Freshly opened in Ancoats, Elnecot is a new bar & kitchen that can be found on Blossom Street. Situated alongside extensive construction work and on a low-lit street, this hidden spot is difficult to find.
The modern venue greeted us with welcoming bartenders, contemporary artwork, and a buzzing atmosphere. It’s very ‘industrial chic’, with neon lights and orange upholstery contrasted with muted greys.
Resisting the restaurant traditions, long benches lend themselves to the communal dining experience that the menu simultaneously encourages through providing a range of sharing dishes. The communal feel extends to the open plan kitchen. We were placed at the bar and discussed all things food with the friendly chefs.
Whilst Elnecot refuses to be pigeon-holed as either ‘bar’ or ‘restaurant’, the kitchen offering excels even the best of Manchester’s restaurants. Chef Michael Clay delves into Ancoats’ rough and ready heritage to inspire his food, where cuisines from all over the world are made-Manchester by adding locally sourced produce and taste.
Elnecot recommends 2-3 dishes each, but 5 dishes were plenty between two hungry students. After a discussion with the host as well as a few interjections from the chef’s cooking in their open kitchen right at our bar stools, we ordered:
Pearl barley arancini
British buffalo burrata with pea puree and savoury tuile
Carrots with pine nuts, goat’s cheese curd and coriander shoots
Thyme and sea salt fries
And a special: Plaice fishcakes
As you can tell, Elnecot’s industrial influence stops at décor and influence. The dishes are meticulous and potentially award-winning. The attention to detail makes it hard to dive in and ruin it all, but of course this doesn’t stop us. In typical small-plate style, the dishes arrive as they’re ready. The reluctance to create ‘traditional’ meals is part of Elnecot’s charm; they see nothing wrong with starting your meal with ox cheek and finishing with Bombay mix.
Despite the duteous amount of effort that clearly goes into creating these dishes, Elnecot refuses to hike their prices. It really is luxury food at an affordable cost; five dishes and two large glasses of local red wine cost just £37.
Elnecot is early to the game in establishing itself in the up-and-coming district of Ancoats. But, if the entire district can master Elnecot’s relaxed, ‘come as you are’ feel – a true reflection of Manchester’s style – then Ancoats will be wildly popular, an great extension to the city’s vibrant culinary scene.