If you’ve yet to visit Erst in Ancoats then I advise it be next on your list. It’s the kind of place you can go and have a serious sit down meal, but then also go another time for a casual few cocktails, a quick nibble and a catch up with that mate that you’ve not seen for 2 years because he got engaged. Basically the epitome of a classic neighbourhood spot.
Championing the whole concept of seasonal, local and sustainable produce, the menu changes and adapts as the weeks and months go on. No two trips will ever be the same at Erst.
This week we popped in to check out their current dishes, I’d probably suggest you go there sooner rather than later if these beauties catch your eye…
Salt Cod, blistered tomato, capers and oregano oil (£8)
We started with this light, fresh and exceptionally simple Salt Cod dish, which manages to be much more than the sum of its parts. Great for these warm, stuffy days – the salty cod is perfect alongside the fresh tangy tomatoes – with the sharp twang of the capers adding a whole new dimension to every bite.
I don’t know where Erst get their tomatoes from but I want some more. Now.
Charred Hispi, yeast sauce and sourdough breadcrumbs (vegan) (£6.50)
Not the most exotic of the vegetables, the humble cabbage can be used in a blisteringly vast array of ways – most of them still not that sexy. Boil them, mash them, stick them in a stew – it usually evokes a sense of war rationing than fine dining but Erst have managed to pull off the seemingly impossible.
By charring it, adding breadcrumbs and drizzling the whole thing in a phenomenal yeast sauce (which is a MUST TRY) – this dish is the most impressive cabbage iteration you’re likely to ever have.
Crispy Potatoes with Tartar Sauce (£4)
A bit of a cheeky little indulgence now – especially considering I’m supposed to be off the carbs to keep my beach body trim for the Summer, but to be fair, I regret nothing.
Perfectly crisp on the outside and fluffy in the middle, these potatoes are fantastic and would be well suited alongside a couple of bottles of wine and a bloody good natter – tapas style.
Squid, ink, borlotti beans and green chilli oil
We decided to treat ourselves a special that Erst were offering – a delectable dish of squid on a bed of borlotti beans that not only manages to look striking – it followed it all up with the taste.
I personally find squid a little difficult to stomach at times, it’s such a difficult thing to get right that I’m always on edge when it comes to trying it. Well this charred offering from the team at Erst was expertly cooked and incredibly moorish to boot.
Alongside the squid we tucked into a couple of glasses of the PN18 (pictured) a natural rose from Tillingham Wines down in Sussex. It was THE BEST – especially when paired with the squid.
After the wine I had a little twinge in my throat for some more booze. I couldn’t decide what to have so the lovely fella behind the bar offered to serve up a classic – the Vodka Martini.
Even though I’m as far removed from James Bond as any man could be – I accepted and never looked back. I’ve always been a fan of this most simple of drinks – and after having this one at Erst, it’s gone even higher up in my estimation.
The vodka used is English – made by Chapel Down using Chardonnay grapes apparently. This created a super-smooth finish which went perfectly alongside the dry vermouth. Excellent.
Erst, 9 Murray St, Manchester M4 5BN