Harden's survey result
“Still smashing it” – this “throbbing and bustling” operation remains the most commented-on place in town, and “feels like it’s been around for years” even though it only made the move from Ripponden two years ago. The “stylish and splendid” interior “shows what a big budget will deliver, and the buzzy atmosphere is ensured by the droves of customers”. On the menu: “Spanish small plates with a North African influence”, which provide “an excellent tapas feast – not quite the magical heights that modern tapas can sometimes soar too, but terrifically good nevertheless”. “If you’re lucky enough to get a table on the open-roofed top floor on a pleasant evening you’re in for a treat”.
“The hype is justified!” – This “dazzling addition to the Manchester restaurant scene” (which moved into town last year) is THE destination in the city-centre right now (and Manc’s most commented-on venue in this year’s survey). A three-floor operation incorporating bar and rooftop level, it serves Simon Shaw’s “creative small plates, in Spanish style and with Moorish influences” and despite the odd quibble that “it’s not as good as the smaller, tighter set-up it was in Ripponden” most reporters feel its tapas is “some of the best ever”. All this popularity also brings a few negatives though – at peak times service can become “disorganised”, you run the gauntlet of “inhospitable door nazis”, and “some diners have a touch of the Harry Enfields about them: ‘I am considerably richer than yow’!”
“Manchester’s gain is Ripponden’s loss” and after less than a year, Simon Shaw is already looking to expand his “slick, very large city centre operation” (adding 50 covers in the rooftop level), as it proves “a fantastic addition” and one “offering a different experience on each of its three floors”. “It being Manchester, there is a serious bar-element to the business”, and “it’s a great place to eat or just enjoy a glass of wine and nibbles”. “Scaling up the food production from Ripponden to King Street does not seem to have been a problem” – “the majority of the tapas are not merely correct, but excellent” – and overall this is “a successful transfer to a cracking new site”.
Simon Shaw is relocating his “splendid” Hispanic venture to Manchester, opening in February 2016. Our review when it was in Ripponden said it was in “the last location you would expect” – hopefully it will repeat its success and more so in this new home.
El Gato Negro Restaurant Diner Reviews
"Quality Spanish produce, with great ambiance and well versed crew. Still, vastly over priced and the biggest case of Emperor’s New Clothes anywhere in the city centre."
"It's the buzzing ambience of this multi-level townhouse and the great cocktails that make it worth visiting. Their sherry tinged takes on an Old Fashioned and Espresso Martini make for a heady evening and the bar operation is slick, further adding to the ambience. The tapas menu is a little limited in my view, with a large proportion of menu taken up by charcuterie and rather run-of-the-mill classic tapas dishes, which can lead to the bill racking up and one leaving rather hungry... and woozy"
"Delicious flavours and innovative tapas"
52 King Street, Manchester, M2 4LY
Last orders: Mon - Thur 10 pm, Fri & Sat 11 pm, Sun 9.30 pm