“This is bloody good, isn’t it.”
That’s what top food critic Jay Rayner had to say when he dined at Ancoats’ restaurant Erst last week in an experience he proclaimed as ‘one of the best meals of the year so far, a succession of modestly priced platefuls, which bring on low groans and delicate signs of happiness’.
Writing in his column for The Observer, Rayner began his critique of his Erst experience with Carlingford rock oysters dressed ‘with a precisely judged spoonful of mignonette’, something he described as ‘very bracing’.
He then declared the flatbread, which is spread with freshly chopped tomato pulp, to be ‘the best £5 I have spent in a very long time’.
Rayner tried a number of Erst’s most popular dishes, including meaty Cantabrian anchovies, ‘floating on their olive oil pond’, garlic herb buttered anchovies, slices of cured seabass, thinly sliced lamb’s hearts with lettuce, grilled green beans and a green chilli sauce, and the ‘George Clooney of garlic breads’ which he described as forcing him to type ‘utter blathering, enthusiastic b*llocks’.
But he reserved his optimum gushing for Erst’s famous fried potatoes: “Seriously, look at them: baked potatoes that have then been crushed with force until they are a mess of crevices and edges and folds.
“We break off one bit after another. Somewhere in the middle there might be soft potato. Mostly they are just the thrilling business end of crispness right to the heart.
“It is £5 worth of glorious, crowd-pleasing fun.”
And this isn’t the first time the restaurant has received critical acclaim among the experts: In January this year, Erst earned a place in the Michelin Guide 2021 for offering ‘something refreshingly different in the city’.
And last year, Marina O’Loughlin from The Sunday Times sang their praises, saying their food seems to come from people who ‘genuinely like to eat’. She also sampled the fried potatoes, noting how they were ‘fiendishly good’ shards of ‘golden, glistening crunch’, adding that these things have ‘done the hokey cokey with the hot oil’.
As you can see, the review – and all the rest of them – couldn’t be any more complimentary and will undoubtedly ensure Erst’s booking list is full for the foreseeable future.
A massive congratulations to the talented team over at Erst, we can’t wait to see what the future holds for them – you can stay up to date on book on their website here.
Read Jay Rayner’s full review here.
Gino D’Acampo’s Manchester restaurant to close permanently
The venues will be transformed into Italian restaurant Riva Blu
Five of Gino D’Acampo’s My Restaurants – including one here in Manchester – are set to close permanently this month, it has been announced today.
The Gino-branded sites, set for closure on January 27th, include Gino’s My Restaurant at the Corn Exchange in Manchester, Castle Street in Liverpool, Temple Row in Birmingham and Park Row in Leeds.
Instead, the celebrity chef’s restaurant chain will be rebranded to become the new Italian restaurant Riva Blu, with the existing teams said to be remaining in place.
The changes will not affect Gino’s My Pizza and Prosecco Bar brand, however, both of which will remain inside the Next store in the Manchester Arndale.
This comes after Gino announced the launch of his new venture Luciano by Gino D’Acampo, which will be taking over the site formerly known of Piccolino in Alderley Edge, Cheshire.
The chef told fans on Instagram that he ‘kicked out’ Piccolino, which is also all owned by the Manchester-based Individual Restaurants group that owns and operates Gino’s My Restaurant chain.
A spokesperson for Individual Restaurants said: “Gino D’Acampo’s restaurants and Luciano are both separate businesses from Individual Restaurants.
“Gino Worldwide Restaurants Limited has always had Sir Malcolm Walker and Tarsem Dhaliwal as shareholders where they have enjoyed a successful partnership with Gino for several years; however, the time has come for both parties to explore new ventures.
“2022 is a new year with a new vision. Individual Restaurants is proud to announce the launch of its new brand, Riva Blu, in Liverpool (Castle Street), Manchester (Corn Exchange), Birmingham, and Leeds.
“The new Riva Blu restaurants replace the Gino My Restaurants which formerly occupied those locations.”
An official opening date for the new Riva Blu is yet to be announced. Make sure to follow the Riva Blu Instagram page for news and updates.
Cadbury launches Dairy Milk chocolate choux pastry éclairs with a Cadbury Flake
Cadbury has done it again!
It isn’t unreasonable to argue that éclairs are perhaps the best sweet treat going in the dessert world.
The French pastries – or the pain à la Duchesse, if you want to get technical – have become massively popular on this end of the pond for their pastry cream fillings and delicious fondant toppings.
And now, just when you thought these tasty pastries couldn’t get any better, Cadbury has unveiled its very own range of éclairs, complete with Dairy Milk chocolate and fresh cream.
And before you try to say that Cadbury Eclairs have been around for years; these are a little different.
While Cadbury has indeed been selling their small toffee ‘eclairs’ for decades (the ones found in the bottom of a tub of Heroes), their latest invention are authentic choux pastry eclairs.
The tasty treats, which are already been spotted in supermarkets by a number of excited Instagrammers, are described as being, ‘Choux pastry eclairs filled with cream and topped with Dairy Milk chocolate topping decorated with a Cadbury’s Flake.’
Yep, they even come with a Flake.
You can now buy a two-pack of Cadbury Chocolate Eclairs for just £2 in all Asda stores now.
This comes just after the launch of Cadbury’s ‘half and half Creme Eggs’ competition, which sees 146 half milk and half white chocolate Creme Eggs hidden in various retailers across the country, each of which boast generous cash prizes.
But there’s a catch; each half and half Creme Egg are wrapped up in regular Creme Egg packaging, so hunting one down is going to be quite the challenge.
Each egg is worth a different sum of money, too; there are just six eggs worth £10,000, three eggs worth £5,000, four eggs carrying a £1,000 prize, twelve eggs worth £500 and the remainder carrying £50 prizes.
For more information and to read the full terms and conditions, head over to the Cadbury website.
Award-winning pie butty shop is moving to Manchester city centre
Wigan kebabs in the city centre?!
In 2022’s most exciting food news yet, Stockport’s award-winning pie butty and wigan kebab shop has announced its big move to Manchester’s city centre.
After transforming his existing Stockport site into a late night dive bar, the head-chef and owner of Ate Days A Week Andy James has confirmed that he will be bringing his pies to the city centre in a venue ‘close to Albert Square’.
Andy announced on Instagram: “This wasn’t an easy decision to make but the way the last year has panned out it just makes sense for us to move Ate Days A Week to a site that allows us to continue to push on with what we do, get bigger and better and fully flourish as a seriously good restaurant in a location that will also play a vital part to that.”
Details on the exact location are yet to be confirmed, though it is known that the new venue will be called Come Together and will see an expanded menu of pies, sandwiches, fish and chips, bangers and mash, and even Sunday roasts on the weekend.
The restaurant will be quite intimate with just thirty-six covers, and will also include a Pie & Pastry Counter for those looking for a quick lunch on the go.
And did we mention their legendary Wigan kebabs?
For those of you with innocent eyes, ears and stomachs; a Wigan kebab is basically a pie slapped in between a barm, and Ate Days A Week have been making God-tier ones, complete with minted peas and gravy.
And, of course, we can also expect to see some old favourites from the Ate Days A Week menu too, such as the Bartender & The Beef sandwich; slow-cooked ale beef, red wine sautéed onions and Welsh rarebit all served within a rosemary focaccia alongside a pot of red wine gravy for dipping.
This won’t be Andy’s first time in the city centre following a successful stint in Hatch, so we can expect some seriously good stuff from his next venture.
Make sure to follow Ate Days A Week on Instagram to stay posted with any news and updates for the launch of Come Together.