Raquel Franco


Not quite ready to move on after devouring the afternoon tea, we asked our lovely waiter to fetch us some more bubbles, which arrived in a puff of smoke.


I’m not sure if it was the dry ice or the bubbles but we left feeling like we were floating in the clouds. 

Service was excellent throughout, our waiter explained to us that some days Cloud 23 serves up to 180 afternoon teas in a day. No wonder they do it so well! 

Bubbles and Berries is the tastiest and cosiest of ways to ease yourself into the crisp autumnal season. It is available until 12th November on the 23rd floor of Manchester’s famous Beetham Tower - 301 Deansgate, Manchester M3 4LQ.


Book in advance and make sure you ask for a window seat, the views really are incredible. Cloud 23 is an experience you won’t forget!

“It is better to have your head in the clouds and know where you are… than to breathe the clearer atmosphere below them, and think that you are in paradise.” - Henry David Thoreau

Manchester House, Manchester

Vegetables are a must on a diet. I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie.” ― Jim Davis

People often talk about getting healthy in the New Year. Not me! I believe January should be about easing into the new year as gently and comfortably as possible, not depriving ourselves of life’s pleasures. With that in mind, my first post of 2017 is… a very indulgent afternoon tea. 

Lovely Sarah recently turned 30 so we decided to celebrate with tea, cakes and bubbles!

We opted for the plush Manchester House in Spinningfields, high up on the 12th floor of Tower Twelve. The Lounge at Manchester House is sleek but has a welcoming ambience with incredible views across the city. I visited late last year for cocktails and promised to return for afternoon tea.

I’ve experienced afternoon tea in many places but there’s undoubtedly something very special about dining in a restaurant with floor to ceiling windows enjoying panoramic views of a city.

It was lovely and quiet when we arrived on a Friday afternoon at 3pm. It felt like we’d escaped the hustle of the streets below. We were shown to our table, all of which are positioned looking out across Manchester, and began settling into our decadent surroundings.

Everything is displayed in a contemporary style, there isn’t a lace tablecloth or vintage china in sight. That being said, afternoon tea lovers won’t be disappointed. The obligatory delicate finger sandwiches, cakes and pastries all feature. 

The food was delivered on a two-tier chunky wooden stand. It was beautifully presented with a modern twist. We had three of everything so there was no fighting!  I had vegetarian options and my other friend, who has a nut allergy, was also well catered for. The birthday girl was more straightforward and ate from the usual afternoon tea menu. I was very impressed that we each had our own selection (well done Manchester House) and they all tasted amazing!

We started off with the bottom layer of sandwiches. I was happy to see that we were given a good variety, on different types of breads and wraps. We cleared these in record time before moving onto the scones, discovering which of us opted for Devonshire (cream on the bottom and jam on top) and which of us chose Cornish (cream on top and jam on the bottom). 

Next came the cakes! Few people could be disappointed with the selection of on offer. Macarons, chocolate fancies, Eton mess and an incredible eclair each.

We enjoyed our Champagne while watching the sun set over Manchester, leaving only the lights from the Christmas trees twinkling around us. 

The clock struck 5pm and the bar began to fill with city slickers, keen to enjoy a cocktail or two in one of The Lounge’s four heated outside terraces. We made room for them and continued drinking downstairs in the bars of Spinningfields. 

As if our day couldn’t get any better, we stumbled upon an outdoor bumper car track where we challenged each other to a race. The next day our various aches and pains proved that we’re no Lewis Hamilton behind the wheel but it was certainly a great way to end a memorable day. 

I definitely recommend Manchester House for a special occasion, the staff were all excellent and even left a birthday card on the table for Sarah, which was a lovely touch. Even if you don’t have an occasion to celebrate, still get dressed up and treat yourself. The perfect way to cheer yourself up during this cold and dark January.

Hilton Manchester Deansgate

You know you’ve arrived in Manchester when you spot the iconic Beetham Tower, soaring high above the rest of the city.

Beetham Tower cost £150 million to build and is the 7th tallest skyscraper in England. It was designed by Ian Simpson who now lives in the incredible penthouse, in the top two floors of the 47-storey building. 

