THE treadmill of reviewing in a frenetic food and drink scene means that we rarely get to revisit an immediate favourite. OK, you’re not feeling sorry for us at all, but you get the drift.
One recent exception has been Elnecot in Ancoats, which styles itself as a neighbourhood bar and kitchen, rather than as a destination restaurant. Which is to underplay the culinary prowess of chef/co-owner Michael Clay, which earned the place five stars in our original review of the a la carte.
We’ve been back since a few times, usually to enjoy the weekend brunch (11am-3pm). On Sundays after that 3pm watershed Elnecot is now offering roasts, so we couldn’t resist and guess what – five stars again.
When we arrived the brunch stragglers were still about, savouring the bottomless cocktail offer (two hours for £20) or still tackling vegan temptations such as chia seed pudding (£4.50, above), with fruit and nuts joining the roasted seeds in a coconut milk mash or smashed broccoli (£6.50), a chunky hummus of the healthy green stuff in a combo with pickled carrot, charred beetroot and hazelnuts.
Resisting the lure of a Bloody Mary to get in the Sunday swing, we ordered from the roast menu, four choices on offer: aged rib of beef, crispy pork belly, lemon and thyme butter-roasted chicken and vegan nut roast. Each costs £13.50, a decent price when you consider the cavalcade of accompaniments – roast potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, pork and apricot stuffing, herb-roasted carrots and parsnips, sexy greens, squash puree, cauliflower cheese and a rich meat or vegan gravy.
Elnecot have struck gold with their new meat supplier, Yorkshire Dales Meat Co, on the evidence of the beef and pork, the former beautifully pink with depth of flavour, though I couldn’t resist horseradish overload, the latter even better, sporting proper crackling over layers of melting flesh.
The veg, much of it roasted, had real intensity. Extra cauliflower cheese was wolfed. Maybe the Yorkshire puddings were more perfunctory, but then I’m not a fan unless they are smothered in gravy (these roasts were daintier jus-tinted affairs).
With them we each drank a large glass of 16 Ridges Pinot Noir from Herefordshire (£13), lots of fruit but earthier than I recall. Still good to see a place paying more than lip service to English wine. A smaller aperitif (£8) of organic white, Limney Horsmonden Davenport 2015, all Sussex hedgerows in a glass.
We persuaded the other folk on our table to join us in exemplary chocolate fondants at a fiver ago as we tuned into the buzz of a place now really living up to that neighbourhood kitchen/bar tag.
Elnecot, 41 Blossom Street, Cutting Room Square, Manchester, M4 6AJ. 07496 152373. Roasts served from 3pm until they run out.