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Chef-patron Simon Shaw upped sticks from his old basecamp in Ripponden to relaunch El Gato Negro in a historic three-storey building on Manchester’s King Street. Tricked out as an elegant tapas bar and restaurant, it manages to feel both spacious and intimate, with a few nice Mancunian touches such as a mosaic depicting local icons Frank Sidebottom and John Cooper Clarke. The first-floor dining room features floor-to-ceiling windows and an open kitchen that delivers top-charcuterie, cheeses and a cavalcade of flawless plates: spicy char-grilled pork skewers with mojo verde; ‘hot and cold’ sugar-cured mackerel with salt-baked celeriac and pink grapefruit salad; spiced aubergine with onion confit, fritada sauce and lavash bread. There are also onglet steaks from the Josper grill, while desserts might promise doughnuts, crema catalana or chocolate fondue with marshmallows (to share). An aptly named ‘menu rapido’ is spot-on for speedy weekday lunches. Also make sure you visit The Black Cat upstairs, a beautiful bar with a clever, creative list of cocktails and a retractable roof that opens to reveal the stars.
SquareMeal’s Best Restaurants in the UK 2017 is compiled using votes from our annual survey, last conducted in spring 2017. Thousands of readers took part and the results were moderated by SquareMeal’s editor and his nationwide team of professional reviewers. The UK survey does not include any restaurants in London. Click here for the full list of SquareMeal’s Best Restaurants in the UK.
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