What’s the first thing you need to wake you up in the morning? Coffee? Shower? Repeated slams of the snooze button? Mornings are tough, and there’s only one thing that can transform me from a bedraggled zombie into a functioning human being ready to face the day. Breakfast. (Well, breakfast and LOTS of concealer).
I’ve never been able to understand the phenomenon of skipping breakfast. I wake up so famished every morning that I can’t fathom the notion of doing anything except immediately refuelling. Breakfast is my most essential meal, but herein lies the paradox – it’s also the meal that I pay the least heed to. I’ll lovingly prepare lunch and dinner every day, but breakfast? It’s a case of chow down and run for the bus. No frills, no fuss.
It’s about time I put this right. After all, not only is breakfast the most important meal of the day (so the elusive ‘they’ say), but 12 hours of overnight fasting deserves a reward. And breakfast can deliver some seriously sweet rewards, especially when served in fine breakfast emporiums like Teacup, one of the many jewels to be found in the café crown that is Manchester’s Northern Quarter.
Let me set the scene. I visited Teacup last Saturday with a friend, en route to London. I’d been up since 6.30am after travelling from Leeds, during which time I’d only had one slice of toast. It was now 10.30am and I was in a bad way, in dire need of sustenance. Teacup had come highly recommended by my friend and, given that she is a big breakfast connoisseur, I had very high hopes. Our taxi pulled up, I stumbled through the pillar-box red doorway and absorbed my surroundings. Exaltation, relief, excitement. I may even have emitted a little squeal.
Yes I may have been delirious with hunger, but Teacup was just gorgeous. A cavernous space extending far back from the street, it was decorated in a simple but striking manner with exposed silver beams, lashings of red paint and chintz a-plenty. Crates nailed to the walls housed alluring brown bags of tea and coffee, along with mugs and other paraphernalia baring the familiar cartoons of Mr Scruff. Yes, oddly enough, Teacup is a side project for Mr Scruff, a DJ who I confess I don’t really know anything about apart from recognising his cartoon-style imagery. Although he seems to have some rather good taste, so maybe I should give his music a go too…
Effortlessly charming, Teacup set a distinctive backdrop for the most beautiful decoration of all – its food. As we made our way to our seat, we passed tables adorned with alluring plates, each piled with refined but hearty concoctions revolving around breakfast staples of eggs and toast. The room was filled with the most seductive of aromas, and my tummy involuntarily emitted rumble after ravenous rumble.
To put it mildly, Teacup created a GREAT first impression, and I could wait no longer to get a piece of the action. Shown to our seats, we sat down and poured over the breakfast menu, which read like a homage to the humble egg we’d admired on the tables surrounding us. Royale, Benedict, Scrambled, Scrambled Deluxe, Poached and Dippy duck – whatever your egg desire, Teacup was there to serve it. There were toast and porridge options too, but with an array of eggs so beautifully presented, my mind was made up.
I opted for scrambled, and thankfully only had to wait 10 minutes before it arrived. Bravo, Teacup.
The eggs were just what I needed. Primrose yellow, luxurious and melt-in-the-mouth creamy, the eggs contrasted impeccably with the crisp, toasted sourdough bread resting beneath. Drizzled with sour cream, a smattering of glistening chives, and accompanied by a vat of cappuccino, it was a five star reminder of just how DAMN good breakfast can be.
As I mourned the demise of my hastily devoured scrambled eggs, I perused the other dishes on Teacup’s menu. Open from 10am – 6pm every day (and until 8pm from Thursday to Saturday), the menu comprised a vegetarian-heavy selection of creative dishes that made me consider abandoning the journey to London to camp out at Teacup all day. And of course, as you’d expect, tea is a prominent feature on the menu too. I’ll be honest, I didn’t have tea because the tea menu overwhelmed me. There were an incomprehensible number of teas on offer, most of which read like Swahili to my uneducated tea palate. There were even teas on offer from Mr Scruff himself, who apparently is quite the tea aficionado with his own tea production company! Perhaps there’s potential for a future tea master class with the DJ himself? I know I’d be game.
Manchester’s Northern Quarter is an Aladdin’s Cave of cafés like Teacup. Just minutes from the overpriced and overrated likes of Costa and Starbucks, the Quarter’s small grid of streets hides a trove of far superior (and cheaper!) options for breakfast, lunch and dinner! I’ve ticked Odd, Home Sweet Home, Bluu and now Teacup off my list, but I’ve barely scratched the surface. Until next time, Manchester…
Have you visited Teacup?
Kudos must go to the lovely Georgina, my Teacup partner-in-crime who recommended that we visit this GEM, and her lovely boyfriend, Mike, for treating us to breakfast!