Taste of Por­tu­gal com­ing to An­coats


Manchester Evening News - - NEWS - By EMILY HEWARD emily.heward@men-news.co.uk @Emi­lyHe­ward

THE chef be­hind Manch­ester’s ac­claimed El Gato Ne­gro has re­vealed plans for a new Por­tuguese restau­rant in An­coats.

Canto, mean­ing ‘cor­ner’ in Por­tuguese, will open in­side the Fair­bairn Build­ing on Henry Street later this year, in­spired by Si­mon Shaw’s trav­els to Lisbon.

“I first vis­ited Lisbon about 20 years ago and thought it a re­ally cool place, raw but great,” he said.

“Seven years later I re­turned and there was a real move­ment tak­ing place, a city with edge. When I re­turned in March it was like, wow, this is now a se­ri­ous Eu­ro­pean city.

“The Por­tuguese food move­ment is in its in­fancy in the UK but it’s hap­pen­ing, with some re­ally great restau­rants emerg­ing in Lon­don in the last few years.

“It would be easy for me to open another Span­ish restau­rant but I wanted a fresh chal­lenge and to take peo­ple on a jour­ney.”

The restau­rant will be headed up by Porto-born Car­los Gomes, who is cur­rently head chef at El Gato Ne­gro on King Street, and has pre­vi­ous ex­pe­ri­ence at Lon­don restau­rants in­clud­ing Ja­panese udon house Koya and the Miche­lin-starred Span­ish restau­rant Bar­ra­fina.

“It’s al­ways been on my radar to open a mod­ern Por­tuguese restau­rant and when Car­los joined the team with the same long-term vi­sion, ev­ery­thing fell into place,” said Si­mon. “It was like we were in the right place, with the right peo­ple, at the right time.

“We’re ahead of the game. A year from now we’ll all ei­ther be ge­niuses or have got it wrong. But we feel Manch­ester is ready for this, and An­coats is the per­fect lo­ca­tion.”

Set to open this au­tumn, the new restau­rant prom­ises a so­cial din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence in a re­laxed, neigh­bour­hood set­ting.

“Canto will be ad­ven­tur­ous, sim­ple and ex­cit­ing,” said Car­los.

“I’m look­ing for­ward to in­tro­duc­ing Manch­ester to authen­tic Por­tuguese cui­sine with a mod­ern touch.”

El Gato Ne­gro has earned a rep­u­ta­tion as one of Manch­ester’s best restau­rants since re­lo­cat­ing from Rip­pon­den, West York­shire, in 2015.

Since then it has won ac­co­lades in­clud­ing a Miche­lin Bib Gour­mand two years run­ning as well as tak­ing home the best restau­rant prize in the Manch­ester Food and Drink Fes­ti­val Awards and CityLife Awards.

Si­mon and his team are also un­der­stood to be eye­ing a third Manch­ester site as part of the ex­pan­sion plans first re­ported by the M.E.N. in Jan­u­ary.

El Gato Ne­gro has al­ready ex­panded its din­ing ca­pac­ity to cope with the huge de­mand, adding more cov­ers in its top floor Black Cat cock­tail bar as well as cater­ing to walk-in din­ers in the down­stairs bar.

Shaw has also pre­vi­ously re­vealed plans to ex­pand the brand to other cities.

The new An­coats restau­rant will join a flour­ish­ing foodie scene in the neigh­bour­hood, along­side the likes of Rudy’s Neapoli­tan Pizza and Squid Ink.

Si­mon Shaw, right, with head chef Car­los Gomes

El Gato Ne­gro

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