That’s right. A festive food review. And while we’re in that awkward, in-between stage of Christmas and New Year, things can sometimes feel a little flat. You end up staying in, living in your PJs for an indecent amount of time, whilst snacking on everything in sight. So to continue with that classic ‘sod it, it’s Christmas’ mentality, I’d like to share one of my most recent blogging events with you- a suitably festive afternoon tea at The Bridge, in the charming village of Prestbury.
I’d heard all manner of good things about The Bridge from a few family members, and a quick Google search cemented their reputation as a highly recommended luxury hotel and restaurant. Armed with a keen eye for local produce and quirky décor, this Grade Two listed building seemed to be positively brimming with decadence. I therefore approached my visit with very high expectations indeed.
Having never visited Prestbury before, I was also keen to explore the village itself and take a few snaps along the way. Nestled alongside the Pennine foothills just outside of Macclesfield, you’ll find Prestbury to be a quaint, quintessential northern village, complete with thatched cottages, cosy pubs and Tudor-style architecture. It’s also surprisingly easy to visit from Manchester City Centre- just pop yourself on the train at Piccadilly and you’ll be there in twenty minutes.
Our host for the afternoon would be Cath Couzens, PR extraordinaire at marketing agency Perception Loves. Upon arrival, Cath ensured that we were attended to with teas and coffees aplenty, which fuelled our impromptu photo ops rather nicely (classic blogger behaviour, naturally). I could have quite happily spent my entire day photographing the place- there’s so many fantastic angles and trinkets to capture. With characteristic décor, restored original features and Christmas decorations throw in for good measure, it’s an aesthetic delight.
We then got stuck into the main event- our gorgeous array of sandwiches, cakes and scones, served by the friendliest staff you could ever meet. The Winter Wonderland Afternoon Tea is priced at £21.95, and includes seasonal sandwiches, macaroons, bon bons and yule logs galore. You’ll also be able to sample some fudge, rum, and caramel Christmas tea. The two-tier sandwich and cake stand has been generously designed for two people; throw in the additional scones, and it’s safe to say you’ll be having to loosen your belt accordingly.
For our sandwiches, we were presented with a selection of classic fillings including salmon and cream cheese, ham, and chicken. All with several more rounds of tea. They were quite possibly the daintiest, most delicate sandwiches I’ve ever had, and they tasted bloody lovely. I was also permitted to wolf down a second salmon sandwich, because I’m greedy and unrestrained.
And so to move on to the sweets. I genuinely didn’t know where to start here- I’ve got a bit of a sweet tooth, and a particular knack for gorging myself on a pud at any given opportunity. After much dithering, I settled for a cheeky praline and chocolate log, complete with miniature candy cane. Immaculately presented and ridiculously indulgent, it set the bar pretty high for the rest of our treats.
I next moved on to the filled chocolate bon bons, which were exceptional. Seriously, they were fantastic. Now getting into my stride, I decided to tackle my scone before I ran out of steam (cream with jam on top, the Devonshire way) which was far lighter than anticipated. I tend to enjoy a scone that’s slightly crisp around the edges, so this hit the spot perfectly.
As we continued to work our way through our two-tiered feast, Cath was only too happy to tell us about how the Winter Wonderland Afternoon Tea idea was initiated. After undergoing a renovation earlier this year, The Bridge looked to bring some festivities to their new bar and restaurant, the Garden Room. The Bridge’s excellent pastry chef Coi had considered a few experimental ideas, and thus the Winter Wonderland tea was born (afternoon teas can also be tweaked for coeliacs too).
I have to say, Coi has seriously outdone herself with her festive collection. I was particularly impressed with her mango and blackberry snowflake, which was actually the most surprisingly tasty dessert of the day. To give the appearance of a snowflake, the outside is dusted in coconut shavings, with two different mousses inside. As a resident coconut hater, I approached my plate with caution, but I was pretty chuffed to find that the entire ensemble was delicious.
The standout dessert was quite easily claimed by our gorgeous little snowman macaroons- they tasted exactly like mince pies. I was so in awe that I struggled to eat mine (I eventually took it home for my mother to demolish instead). The amount of meticulous detail that had gone into each element was incredible; there wasn’t actually a single aspect of our afternoon tea that fell short of expectations.
All in all, I honestly couldn’t recommend The Bridge enough. I don’t tend to dish out five-star ratings that often, but I’d like to make an exception here- it’s simply fantastic. Excellent service, stunning food and quaint surroundings make The Bridge one of my new favourite restaurants in the North West. Myself and my fellow bloggers were ridiculously impressed with Coi’s crowning glory, and it was a privilege to sample so many marvellous treats in excellent company.
As such, I absolutely implore you to book yourself a Winter Wonderland afternoon tea while you can, as it far surpasses so many of its kind in Manchester City Centre in both quality and presentation. If you’re therefore looking to continue the Christmas food-athon accordingly, The Bridge is certainly a most excellent place to start.
Christmas Afternoon Tea will be held at The Bridge, Prestbury until the end of January. https://thebridgecheshire.com/
The restaurant is open from 7am to 11pm Monday to Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 8am to midnight and from 8am to 10pm on Sundays. Afternoon tea is served in the Garden Room daily from 12pm to 5pm.