Situated within the lower 23 floors is one of my favourite places to stay in Manchester, the Hilton. It’s a contemporary hotel located on Deansgate. Each of the bedrooms has floor-to-ceiling windows with stunning views across the city. 

The best part of the hotel, for me, has to be Cloud 23 sky bar. It is one of the nicest places to unwind with a cocktail while enjoying panoramic views and is ranked amongst the world’s best bars.

You enter Cloud 23 by walking along a red-carpet to a private lift which whizzes you up 23 floors to the exclusive bar. 

Cloud 23 has four different zones named after the gods of ancient Greece “seated in their lofty position in the heavens”: Apollo 23 (God of Music, Light and the Sun), Zeus 23 (King of the Gods), Iris 23 (Goddess of the Rainbow) and Eros 23 (God of Love). 

The interior is stylish, the music is cool, the drinks are creative. Talented mixologists whip up a whole array of fantasy cocktails, including Stratospheric 23, said to be the tallest cocktail in the UK!

Cloud 23 is also a very popular place to take afternoon tea, which I plan to do on my next visit. What could be better than enjoying tea and cake in the clouds?!

It’s one of the most unique bars I’ve visited and well worth the trip if you’re in Manchester. Dress to impress, it is a firm favourite of Manchester’s stylish set!

Whether you opt for cake or cocktails, I’d recommend making a reservation as Cloud 23 is generally fully booked and operates a queuing system. You don't want to be left hanging around outside...

Hilton Manchester Deansgate

303 Deansgate, Manchester M3 4LQ

0161 870 1600

Albert's Schloss, Manchester

Last weekend during a trip to Manchester my friend and I discovered Albert's Schloss. Located under the famous Albert Hall on Peter Street, the bar-restaurant has been designed as a Bavarian palace, Bavaria being a region of Southern Germany where the locals consume the most beer on the planet. The average annual consumption in the area is 170 litres per person! 

Albert's Schloss is so dedicated to sourcing the best beer that they make weekly beer runs to the Pilsner factory in the Czech Republic to fill the bars 4 x 900 pint copper tanks.

The beer sourced must be drunk within seven days and a board on the barrels counts down the days remaining. This commitment to fresh beer, alongside a unique Alpine cocktail menu, mean Albert's Schloss has become one of the city’s most exciting venues.

The interior is part chateau part Alpine retreat, only with a gigantic bar taking centre stage. Copper piping and wood features heavily with most of the materials being reclaimed, including doors from the former BBC studios on Oxford Road. There are roaring fires, a gentleman’s snug and cozy booths to squish into with your friends.

My favourite feature had to be a button which you can press to have a bottle of Prosecco delivered straight to your table. I’m thinking of installing one of those at home!

We visited on Saturday evening and immediately made full use of the drinks on offer. My memory is a little hazy but I can recall drinking some of the bar’s own range of schnapps, which comes in flavours including chocolate, salted caramel, mint, and orange. In between drinks we danced the night away in front of the band. Live music plays on Friday and Saturday nights, featuring saxophonists and performers who dance on the tables in amongst the crowd.

The bar has an incredible atmosphere. Downstairs there is a free photo booth for visitors to get snap some obligatory selfies.

The following morning we awoke with seriously sore heads and in much need of a hangover cure before catching our trains home. We managed to drag ourselves back to Albert’s having spied the brunch menu the night before. 

A lot of the brunch menu comes from Schloss’s own in-house bakery which creates pretzels, doughnuts and sourdough loaves. Over 200 items are baked fresh everyday and it has become one of Manchester’s finest artisan bakeries.

We both ordered a steaming pot of tea to revive us while we drooled over the menu. I chose poached eggs on a potato rösti with hollandaise and a side of buttery sourdough. 

My friend had smashed avocado, feta and poached eggs on rye with a side of bacon. 

It was the perfect hangover cure, comfort food sat by a fire while drinking copious amounts of tea. The waiter who served us was excellent. We didn’t catch his name but he was so helpful making sure we had everything we needed and explained that we could help ourselves to some freshly made fruit juice. We’ll definitely return next time we’re in Manchester!

Thank you Albert's Schloss, you might have ruined us with drunken debauchery on Saturday night but you thoroughly made up for it with your delicious Sunday brunch. 

Albert's Schloss

27 Peter Street, Manchester, M2 5QR

0161 833 4040