The Good Food Guide has revealed its list of must-try new restaurants, and two local spots have soared above the rest to make it into the esteemed list.
The guide has recently released its Platinum List for the best newcomers – all of whom opened pre- or mid-pandemic – and there are two brilliant local eateries featured.
Erst in Ancoats and Hyssop in Glossop both appeared on this year’s Platinum List, alongside 16 other restaurants from up and down the UK.
Only three restaurants in the northwest appear in all, the third being Henrock, Linthwaite House in Cumbria.
“All have been chosen for their remarkable resilience, thriving in the face of the shifting realities of dining out during the pandemic,” says the Guide.
“They are all are notable newcomers and were earmarked for entry in The Good Food Guide 2021-2022.”
It’s not the first impressive accolade Erst has earned this year, either. The restaurant’s focus on natural wine and seasonal small plates also caught the attention of judges for the National Restaurant Awards, leading it to make number 47 in this year’s prestigious list of the top 100 restaurants.
It also featured in the 2021 Michelin Guide, with inspectors saying it offered “something refreshingly different in the city.”
Hyssop, meanwhile, operates slightly more under the radar – or at least, it did before making it into the Good Food Guide. Initially launched as a pop-up in and around Manchester by owners Paul and Jess Sykes, it’s now based at The Bulls Head pub in Old Glossop.
Before opening Hyssop, chef Paul Sykes trained under the likes of Gordon Ramsay, Michael Caines and Simon Rogan and is now serving up some serious grub – also in the form of small plates, split into sections like ‘Sea’, ‘Land’ and ‘Earth’.
DIsh-wise, think Onglet steak with herb butter; beetroot cured salmon, walnut and granny smith; lemon sole with brown shrimp, buttermilk and chive; plus puddings, steak nights, and plenty more besides.
First published in 1951, the guide is considered one of the most trustworthy publications when it comes to eating-out guides in the UK.
A Which? guide that was purchased by Waitrose in 2013, the Guide ceased publication during the pandemic – but has now been given a new lease of life, after being bought by hospitality community CODE.
It keeps as its editor Elizabeth Carter, who has worked with the Guide since the 1980s and held the position of editor since 2007.
“Every one of the restaurants on this list is a shining example of the resilience and sheer talent to be found in the UK,” said Carter.
“It may have been a tough 18 months for the hospitality industry but these restaurants were undaunted.
“They continued to do the two things we ask of a good restaurant – serve fabulous food, that stayed in the mind during multiple closures, and offer great hospitality.”
Feature image – Erst / Hyssop
Romantic restaurants in Manchester that are perfect for Valentine’s Day 2023
With Valentine’s Day in Manchester fast approaching, the city’s restaurants and bars are gearing up to welcome couples wanting to celebrate the day.
With so many great restaurants in Manchester, if you’re looking to take your other half out to eat you are quite literally spoilt for choice.
For those lost in a sea of menus and wondering where to book, we thought we’d help make things a little bit easier by recommending some of our favourite romantic restaurants and a few other popular date night spots to help get you started.
Keep reading to discover our top picks for where to take your date in Manchester this Valentine’s Day.
Not many London brands successfully make the move up to Manchester, but one that has done it with aplomb is high-end steakhouse Hawksmoor.
It’s pricey but worth it, with a stunning wood-paneled cocktail bar (and bar menu) available next to the restaurant to help you get your date off to a flying start.
As a steakhouse, it’s not particularly great for vegetarians or vegans – although there are some nice fish dishes to be found on the menu. The meat here is chargrilled in the josper, whilst sides typically come laden with rich cheese, nutmeg and cream.
The aforementioned cocktail list is excellent, as is the wine list. One of the owner’s mums is actually a wine critic for The Guardian and her at-home cooking style, taking simple dishes and executing them very well, was one of the inspirations for the Hawksmoor menu today.
One of the best restaurants in Manchester by a long shot, it is run by a married couple – with Polish-born Kasia Hitchcock positioned out front and her chef-partner Franco Concli working away making dumplings in the back.
Spatzle (pictured above) is the house specialty, said to mirror sparrows in flight – hence the restaurant’s name. It’s best eaten with a simple sauce of butter and sage, but there are numerous sauce options – plus countless European dumplings, a fine sake selection and an organic wine list.
The hushed, sleek interiors, meanwhile, will have you convinced you’re somewhere in New York – not on the back streets of the Green Quarter – as well as fostering a sense of intimacy between you and your dining partner.
A visit to The Oystercatcher requires a trip out to Chorlton, but it’s well worth it to taste some of the best fish on offer in the city – often chargrilled in the josper oven for added flavour.
Getting a good seafood menu together is challenging in a city as landlocked as Manchester, and the lists change weekly at the restaurant in reflection of this.
Oysters dressed with shallot mignonette tend to be a mainstay, whilst a sample menu lists the likes of black sea bream, scallops, monkfish, seabass, sea trout, mussels and crab.
Sides are ordered separately, with choices like fennel gratin, chargrilled broccoli, hispi cabbage, triple cooked chips and more.
The Perfect Match
A charming little 26-cover bistro in the south Manchester neighbourhood of Sale, it’s not just the name that makes this spot a perfect choice for a romantic date.
Serving up some critically acclaimed British and European food with a beautiful hand-picked selection of wines, find rich and comforting dishes like lamb ragu gnocchi, baked bone marrow with truffle, and 32-day dry-aged red Hereford beef on its regularly-changing a la carte menu.
