Simon Shaw talks about his El Gato Negro’s first two successful years

el gato negroIT’S two years since tapas restaurant El Gato Negro opened on Manchester’s King Street.

During that time it has garnered a host of accolades  – it was the only Manchester restaurant to receive a Michelin Bib Gourmand, was listed in the National Restaurant Awards Top 100 in the UK and was awarded Newcomer of the Year at the Manchester Food & Drink Awards.

Last year the restaurant received a Michelin Bib Gourmand for the second year running and was crowned Premium and Fine Dining Venue of the Year at the 2017 Manchester Food and Drink Festival Awards.

Chef-patron and creative director Simon Shaw (pictured) answered 10 questions about El Gato Negro and his time in Manchester.

Your number one favourite moment in El Gato Negro is?

It has to be giving my table up for Nigel Slater last year – talk about being in the right place at the right time. It was a pleasure to have someone of his influence dine with us and he told us he had a great time.

The biggest challenge you’ve faced over the last two years is?

Operating a restaurant business over three floors! Now that is a major challenge, the logistics of getting the food out, hot, to the right tables across that space is difficult – but we’ve nailed it for sure.

Your all-time favourite El Gato Negro dish is?

Hmm, I would say the morcilla scotch eggs – it’s got to be them. We had them on the menu in Ripponden and they have been on our Manchester menu since day one, they’re a much-loved, tasty dish.

You’ll be marking two years in Manchester with a glass of what?

There’s a wine on our list called Rioja Alta Gran Reserva, it’s a full-bodied red and it really is delicious. I’ll definitely be cracking open a bottle of that to celebrate.

A celebratory crawl of the city sees you visit four venues, which are they?

I’d definitely visit The French, Manchester House, then Bundobust – this is a recent discovery of mine, but it’s a really good place. Lastly, I’d go for a drink at Flok in the Northern Quarter, they have a great list of sherries.

You can dine with five people (dead or alive) who are they?

Number one, Paul Lazenby – he’s the father of a good friend of mine and is like a second dad to me, he is a real character and would certainly bring the comedy. Then, Winston Churchill, because he likes my favourite champagne Pol Roger, so he can bring a bottle of that.

I’d like to invite Marco Pierre White, because I think he’d be an interesting guest, then Sade because she’s one of my favourite artists and she would certainly bring some glamour. Lastly, I’d invite my dad who passed away when I was young, so I’d like to have him along to show him what I’ve achieved.

Your top five Mancs are?

Ian Curtis, Ian Brown, Noel Gallagher, Bez is also a good laugh, then lastly, I’d say adopted Mancunian – George Best!

You and the El Gato Negro team will be celebrating two years in Manchester by?

Raising a glass, definitely! Celebrating our hard work and achievements.

Describe Manchester in five words:

Vibrant, energetic, cool, rainy and exciting – the future is looking really good for Manchester.

What’s next for you & El Gato Negro?

There’s a lot of exciting stuff happening for us right now, we’ve got some fantastic plans in place for the next couple of years; watch this space. @copy NewspaperTimes - All rights reserved