The first Portuguese restaurant in Manchester city centre, Canto is the latest project from Simon Shaw of King Street’s acclaimed El Gato Negro. Inside, it’s bright, spacious and relaxed, with an open kitchen and an interior that pays homage to Portuguese culture with beautiful sea-blue tiled walls and a feature wall made entirely from cork imported from Alentejo.
Head chef Carlos Gomes has an impressive CV (including stints at Koya and Michelin-starred Barrafina), and his small plates menu is modern Portuguese, with brunch added at the weekend. Our prawn turnover arrived light and full of flavour, while salt cod is made into crisp tempura with onions and a fragrant tomato broth. Other prime possibilities could range from tender octopus with roasted potatoes, garlic and pickled baby onions to pork belly with impeccably crisp skin and Bairrada-style pepper sauce.
Elsewhere, Portuguese Bísaro DOP ham is perfectly fatty, aged for 30 months and served with sourdough bread from local bakery Pollen, while desserts feature classic ‘pastél de nata’ custard tarts, sweet, creamy and appealingly sunny-yellow in colour. A welcome addition to Ancoats’ burgeoning foodie scene.