Ezra & Gil was one of several coffee shops which opened in Manchester’s Northern Quarter in 2015, although it was always a little different, occupying a large spot, its focus as much on food, plus a small area selling various provisions up by the counter. Now there’s a second, albeit smaller, member of the Ezra & Gil family, Ezra To Go on the eastern edge of the Northern Quarter, just down Tib Street from North Tea Power and across the road from Siop Shop.
Don’t let the name fool you though. Ezra To Go has plenty of seating, particularly in the adjacent space, a lifestyle shop called Ezra’s Utilities, so you are welcome to stay. However, the concept is that everything is either pre-prepared or, if it’s off the main menu, quick, which includes the coffee (no pour-over here or filter).
The menu’s necessarily cut down from Ezra & Gil, but nevertheless puts many coffee shops to shame. There’s porridge, plus various things on toast, including eggs and avocado. If you can’t wait that long, there are plenty of pre-prepared sandwiches, which can be toasted, plus soup of the day, salad and quiche, and, of course, a selection of cake.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
At the north-eastern end of Tib Street, Ezra To Go, along with Ezra’s Utilities, have two near-mirrored façades, effectively presenting a single, long shop-front. The doors are in the centre, separated by a pillar, while to either side are long windows, providing the interiors with a generous amount of daylight on even the gloomiest Manchester day. There are differences though, including a bench under the window outside Ezra To Go, which also has a small cut-out at the far right-hand end, which allows the window to wrap around the corner.
Like Salford’s Another Heart To Feed, you enter via either door. On the left, you’ll find yourself in the lifestyle shop, Ezra’s Utilities, where there’s a pair of tables in the window, plus more seating at the back. Meanwhile, the right-hand door takes you into Ezra To Go, which has a simple layout: counter at the back, seating around the edges in the form of bars. The two are joined by two square openings in the party wall, one at the front, and the other at the back by the counter.
Although it’s only been open since April, there’s been a steady evolution. Originally, it was just the shop on the left, which went by the name The Art of Hope, with a small coffee bar at the back. Then the shop on the right became available, leading to the extension, called Ezra To Go, freeing up space in the shop for the seating area at the back. Then, last week, The Art of Hope became Ezra’s Utilities, bringing both operations under the same banner.
Although occupying two spaces, it’s still quite a bit smaller than the original Ezra & Gil. The “to go” mentality is also in contrast to the original, where the vibe is more sit-in, relax and linger. Not that there’s anything wrong with relaxing and lingering in Ezra To Go, it’s just a very different space, all clean-cut, with very modern lines. In concept, it reminded me of Northern Quarter neighbours Fig + Sparrow, while the look-and-feel was similar (albeit on a single floor) to Galway’s Coffeewerk + Press.
If you are lingering, the two spaces offer very different experiences. Ezra To Go has a window-bar to the right of the door which seats maybe five, while there’s another bar on the party-wall between the two openings, this one seating four. The counter is at the back, with the espresso machine on the left-hand side and an open kitchen behind it. The remainder of the counter is given over to displaying the cakes and sandwiches. Retail shelves on the right-hand wall sell coffee and coffee kit, while there’s a small produce section in the centre.
Ezra’s Utilities is very different, set up more as a store, although, as well as the two tables at the front, there’s a two-person table at the back, plus a separate seating alcove, with three four-person tables and two short rows of chairs against the walls. You have to order at the counter, but otherwise you’re welcome to sit anywhere in either Ezra To Go or Ezra’s Utilities.
Sadly I’d just had brunch, otherwise I’d have sampled the food, having loved the breakfast menu at the original Ezra & Gil. When it comes to coffee, Ezra To Go just has the house-blend from ManCoCo, served from a standard espresso-based menu. I had a very fine flat white, the coffee and milk going well together. One word of warning though: in keeping with the “to go” image, the coffee is only served in takeaway cups, so don’t forget to bring your own.
|106 TIB STREET • MANCHESTER • M4 1LR|
|Monday||07:30 – 17:00||Roaster||ManCoCo (espresso only)|
|Tuesday||07:30 – 17:00||Seating||Tables, Window Bar|
|Wednesday||07:30 – 17:00||Food||Breakfast, Lunch, Cake|
|Thursday||07:30 – 17:00||Service||Order at Counter|
|Friday||07:30 – 17:00||Cards||Amex, Mastercard, Visa|
|Saturday||09:00 – 17:00||Wifi||Free|
|Sunday||10:00 – 17:00||Power||Yes|
|Chain||Local||Visits||6th November 2017|
Liked this? Then don’t forget to check out the Coffee Spot Guide to Manchester & Salford for more great Coffee Spots.
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