Arriving quietly in 2019 from the team responsible for its nearby neighbour, Trove – a bakery born in Levenshulme, leading Manchester’s indie sourdough revolution – Erst made its mark with a unique take on small plates. Its initial menus included ox heart and cured salt cod before these ingredients became commonplace in Manchester’s food scene. Fast forward a few years, and Erst remains true to its roots while the rest of the city has aligned itself alongside. Critics from across the UK have since flocked to heap praises upon it.
So, what’s the charm of Erst that draws everyone in? The menu mirrors the minimalist decor and the low intervention used in the production of the wines on the list. Star ingredients take centre stage on the plate with minimal fuss. Oysters, mussels, steak tartare – dishes undergo subtle seasonal adjustments rather than major menu overhauls. Visit every few months, and you’ll discover new offerings, while your old favourites might have received a fresh twist. Typically, you’ll find a couple of seafood dishes alongside a meaty option, currently it’s hogget leg. Pannacotta often makes an appearance on the dessert menu, usually with a flourish of seasonal fruit or herb. However, we suspect the biggest attraction is the simplest of all, a perfectly puffed and blackened flatbread, lavished with either melting lardo or aromatic olive oil. It’s the simple pleasures that truly shine.