I had no real intention of visiting Erst. Not because I thought it wouldn't be good but really because I had kind of given up blogging and I'm also trying to economise. So we don't really get out much these days, which I'll also put down to pure laziness. There are fewer things I like doing more on these cold wintry nights than staying in by the fire, stuffing my face and watching Netflix. More often than not, pushing the boat out can lead to huge a disappointment
and an empty wallet.
Besides, we've been to some top small plate restaurants in London of this ilk, and in the case of say St. Leonards
, we were not blown away.
So as we were invited down to Erst, we thought we'd give it a go and we were pleasantly surprised. Surprised at how accomplished the food was. We actually preferred Erst to the much rated St Leonards and even enjoyed it more than their high end neighbour.
The small plates 'modern European' menu is well designed and refreshingly small. They've honed it down, kept it simple and everything we ate as far as we're concerned actually works well. The interior is clean and modern but like many places in Ancoats, a little chilly inside in these winter months. I'm sure it warms up later on in the service. We liked the first white wine we tried, (rare for us) a 2018 Eschenhof Holzer, Gruner Veltliner Wagram from Austria. It worked perfectly with the food.
Carlingford Oyster with Apple and ginger mignonette. I mentioned at the time I'd prefer my oysters naked as for me this accompaniment is overpowering but this is really down to personal preference. The produce, lovely plump oysters are excellent.
Pickles & Ferments.
Flatbread with Whipped Lardo. I bloody loved this. You can just inject this lardo into my veins and the flat bread was perfect as you might expect from Trove bakery.
Salt Cod, Tomato, Capers and Oregano. Beautifully fresh and clean dish. The tomatoes are reminiscent of the flavoursome fragrant ones you eat abroad. A favourite. Followed by Mussels dashi and pork fat oil. This has a wonderfully rich broth.
Pork Collar, plum and rosemary.
Partridge, ajo blanco & grapes. As Mrs B said at the time, 'this is how we prefer our game, roasted and not raw'.
Finally dessert, a lovely rich Wintry Baked Apple, pecan and vanilla ice cream.
The moral of this story is never try and judge a restaurant you've not visited yourself yet. Erst is an absolute delight and good value. You could come here at least twice instead of higher end options. I'd prefer to visit here myself, the staff are lovely, it's unpretentious and everything actually works well. Highly recommended.