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Review: Street Urchin – the Ancoats restaurant serving the ultimate Manchester dessert

Think Manchester tart, but in doughnut form, and you're halfway there - this is pure pleasure

English market diner Street Urchin opened in the summer of 2019, and despite launching with little fanfare it immediately became a hit with those in the know.

It’s a stylish but relaxed place with floor to ceiling windows, upcycled furniture and quirky design details.

But what really makes the Great Ancoats Street restaurant stand out from the crowd is the food.

Written on blackboards, the menus continuously change, depending on what fresh produce they get in each day.

If our visit was a typical day, expect to have to make some tough choices.

This is the kind of menu where every single dish description tries its utmost to tempt.

Split into smaller and large plates, you can use the small plates as tapas style dishes to share, or have a starter, main course and pudding if you prefer.

There’s always fresh fish on the menu as well as more unusual ingredients and game in season.

Starting with small plates, our rabbit filo cigars (£8) are crisp golden tubes filled with tender meat and dotted with pistachio, served with sharp pickled carrot, sumac and radicchio coleslaw, fresh and gloriously crimson.

Tea smoked chalk stream trout (£8.50) comes served on a homemade blini and topped with a crispy poached egg and velvety hollandaise.

It’s worth checking out the specials board, too, which on our visit includes marinated ox heart kebabs (£8.50), the two skewers served alongside a meltingly soft pulled brisket empanada and a dark, sweet caramelised onion and chocolate jam.

Other specials include langoustine, homemade chorizo and pickled apple bruschetta with chilli butter on our visit, or half a grilled native lobster with homemade gnocchi, preserved lemon and crispy seaweed.

The large plates are equally unusual and appealing, including whole witch sole (£16.50) served with salsify and pickled ginger butter, or veal osso bucco with veal sausage hash (£16.50).

Our Gloucester Old Spot pork T-bone (£16) has been glazed in cider and comes with warm new potato, red onion and baby gem salad and a sweet and spicy pineapple salsa.

Naturally raised calves liver (£15) is served in slices with a crisp coating, intensely savoury, with crunchy sautéed Jerusalem artichoke, kale and pinenuts and a sharp-sweet warm blackberry vinaigrette.

It’s an impressive menu, unashamedly bold, and shows confidence and creativity in the kitchen.

And when it comes to desserts, there’s a welcome playfulness.

‘Manchester moneybags’ (£6) are the signature dish; who can resist what might be the ultimate Manchester dessert?

They’re like little doughnuts, filled with creamy custard and deep-fried, dusted with coconut and served with a pot of warm sticky raspberry jam to dip.

Think Manchester tart, but in doughnut form, and you’re halfway there.

It’s pure pleasure, and we can’t stop smiling the whole time we’re eating them.

Other options include the likes of labneh cheesecake with honey, cardamon and cinnamon braised peach, or poached figs with vanilla and cinnamon syrup and halva ice cream.

They all sound grown-up, and thoroughly delicious.

But frankly we’re still thinking about those Manchester moneybags.

Street Urchin, 72 Great Ancoats Street, M4 5BG. Find out more here.

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