Some dream about their ideal date, or that beautiful outfit; I dream about breakfast. French toast, eggs benedict, a full English fry up or perfect porridge. To justify the title of a good, let alone perfect breakfast takes time, and like most people, the luxury of time is often denied. However, in such hard times there is a silver lining. On a scheduled meet up with a friend, she took me to an unfamiliar café: Sugar Junction. I was transported into another world: a forties amalgam of patterned, but subtle, wallpaper, red lipstick, cake and sugar perfume, and an overawing sense of calm. Sugar Junction is beautiful vintage tea room, but sweetness and light aside, they had Eggs Benedict on the menu.
Down a few an unassuming streets in the Northern Quarter is the stunning vintage tea room that doesn't rush to get you in and out, but instead welcomes each customer and encourages you to stay. You sink into the plush 40's-upholstered chairs, and truly relax. It shouldn't come as surprise that this gem is nestled amongst other quirky, and independent businesses in this area because the Northern Quarter, as the owner Ms. Rossiter confides is "a bit of a destination area for anyone looking for a nice hot beverage, and a big slice of cake".
We started with tea, served in beautiful china teacups, with saucers and a tea leaf catcher. It really is the little details that count. I had peach tea, and my friend had an English Breakfast tea. The tea was not only refreshing, but refreshingly different, new and warming as we perused the breakfast menu.
Onto the food. The Eggs Benedict was divine: perfectly poached fresh eggs, with two rashers of bacon and home-made hollandaise sauce topped with a freshly toasted English muffin. It was like being at home, when your Mom cooks you breakfast after being away, because she loves you.
But where did such glorious ideas come from I hear you ask? Sugar Junction started out as an outside events company specialising in weddings and was ran solely by Sue. Sue over the years had collected a lot of vintage china as a hobby and decided to put it to good use. After 18 months of doing outside events, Sue's daughter, Cheryl, was looking for a career change and mother and daughter became a dynamic team, not merely because they both have a huge passion for everything vintage and baking. After a business meeting between Mother and daughter, over tea and cake of course, Sugar Junction Tearooms was born. Within 6 weeks they had a premises and started the mammoth task of decorating, taking on staff, creating menus etc. The premises was signed for in October 2010 and Sugar Junction opened on the 28th of Feb 2011 - the magic began.
The closeness between mother and daughter is reflected in the genuine warmth from the superb staff, excellent food, and darling decor. The service is worth a mention; staff are chatty and always serve with a smile, but not intrusive like a counter-girl in a perfume department.
Now don't just take it from me, here's a snippet from my conversation with Cheryl on what keeps people coming back: "We like to think it is our service, food, cake and atmosphere and everything in-between. Customer service is our number 1 priority and a friendly chat is always on tap at Sugar Junction. We keep our food simple so we can deliver the best of what we do. As a small family run business we don't like to over complicate things and in regards to our menu, we like to keep the cakes in the lime light. We strive to have at least 15 options of cakes out daily with everyone one of them being baked by the owners Sue and Cheryl. Our tea is also very important with being a tearoom. We have over 25 teas on offer and they have been specifically blended for us, we have a lot of our own blends that our team have come up with putting different flavours, etc together included our Northern Quarter blend which has hops and caramel flavour, and 'nuts about tea' which is a must try for any Ameretto lovers out there."
Clever lady. And speaking of cake, their customers 'cannot get enough of' their white chocolate and toffee cheesecake. I've no idea why... their chocolate and Guinness cake is another favourite, and their apple crumble cake best served warm with a side of clotted cream.
With and cake taking centre stage you'd think Sugar Junction had little more to offer, but think again keen reader. Sugar Junction are continuously coming up with exciting events, such as their vintage cinema evenings. These have become so popular that tickets normally sell out within two hours!
As well as their specialised nights, the food supplied is pretty special too. They use locally sourced ham, and their bread is supplied locally from Robinsons (which is the oldest family run bakery in Manchester). Their eggs are free range and organic. The jam and chutneys are supplied from Christines Preserves (a local family run business). This jam is so fresh that when they receive it its still lovely and warm.