Grafene makes for the perfect mid-morning or afternoon pit stop at any time.
In the few short weeks since it opened, Grafene has inspired much interest, with many column inches being devoted to its innovative signature cocktails, creative menus and talented kitchen brigade. Customers have particularly warmed to the almost weekly-changing menus which reflect the season’s best ingredients in combination with the team’s skill.
What people might not realise though is the fact that Grafene isn’t just the place to head towards for an important lunch or significant dinner. This modern- British restaurant is open every day from 10am to welcome guests who want to pop in for brunch, bar snacks or afternoon tea.
The comfortable bar area has its own reasonably priced miniature menu devoted to small plates for enjoying along with a drink or two. We particularly recommend the “Our Kid” Burger, a homage to our home town featuring a miniature slider topped with Golden Cross goat’s cheese and red onion marmalade served in a homemade brioche bun. If you’re game, go for a Venison Sausage Roll; richly flavoured meat surrounded by flaky and buttery pastry, while the Ham and Wensleydale croquette offers another perfectly meaty mouthful.
Those who prefer less carbs with their cocktails, might enjoy Sea Trout lightly cured with Tanqueray Gin, beetroot and fennel. Vegetarian options include the hearty Lancashire Rarebit with a fried duck egg on sourdough toast and a satisfyingly autumnal dish of barbequed baby Jerusalem Artichokes with a luxurious, savoury custard enhanced with Winchester cheese.
As you’d expect, the pastry section at Grafene has gathered particular acclaim thanks to its excellent team headed by Cristina Molinari, whose experience includes the Ritz Hotel in Paris. Their talent and attention to detail is likely to enhance Grafene’s reputation for serving the best afternoon tea in the city.
Lunchtime diners can’t fail to notice the wonderful spells emanating from the open kitchen; the buttery scent of scones, fresh from the oven, the nostalgic aroma of a freshly baked apple tart or the heady perfume of warm Madeleines and macarons.
Grafene offers a number of different afternoon tea options from a straight forward Cream Tea with warm crumbly scones, strawberry conserve and clotted cream to a much more leisurely affair. Their full Afternoon Tea is served on a traditional three-tiered stand overflowing with delicate finger sandwiches. The middle tier contained freshly baked scones, studded with juicy sultanas served with clotted cream, strawberry conserve and a dish of homemade lemon curd. The bottom tier accommodated a selection of colourful macarons as well as delicate miniature cakes and whatever other treats the pastry section has dreamed up on any given day. On our visit it included tiny chocolate brownies and ganache-topped financiers with fresh raspberries.
Unfortunately, we had to return to the office, but if we were staying we’d have been more than tempted to enhance our afternoon tea with a glass of Prosecco or Champagne.
If you haven’t yet had the opportunity to try out Manchester’s newest premium dining hot spot, there’s no need to wait for a special occasion to visit. Grafene’s staff is ready to welcome you at any time with a perfectly refreshing drink and something delicious to eat with it.
Find Grafene just off King Street, also accessible via Chapel Walk.
Photo credit: Emma Golpys