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The Big Deal: Maritime Dining Rooms

Occasional series on how to treat yourself without incurring a financial wobble. This time: Afternoon tea takes the biscuit

Published on February 24th 2010.


Fancy that: Just when the all the greeting card makers/florists/chocolatiers/hotels and restaurants in the land have finished counting the filthy flirty lucre they made on Valentine's Day, here comes Mother's Day to capture even more. There has to be a way of keeping those big Hallmark/Nestle money balls rolling before Easter when the kids' chocolate turn kicks in.

Oh we are a cynical lot. But away from modern commercialism, what's on offer in the way of a good old fashioned treat for your mum come the mother of all days? Breakfast in bed? Or what about afternoon tea?

We're not talking about really slummy, stop-out-all-night mummies for whom breakfast in bed and afternoon tea are interchangeable. No, we are talking about good manners and ladylike behaviour.

Where better than? The Maritime Dining Rooms entertained Liverpool Confidential with a full afternoon tea at the weekend. Ships, earl grey and a mountain of toothsome naughtiness - who could resist?

What's the deal? Like the ornate cake-stand that is brought to your table, there are three tiers. Light afternoon tea (sandwiches, scones and tea) @ £6 and £11 for two; afternoon tea (the same but with cakes) @ £7 and £12 for two; the full Monty (all that and add home made biscuits and patisseries), min two people @ £7.50 each.

Location Location: Sitting on the top floor of the Maritime Museum, this is a big barn of a room. To the south is the excellent prospect of the Jesse Hartley, Grade I -listed Albert Dock warehouses. Beware vertigo: choppy waters are a sheer drop below.

To the north lies the X-Box Museum of Liverpool. Next to that, Stealth Towers, aka the Neptune buildings, with their blackened out windows. Or as one wag recently remarked: “If those buildings could drive around Huyton, they would.”

Civil service? Very efficient and knowledgeable. Expect to feel special but not fawned over. It's Michelin recommended this year don't you know?

Who's in there? Young luvvie dovey student types on a date, tourists in the know and older people, although the MDR is keen to plug its menus for families and they do serve a lot of other stuff.

What you get? Pop art meets pot art. Take a loose leaf out of the tea menu which consists of Darjeeling, Earl Grey

and “scouse breakfast” (ahem) all served up in funky, brightly coloured vessels for a brew that it true. For those who prefer to sip a more delicate infusion, try green, Moroccan mint and jasmine dragon pearls.

Savoury: The aforementioned majestic cake-stand groans with treats all made from scratch right here. Finger sandwiches, on this occasion, were filled with meaty smoked salmon and lemon, Cheshire ham and mustard, and cucumber and Delamere goats' curd on thick slices of springy granary bread. Locally sourced, they might also tick the good-for-you boxes, but what follows does not.

Sweet: Crumbly scones with plum conserve and rich clotted cream, spicy tea bread, delicate lemon cake, fudge fondants, excellent shortbread and a chocolate brownie that was so intense that it made us all feel strangely dizzy. We assumed it was the cocoa hit, anyway, and that nothing else Moroccan had slipped in there.

Feeling fizzy? Try a quarter bottle of Prosecco Astoria Lounge for £6.95, or to hell with the rest of the day and take the bottle off them for £19.20.

What's in it for me? An impressive spread for your dosh, wine aside. If you do take your mum, bear in mind that she may be so enamoured with both the pleasant nature of the surroundings, the quality of the food and your thoughtfulness, that she'll sign over the family silver to you straight after. So hey, it's a win-win.

Verdict: Stuck in the Albert Dock? Skipped lunch? This is one of the best hidden alternatives, that we can think of, to the chain coffee shops and fast food outlets lurking in wait for the trippers' dollar below.

Where again? Maritime Dining Rooms, 4th Floor, Maritime Museum, Albert Dock, L3. 0151 478 4056. Open until 5pm, seven days.

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Latest Rants

Prof. Chucklebutty

This sounds like it will be a very popular event. Although personally, I would prefer my dinner…

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Knowlegeable

Please refer to the sentence up the top about one or two glaring omissions...

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Anonymous

Leaf, Leaf and more Leaf probably the best brekkie place in all liverpool, and second in my opinon…

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Tracy Ryan

I feel ill. The history of the building will be entirely lost.

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