A taste of Ibe­ria

Itfhee:naore­vaem’s 2s0t Mod­ern Por­tuguese flavours and fab­u­lous wine give you ev­ery rea­son to visit Canto at An­coats

Cheshire Life - - Manchester Life -

Canto is the lat­est ar­rival at the Hox­ton-es­que area of An­coats in Manch­ester city cen­tre, a col­lab­o­ra­tion by head chef Car­los Gomes and Si­mon Shaw whose Gateau Ne­gro has been wow­ing din­ers on King Street for the past cou­ple of years.

It’s styled as mod­ern Por­tuguese and is based in an in­dus­trial cantina-type space dom­i­nated by a bar and an open kitchen where the chefs get busy pre­par­ing the freshly cooked all-day menu.

My other half booked and was phoned three times by the restau­rant to con­firm we were still com­ing. Hon­estly, no-shows are a restau­rant’s night­mare es­pe­cially ones who cook fresh in­gre­di­ents and you can’t help but feel for the anx­i­ety it must cause.

We went along on a busy Satur­day af­ter­noon and at 1.30pm and were told we were on the ‘chef’s ta­ble’ ba­si­cally at the bar in front of the kitchen. Not for us. We opted for a ta­ble for two over­look­ing the square fronting the Halle at St Michael’s, a creative space used by Manch­ester’s famed orches­tra on Ge­orge Leigh Street.

The menu is def­i­nitely not con­ven­tional which makes for ex­cit­ing eat­ing, plus the wine list is great. It took all our willpower not to or­der a sec­ond bot­tle of the Est Loureiro Vinho Verde 2017, £26, which was bust­ing with fruit and zesty sparkle.

The small plates ar­rived spo­rad­i­cally af­ter a mag­nif­i­cent opener of warmed bread from nearby bak­ery Pollen, served with light whipped rich but­ter, £3.50. Sooo de­li­cious! And cured Bis­aro DOP pork loin en­joyed by the other side of the ta­ble.

Salt cod, £5, was a lit­tle lost in a dish that in­cluded onion tem­pura and a tomato broth but the flavours were fresh. Roasted pep­pers, baby ar­ti­chokes and run­ner beans, £6, was a sim­ple and de­light­ful dish but I was a lit­tle dis­ap­pointed by the po­lenta, poached egg and spinach, which I would have liked to be a lit­tle more in­dul­gent and I could hardly iden­tify the ac­com­pa­ny­ing São Jorge cheese men­tioned on the menu. Punched po­ta­toes with miso, £4.50, a take on po­ta­toes and aioli, was de­li­cious while the oc­to­pus la­gareiro, £10, looked and tasted au­then­ti­cally of Por­tuguese shores.

We fin­ished with glasses of São João Brut Reserva Bair­rada 2015 £5.50, which was as good as any house cham­pagne but for half the price, and a flinty dry Quinta do Poco do Lobo sparkling red Bair­rada 2016, £6.20, as well as pasteis de nata – Por­tuguese cus­tard tarts, £2.50 each.

Aside from teeny nig­gles, din­ing at Canto was a re­laxed and en­joy­able af­fair and felt a lit­tle bit cool and edgy. Never seen the re-vamped An­coats? This is the rea­son to do it. I’ll be back. Fair­bairn House, Henry Street, Manch­ester, M4 5DH. can­torestau­rant.com

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