... but I stopped. Now I'm a dad, and may blog again...

Sunday, September 11, 2011

394: Two Teapots

Teacup in Manchester's Northern Quarter is dreadful. Last year my fiancee and I went in for a cup of tea and a cake. We stood, the only people in the queue, at the counter for five minutes, while four members of staff the other side of the counter messed about and ignored us. Then we stormed out and I swore never to return. But I went back yesterday with a friend. We went up to the counter and were told we would be served at a table, and he'd be right over. We told him where we would be sat and took our seats. We waited about ten minutes until someone tried to deliver us someone else's cupcakes: are these yours? No, but we would like to order. My friend ordered a black coffee, and a glass full of ice (he enjoys a nice iced coffee), and I ordered an assam tea.

A sandwich board outside reads S'ils n'ont plus de pain, qu’ils mangent de la brioche which might as well be French for stay away from this pretentious dump. If you care what it means (If they have no bread, let them eat cake) you shouldn't: the correct reaction to a menu written in French in England is just to walk away. A good rule of thumb, especially anywhere you see custard referred to as creme anglaise.

My tea came with two pots and a weird triple egg-timer thing. It was explained to me, slightly apologetically, that it wasn't as complicated as it looked. I was to wait until the middle egg-timer had run through, then pour the water from the first pot through the strainer and into the empty second pot. From the second pot I was then allowed to pour directly into my cup. Why not just pour through the strainer directly into the cup, I know you are thinking. Exactly. Pretentious for pretension's sake. On top of that the tea was served with more than enough milk for ten cups of tea, no sugar, and both the teapots were greasy.

Entities should not be multiplied beyond necessity, so says Occam's Razor. Or translated for the staff at Teacup, entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem.  (Although that's Latin not French, but you get the idea.)

My friend's coffee arrived without his glass of ice. He asked again for the ice, but none came. Later he asked again for a glass full of ice cubes and a minute later the waitress arrived with a glass of tap water with about three tiny ice cubes floating at the top. Eventually the oh so complicated order of a glass of ice cubes was completed successfully – Huzzah!

Teacup seems to be of the impression that because it sells expensive designer cupcakes instead of homemade fairy cakes, and is frequented by people desperate to be hip, they can charge whatever they like, add loads of meaningless extras to the simple process of pouring a cup of tea, and offer the laziest and most ignorant service in Manchester. Better service is available in any random McDonald's you care to choose.

My first experience at Teacup was a lesson in fuck off we don't want your custom, and my second experience was didn't you learn your lesson the first time? Very well, we will serve you but we don't want to. I don't need to be told a third time: I am staying well away from Teacup from now until the world is consumed by an expanding sun.

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