Industrial-chic Erst is a restaurant and bar from the people behind Trove bakery, whose original site is in Levenshulme with a recent opening nearby in Ancoats.
Erst’s focus is on simple seasonal food, natural wines and craft beers. The decor is stripped back and simple – concrete floors, abstract artworks on the walls and a stainless steel-topped bar with an open kitchen. The concise, confident menu of snacks, small plates and sharing dishes focuses heavily on the grill, while the wine list features vintages from small producers using organic and often biodynamic processes.
Leavened flatbread is made in-house with an addictive char and served with whipped lardo to deliver, crisp, light, chewy and salty mouthfuls. Soft, oozy ricotta dumplings are dressed with Swiss chard, whey and nutty Parmesan and drenched in wild garlic butter.
A larger plate of buttery-soft picanha steak, charred outside and juicy pink within, is full of robust beefy flavours and comes with bitter red chicory leaves dressed with pungent anchovy. Lamb’s heart, flash seared and served in tender slices, comes with earthy beetroot, creamy labneh and mint.
Fish dishes are just as diverting. Anchovies come dressed simply with a woodsy, aromatic Middle Eastern za’atar spice blend and fragrant bergamot. Salt cod is light and healthy-tasting with segments of sharp blood orange, salty olives and capers and oregano.
This bold new addition to the burgeoning Ancoats scene deserves to thrive.
Photo credit: Jordan Michael