Ezra & Gil

The Ezra & Gil motto "Coffee & Provisions" from one of the signs outside.Ezra & Gil’s one of the many Manchester Coffee Spots that popped up in 2015. In Ezra & Gil’s case, it’s in good company, sitting on the corner of Hilton and Newton Streets, almost equidistant between TAKK and Foundation (which I still haven’t visited with my Coffee Spot hat on). The likes of Fig + Sparrow and North Tea Power are also nearby. You could do a coffee-crawl taking in all five, while walking less than ½ km!

I discovered Ezra & Gil, which opened in late July, primarily through social media, where I was tempted by picture after picture of some lovely-looking food. Unsurprisingly, Ezra & Gil is as much about the food as it is about the coffee, as well as selling a range of groceries on the side. In this respect, it reminded me of Bridport’s Soulshine Café. Ezra, by the way, is Hebrew for “helper”, while Gil means “happiness”.

The food, with an impressive all-day breakfast range and lots of other goodies, is cooked on-site in a large kitchen behind the counter, while the coffee is from local roasters Heart & Graft. The famous Barnraiser blend’s on espresso, with a single-origin on V60 for filter fans.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • A view of the Hilton Street side of Ezra & Gil, which is on the corner with Newton Street.
  • With lots of tall, narrow windows, I can indulge my lighting obession from the outside...
  • ... which is kind of cool :-)
  • Not quite an A-board, this little sign is by the steps on Hilton Street...
  • ... while its Newton Street equivalent hangs on the wall, where Ezra & Gil has another door.
  • Newton Street also gets a bigger sign on the pavement.
  • However, even though the Newton Street entrance looks like the front door, I went in here.
  • A panorama from the Hilton Street entrance, looking towards Newton Street. Big, isn't it?
  • The corresponding panorama from the Newton Street entrance.
  • For good measure, another panorama, this time from the corner of Newton/Hilton Streets.
  • This, by the way, is the door from Newton Street, which I think of as the front door.
  • Going back to Hilton Street, there's an airlock-type entrance, seen here from the inside.
  • Right next to the door is this lovely, little nook. Very cosy.
  • Another look at the nook, which is to the right of the door as you come in.
  • The seating's an interesting mix. Near the door, there are round tables like this one...
  • ... and like these ones (I wonder if the ladies from Allpress have spotted themselves yet?).
  • There's also a very long 20-seater, communal table.
  • Another view of the table, which effectively splits Ezra & Gil into two.
  • If you don't like round tables or long tables, you're in luck. There's these tables as well.
  • They run along the Hilton Street side.
  • I was particularly taken by this octagonal table, making good use of the supporting pillar.
  • There's also another, smaller, communal table over by the Newton Street side.
  • If you're not a fan of tables, never fear. Each of Ezra & Gil's windows has a window-bar.
  • There are four on Hilton Street, while this is one of two on Newton Street...
  • ... while this one's been given over to the water station.
  • And finally, if you don't like sitting, never fear. Ezra & Gil has this interesting contraption...
  • ... which is a standing desk.
  • All the tables have some lovely decorations on them...
  • ... which are practical as well as pretty.
  • There's not a lot in the way of wall decoration, but I really liked this one.
  • Of course, having admired the lights from the outside, I had to admire them up close too.
  • Although very functional, I found them very beautiful as well.
  • Last one, I promise.
  • The counter occupies the back wall (opposite Hilton Street), with an open space in front.
  • This is the view from the Hilton Street entrance, where it's on the other side of the room...
  • ... while coming in from Newton Street, it's on your left.
  • There's an impressive array of cakes on display...
  • ... as well as sandwiches.
  • However, I was here for lunch, prepared in the kitchen behind the counter.
  • There's also coffee, of course.
  • A fairly standard espresso menu there, plus pour-over.
  • Tea-lovers are also well-catered for.
  • So, what to have? Something from the La Marzocco?
  • However, as much as I love Heart & Graft's Barnraiser Blend, I fancied something new...
  • ... so went for a pour-over of a particularly fruity Ethiopian Kochere...
  • ... seen here in the cup (and from above).
  • I had the veggie all-day breakfast which was so lovely...
  • ... that it too deserves a second look. That's a courgette, by the way.
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How to describe Ezra & Gil? Communal workspace? It certainly ticks that box, with plentiful tables, multiple power sockets and free Wifi (the password’s plastered everywhere). Canteen? The food lives up to that billing. Coffee shop? With some stunning coffee from Manchester’s Heart & Graft, it’s got that nailed too. Maybe it’s all three. Or maybe it’s whatever you want it to be.