As for pudding? Tuck into the likes of popcorn and white chocolate posset with salted caramel, or enjoy a peanut butter pie with candied peanuts and a warming glass of Pedro Ximinez.
10 Tib Lane
With sultry low lighting, quality cocktails, £1 oysters and plenty of tucked-away seating spread over three floors, 10 Tib Lane could’ve been made for date night.
Serving a tantalising small plates menu alongside some beautiful low-intervention wines, its Cumbrae oysters with mignonette are a must-order to get your night going.
Followed up with the likes of steak tartare, lamb sweetbreads, duck in port sauce, bone marrow and pommes anna, and charred hispi cabbage in shallot sauce, foodies should be in absolute heaven.
Another award-winning, Michelin-recommended eatery, this time from the team behind the Levenshulme (and now also Ancoats) bakeries, Trove.
Open Tuesday to Saturday, with its concrete floors and relatively sparse settings, it’s the food here more than the decor that makes Erst so romantic.
A love of fermentation and pickling has clearly passed from one sibling’s kitchen into another. Plates here are ordered to share, with a list of 10 to choose from.
Each designed simply to showcase the natural flavours of the produce, order as many as you can muster then tuck in with a good bottle of natural wine on the side.
Home to some of the best pasta in Greater Manchester, you do have to schlep all the way out to Denton for it – but if incredible Italian food is part of your partner’s love language then trust us, it’ll be worth it.
By day, Ornella’s is very much a tiny deli cafe with room for just 12 diners at once. By night, the combination of the small space, low lighting and mouthwatering dishes make it a pasta lover’s paradise.
Dish-wise, think plump lobster ravioli, butter-drenched crispy sage and hazelnut spinach ricotta ravioli, and carbonara bucatini liberally doused in pepper and egg yolk, with crisp flecks of guanciale on top – all freshly made on-site by hand that day.
Opened by the team behind the Michelin-recommended Corvena in Chester just before Christmas, it boasts a stunning wine list (the name nods to the importance of weather in creating incredible wines) as well as some reportedly ‘genius’ dishes on its menu.
Serving a mixture of small and large plates, it also has one of the best panoramic views of the city skyline – looking down across Manchester from its perch on Blackfriars.
It feels like this Spinningfields rooftop restaurant needs no introduction at this point, but we’re going to do it anyway.
A glamourous restaurant and bar with a huge, heated outdoor terrace, it sits right at the top of the No.1 Spinningfields building overlooking the swanky glass towers of the business district from its position on high.
Long favoured for date night thanks to its breathtaking views of the skyline, its menu is not to be sniffed at either with a selection of delicious modern British dishes on offer.
Part of Gary Usher’s Elite Bistros group, this charming neighbourhood eatery in Didsbury Village is a wonderful spot for a romantic date.
The custard tart here is legendary, with an unctuous wobble that defies you to dare leave without ordering a slice.
Known for taking bistro classics and executing them to an exceptionally high standard, at Hispi you can expect a relaxed dining experience erring on the casual side.
Another laid-back eatery with a casual setting, Evelyn’s offers a mixed menu of small plates that can be ordered to share or larger ones to enjoy alone.
A popular cafe by day, at night it comes alive in a whole new way – lit up romantically with plants trailing down from hangers above your head.
Evelyn’s also boasts a ‘secret’ bar below, The Daisy, where you can sneak off with your date afterward to enjoy a few cocktails (or wines) in a romantic setting.
El Gato Negro
This AA Rosette and Michelin-recommended restaurant on King Street is a fail-safe date option in our (humble) opinion.
Serving up a mix of tapas dishes split into sections like fish and shellfish, meat, charcuterie, vegetables and para picar, tuck into the likes of Catalan bread, Padron peppers, salt cod croquettas and Morcilla scotch eggs.
Alongside a great wine and cocktail list, El Gato is also known for its sherry and vermouth selection – and both make a great complement to this style of dining.
For an ultra-romantic twist, if you love the idea of having a bit of theatre whilst you eat you can opt to sit at the chef’s table which faces directly into the kitchen.
If you ask us, romance doesn’t have to be all white tablecloths and rose petals – sometimes it’s more fun to get stuck in and share a curry with your loved one.
Since it opened in Manchester with queues out the door, Dishoom has remained one of the city’s most popular curry houses whilst maintaining an elusive, sultry feel – thanks, in part, to its setting within the city’s stunning former Masonic Hall.
Nestle up in one of its many beautiful corners on Valentine’s Day, with walk-ins always welcome.
A pub in Manchester is going above and beyond for its locals, giving back to its community by serving up pay-as-you-feel roast dinners every month.
Specifically designed to be a safe space for the community, The Old Abbey Taphouse in Hulme brings together chefs in its community to cook up delicious meals from scratch on the last Sunday of the month.
Neighbours are invited to come, eat and pay only what they can afford in return (be that a little or a lot), with giant Sunday roasts served from 7pm until the kitchen runs out.
Past community feasts have included a choice of honey mustard silverside beef top joint, chicken supreme, cauliflower cheese pie, or homemade vegan sausage roll.
Trimmings, meanwhile, span the likes of beef dripping potatoes, tenderstem broccoli, honey roast rainbow carrots, boiled cabbage, giant fluffy Yorkshire puddings, and apricot and walnut stuffing.
All of Old Abbey Taphouse’s meals are made from scratch with love by community catering company Heart & Soul, which is comprised of chefs in the local community all wanting to give something back.
Its community cooking first began at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic with what was called ‘Taphouse TV dinners’.