Nestled in the alcove adjacent to St Anne's Square is a new restaurant that doubles as a cafe. Boasting a homely yet upmarket decor, Annie's is a dark wood, leather seated hideaway in the middle of the city centre.
It feels expensive when you walk in, but simultaneously like you've come home - it is cosy, but luxurious, like a big hug from your Nan that lives in a large house decked out with decadent and quirky, but comfortable home stuffs.
The decor is chic yet 'different': dark wood floor, and dark panelling meets a mixture of nude walls and vintage wallpaper. Kitsch. Or at least they've tried to be 'eclectic' but it's not, it's a lovely, vintage yet modern decorated restaurant that is reminiscent of your well to-do Auntie's living room.
I had Afternoon Tea with part-owners Tom McAlpine, and Chris Farr; it was pretty, but failed in terms of taste. The 'sandwiches' were a disappointment. Unadventurous fillings (cucumber, ham, beef, and smoked salmon), made for average tasting bites, and the bread was oddly hard. They didn't add any seasoning, or flavouring to the sandwiches. It's as though they just decided they wanted to 'do' afternoon tea, but failed to 'do' it right.
If you do visit Annie's, I won't recommend the afternoon tea, but try their mains; they are a welcome change from highfalutin menus in expensive restaurants. Not exactly British classics, but definitely Northern favourites including the following:
Cheese and onion pie Steak and ale pie Fish, chips and mushy peas Beef burger and chips
And for the more refined palette: Mussels cooked in a creamy white wine sauce
Bury black pudding spring rolls with a Thai dressing
Pan fried loin of cod with haddock and clam chowder
Although they have only been open just over a month, Annie's already has regular customers, and popular dishes. The favourites among customers include 'Annie's hot pot' and the 'Sticky toffee pudding'.
Food aside, the atmosphere in Annie's is lovely; it is miles away from the loud, noisy venues that let the music do the talking and forget about customer service. Annie's number one priority is the customer, and it is mirrored in the attentive, chatty staff who will suggest food/drinks depending on your taste.
You sink into the plushy chairs in the upstairs cafe, but downstairs Annie's is open for evening diners, and ooh does it get exciting in the evenings. Every Friday customers are treated to the beautifully soulful voice of Hayley Smith. She is a jazz and swing vocalist, and boy does she make Friday's worth coming out for!
Get yourself to Annies, for, as they say: 'a night out that's in'.
Follow them on twitter, or give them a ring to book a table.
Me too, it was somewhat of a disappoint in terms of afternoon tea, but superb in other aspects. If you're thinking of trying an authentic tea and cake experience head to the Sugar Junction in Manchester's Northern Quarter.