Occupying a generous spot on the corner of Newton & Hilton Streets, Ezra & Gil’s essentially one large square, its entrances in diametrically-opposed corners, one on Newton Street, which deposits you by the counter, the other on Hilton Street, which leaves you as far away from it as possible!

The Hilton Street door has an airlock-type arrangement which turns 90⁰ to the left, leaving you looking down the length of Ezra & Gil. There’s a nook to your right with three padded benches surrounding a coffee table. The rest of the seating’s a well-spaced mix of tables, some high, some normal height, some round, some square, but all made of scaffolding poles and wood. A long, 20-person communal table runs about half the width of Ezra & Gil, giving you an idea of just how big it is, while there’s a smaller one further on.

The walls are punctuated at regular intervals by tall, narrow windows, each with a two-person window-bar, light, power socket and bar-stools. Four overlook Hilton Street, but Newton Street only has two, the extra space occupied by the door, then counter. Despite this abundance of windows, it’s quite dark inside, although that could have been the grey, Manchester day I was there. On the other hand, that’s typical Manchester, so it’s probably what Ezra & Gil was going for.

Despite multiple lights, it’s still fairly subdued inside, adding to the atmosphere created by the exposed brick, wooden floorboards, dark grey woodwork and low ceiling (also dark grey). Being a large, single space, it can be very loud, particularly while busy. Fortunately this was mostly background chatter, which I like, Ezra & Gil content to have the music underneath the background noise rather than turning it up in an attempt to dominate.

Although the address is Hilton Street, what I consider to be the front door is on Newton Street. This deposits you in a large area directly in front of the counter (which is to your left). This has sensibly been left clear of seating, allowing plenty of space for customers to ponder their choices, order and wait (for takeaway) without getting in anyone’s way. Beyond/behind the counter is a large, open kitchen, and, beyond that, an area dedicated to the sale of general provisions.

I couldn’t not try the food, so I had the veggie breakfast (for lunch) with poached eggs and extra toast, which was sublime. This came with a stuffed courgette, topped with grilled cheese, which is a welcome change from veggie sausages. Even the baked beans were done to perfection.

I paired this with a V60 of a really fruity Ethiopian Kochere, served in a glass carafe with a lid, and with a nice, bright red cup. It matured wonderfully as it cooled, losing a little of the fruitiness, but gaining in depth and complexity. It’s coffee like this that converted me to single-origin pour-over in the first place.

December 2016: Ezra & Gil was a runner-up for the 2016 Most Popular Coffee Spot Award.

20 HILTON STREET • MANCHESTER • M1 1FR
www.ezraandgil.com
Monday 07:30 – 20:00 Roaster Heart & Graft (espresso + filter)
Tuesday 07:30 – 20:00 Seating Tables, Window Bars
Wednesday 07:30 – 20:00 Food Breakfast, Lunch, Cake
Thursday 07:30 – 20:00 Service Order at Counter
Friday 07:30 – 20:00 Cards Mastercard, Visa, (Zapper)
Saturday 08:00 – 19:00 Wifi Free (with code)
Sunday 08:00 – 19:00 Power Yes
Chain No Visits 6th November 2015

If you enjoyed this Coffee Spot, check out the rest of Manchester’s speciality coffee scene with the Coffee Spot Guide to Manchester.


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