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SUNDAY SURPRISE; ANCOATS HAS A NEW ENTRY INTO THE LIST OF BEST ROASTS IN THE CITY CENTRE.

Byline: DAISY JACKSON

ELNECOT opened its doors on Cutting Room Square in 2017 and less than 18 months down the line it's already cemented itself as a popular neighbourhood haunt for Ancoats residents.

A long concrete bar runs the length of the room - there's neon, there's a flower wall, there are wooden benches and bold orange leather bar stools. It's a decor that's been repeated a dozen times over in this part of town but it really does work, especially with the buzzy, easy atmosphere inside on a Sunday afternoon.

There are plenty of poodle-type dogs flopped around on the floor, good sturdy high chairs for children and a few big groups celebrating.

We booked in advance for a Sunday roast, which was lucky. The place is packed every weekend - and by the time we left, we could see why.

What's cooking? There are three meaty Sunday roasts to choose from at Elnecot, each priced at PS14 and a PS12 nut roast than can be made either vegan or vegetarian.

A portion of aged rib of beef comes as two thick slices both blushing perfectly under their coating of rich meat gravy. The meat carves apart with no struggle at all - however the chef cooked this, they're doing it right.

Lemon and thyme butter-roasted chicken and a crispy pork belly are the other options for your meat.

The nut roast is the best we've found so far in Greater Manchester.

It's a huge moist mountain of a thing, happily soaking up all the gravy sloshed over the top and still maintaining structural integrity.

Show me the trimmings All roasts are served with roast potatoes, Yorkshire puddings, pork and apricot stuffing (or a vegetarian alternative), herb-roasted carrots and parsnips, 'sexy' greens (these are the people who have 'disco cabbage' on the menu, don't forget - though 'sexy greens' turns out a bit underwhelmingly to be broccoli), squash puree, cauliflower cheese and gravy. It's a generous number of trimmings and they don't skimp on portions either.

The roast potatoes have both crisp and fluff, bursting open with a prod of a fork.

Individual portions of cauliflower cheese arrive bubbling in enamelware, while Yorkshire puddings surf on top of the plates like fat brown clouds.

On the way to the toilets, we spy our Everest, a Yorkshire pudding mountain being contained by all manner of kitchen equipment - there are colanders, trays and mixing bowls piled with the things.

It's really, really hard to find fault here when the cooking is as good as a mother's Sunday roast, but the veggie stuffing ball is the only flaw. It's a kind of curried, dense ball that's at once too similar to the nut roast and yet jars with everything else on the plate. A minor problem, though - and still polished off.

Should I save room for dessert? If you can. The main portions are so large that our group were all defeated before pudding time, which is a crying shame.

There's a chocolate fondant with homemade Earl Grey ice cream, a vegan plum cake with tarragon and maple roasted plum, bread and butter pudding with berry sauce and a classic Manchester tart, all priced at PS5. For those lacking a sweet tooth, a selection of local cheeses will set you back PS7.

Can I get a decent pint? Yep - and more. The beer taps change in here regularly enough - on our visit, there were local pours from Brightside (the Maverick IPA at PS5.30), Alphabet Brewery (Charlie Don't Surf, PS5.50), and Shindigger (lager, PS5.50), as well as cheaper pints from Amstel and Appleshed Cider.

Being a neighbourhood bar, cocktails are the big strength at Elnecot.

Their signature drinks include the Industrial Revolution (gin, cointreau, salted chai tea syrup, orange bitters and a port float) and Ancoats Revival (gin, Mr Black cold press coffee liqueur, cacao-infused Campari and vanilla gomme).

They're PS8.50 each, with classics costing PS8.25.

Local gins are well-represented too, with Three Rivers, Zymurgorium and Faith and Sons all on the menu and there's a concise but competently-selected wine list to prop it all up.

Are you being served? It's full table service at Elnecot and damn efficient service at that. One spice fiend in our group (as in Tabasco, not that kind of spice) sends her Bloody Mary back twice for extra heat and the waitress happily obliges. If anything, she seems impressed.

The verdict This is a surprise entry into the best Sunday roasts in the city centre. Elnecot's well-regarded for a few drinks, a couple of sharing nibbles and possibly a boozy brunch, but it's come as a welcome surprise to discover that they're as good with a big plate as they are with the small ones.

? 41 Blossom Street, Cutting Room Square, Ancoats, M4 6AJ /elnecot.com /07412 574324
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Manchester Evening News (Manchester, United Kingdom)
Date:Mar 10, 2019
Words:802
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