If you have ever had more than a five-minute conversation with me, chances are that you’ll know I am slightly obsessed with food.
So after hearing about the opening of swanky new tapas restaurant, El Gato Negro on King Street in Manchester, I knew this was to be my next gluttonous treat.
Tables are few and far between, so when my three girlfriends and I managed to bag ourselves a table on a Saturday evening due to a last-minute cancellation, we were over the moon.
Upon arrival we were greeted by an attentive host, who promptly showed us to our table situated opposite the bar, stocked with an amazing selection of spirits and liquors which were all shooting me flirty glances.
Handing us the menus, the waitress informs us that the cuisine is a mixture of modern and traditional Spanish flavours combined with fresh ingredients and techniques inspired from closer to home. She recommends ordering 9-12 dishes to share between the four of us, and after glancing at the impressive menu, we obviously opted for twelve.
- Selection of Spanish cheeses, fig and almond wheel and
- Selection of Spanish meats
- Baby chicken with lemon, garlic, paprika, and romesco sauce
- Tiger prawns with chilli, garlic, lemon and paprika
- Salt cod croquetas, piquillo pepper purée and aioli
- Braised ox cheek with horseradish potato, chargrilled carrots
- Morcilla scotch eggs with mushroom duxelle, apple purée and aioli
- Classic meatballs with tomato fritarda sauce
- Mini Catalan chorizo with Aspall cider
- Navarrico chickpeas with butternut squash, chilli, garlic, caramelised
- Patatas bravas with spicy tomato fritarda sauce and aioli
- Coca Mallorquina, red onion and pepper confit, Monte Enebro goats cheese
cauliflower florets, topped with picada crumb
Our food arrives in dribs and drabs – starting with the cold meats and cheeses, which is always a great start. We then continue to make our way through the rest of our dishes at a steady pace, each one arriving the second we finish the previous dish. Although I would usually prefer to have all of the dishes at once, in this setting it feels like this is the traditional way to do things and leaves you excited for what is yet to come. The meatballs melt in your mouth, the salt croquettes are to die for and the chorizo bursts with a million different flavours. I have to say though, the prawns are my favourite – they have cooked them perfectly so they’re still nice and juicy, with just the right hint of paprika, lemon and garlic.
“A special selection of our favourite desserts”– because they all just looked too good to choose!
After demolishing and thoroughly enjoying every dish and deliberating about which was each of our favourite (we all had a different one), we made our way to the top floor. As an outed espresso martini addict, I opt for El Gato Negro’s twist on the classic – an el-spresso martini. I was initially reluctant to switch from my vodka-based drink the brandy and condensed milk concoction but I was pleasantly surprised when I do so. The warmness of the brandy combined with the sharp bitterness of the coffee and sweetness of the condensed milk work really well together to create a chest-warming treat.
The traditional-meets-modern theme is echoed with the venue’s décor – with an authentic Spanish town meets Northern Quarter feel about the place. It spans across three levels in a historic converted town house yet its choice of styling, allows it to offer a quirky but modern dining experience.
Although still a stylish affair, the ground floor offers a more casual dining experience than the second floor where you can sit at the chef’s table and watch your dishes be freshly prepared in front of you. And lastly, the third floor offers an extensive cocktail menu that you can enjoy whilst looking out at the stars, courtesy of their impressive retracting roof.
Overall, the evening is a solid 8/10 with everyone happy with their food, drinks, company and overall vibe. Definitely a must-do next time you fancy dinner out in Manchester!