The new chip butty from Edinburgh Castle has been causing a storm on social media. Well, they call it a ‘chip butty’, but it’s a chip butty like an Aston Martin is a car or like Messi is a footballer. It’s not that it’s posh or overly expensive, it’s simply the best of its type.

The regular version involves triple cooked chips loaded into a brioche bun from Pollen Bakery, topped with a made-from-scratch mayonnaise enriched with beef fat. That’ll set you back £6, or there’s a fancier version topped with beef tartare and a Burford Brown yolk at £12.

Edinburgh Castle feels like a cosy welcoming pub with wooden ceiling beams, dark green walls, antique décor, flickering candles and intimate nooks. But it has had time to settle into itself. A pub has stood on that corner in Ancoats since 1811. After some rough times, it was given a sensitive makeover and reopened its doors in 2019. The external signage with gold leaf serves as a beacon for locals looking for exceptional food, great beers, a generous whiskey selection and an enviable wine list.

After a short kitchen-interlude, Edinburgh Castle has reopened its upstairs Dining Room with a sensational menu from new group executive chef, Shaun Moffat. The native South African comes via notable culinary destinations such as London’s Manteca, which was recently awarded a Bib Gourmand and came in at number 11 in the National Restaurant Awards ‘Top 100’.

Moffat celebrates the English seasons and utilises a ‘nose to tail’ eating ethos with a strong focus on getting the best out of seasonal vegetables. He is working with regenerative suppliers with pickles and ferments to create simple but exciting dishes.

He has also brought back the Sunday Roast (available from 12pm – 6pm), with two courses for £30 or three for £35. From the veggie ‘Butter Roasted Cinderwood Celeriac’ to traditional ‘Roasted Fore Rib of Beef’ and ‘Swaledale Leg of Lamb’, all mains are served with a giant Yorkshire pudding, crispy roast potatoes, January king cabbage and tropea onion. Click HERE to see the full Sunday Menu which changes weekly depending on the best available local ingredients.

We were invited over to try the mid-week menu in the upstairs Dining Room which is open on Weds and Thurs 5pm – 9pm, and for lunch and dinner on Fridays and Sat 12pm–3pm/ 5pm–9pm. We blamed the trains for making us early but get there before your booking just to sit at the ground floor bar, drinking and people watching. It really is a lovely, cosy pub.

The Dining Room is elegantly understated with polished wooden floors, black walls and tan leather seats providing a trendy but neural background to make sure the food takes centre stage.

Being a pub, they do snacks very well. Cinderwood Market Garden Fried Vegetables with seaweed mayonnaise for dipping and Puffed Pig Skin with a Smoked Cod’s Roe for scooping were both crispy and moreish. They were also impossible to photograph. Trust me, even Annie Leibovitz, her assistants and all her top of the range kit would struggle. But if you just fancy something picky over a decent drink and some better gossip, these will do.

But so would all the small plates, which are so good you feel like booking in again to make sure they each get the attention they deserve. (I don’t quite know what you are ‘Egg, Cress & Chicken Fat Trencher’ but I’m coming back for you…)

This time, we narrowed it down to cured Chalk Stream Trout and Chicory (£8) and Beetroot with Curds and Pickled Walnuts (£7) both simply and beautifully presented in the kind of unfussy way God had intended them to be served. The EC prides itself on its wine list, but if, like us you prefer to order by the glass to work with such a range of different flavours, we recommend a glass of Fitz English sparkling wine from Sussex to start (£8.50).

Although committed carnivores, we decided to swerve the tempting Tamworth Pork Chop (£25) and the sharing pie of Harewood House Estate venison, celeriac and pickled walnut (£35) in favour of testing Shaun’s ‘strong focus on vegetables’, so we ordered New Fields Cabbage and Pollybell vegetable plate (£12.) The lightly charred cabbage was King, resplendent in all its natural glory, anointed with fried capers and various herby oils.

It made a strong partner for our delicate slip sole, served on the bone with a sauce of smoked butter, ribbons of seaweed and bejewelled with glistening balls of salmon pink roe (£18.) In a city where fish restaurants have struggled to get a solid footing, it’s a joy to find a place that cooks it so well.

Dessert this time included bay leaf custard (£6) under a crackle of caramel – fresh bay leaves are underrated and are good for so much more than chucking into a bolognaise. Edmund Tew cheese paired with ‘waste veg chutney’ and barley crackers (£9) is so timeless it made me feel like ordering a glass of Port and expecting the bill to come in shillings and pence.

That’s the thing about The Edinburgh Castle, the current operators have managed keep the traditions of this historic pub alive but in an unforced and natural way. Visiting a decent pub with clackety floors, flickering candlelight, a well-stocked bar and a bloody decent menu which utilises the best available seasonal ingredients has never gone out of fashion. Considering how much Ancoats has changed recently, we’re lucky to have a place like it.

The Edinburgh Castle, Blossom St, Manchester M4 5AN. Book via: 0161 414 0004

Follow @ec_ancoats on Instagram


Like this? Also read: Pies, Puddings and pints – The Black Friar has introduced a new menu for Autumn and Winter


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