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NEW: El Gato Negro For MCR

Celebrated Yorkshire tapas restaurant to close in Ripponden and jump ship to Manchester

Written by . Published on November 11th 2014.

NEW: El Gato Negro For MCR

CELEBRATED West Yorkshire tapas restaurant, El Gato Negro, have announced they're to jump ship to Manchester and open in the walkway joining King Street and Chapel Walks at the site of Raymond Blanc's failed Brasserie Blanc restaurant.

El Gato Negro bagged their second Bib Gourmand in three years in the Michelin Guide 2015 and also feature in this year's Waitrose Good Food Guide.

Great news for Manchester, bad news for Yorkshire. El Gato Negro's current lease in Ripponden expires in 2015 and the tapas restaurant will be moving their entire operation to the more expansive Manchester Unit.

Units five and six (by Bang & Olufsen) have laid dormant for years since Blanc gave up on Manchester in 2010, but El Gato Negro's move should see some life pumped into this sleepy corner of the city centre when the restaurant opens in mid-2015.

Chapel Walks: El Gato Negro's proposed site to the left, Chaopraya to the rightChapel Walks: El Gato Negro's proposed site to the left, Chaopraya to the right

El Gato Negro should prove to be a coup for Manchester.

You probably missed their star-stint at Ancoats' Up In Your Grill street food event this summer or at Chorlton's Electrick bar a few years back. But you may remember El Gato Negro from Gordon Ramsay's Channel 4 show, F Word, where the Ripponden tapas restaurant scooped Britain's 'Best Local Spanish Restaurant' in 2009.

And it's not only Ramsay that's been bowled over by chef-owner Simon Shaw's (formerly of the prestigious Harvey Nichols restaurant in Knightsbridge) little pocket of Spain in an old converted pub in West Yorkshire, El Gato Negro bagged their second Bib Gourmand in three years in the Michelin Guide 2015 and also feature in this year's Waitrose Good Food Guide.

The menu is rife with Spanish meats and cheeses including a jamón Ibérico that had Guardian food critic Jay Rayner purring like a Harley Davidson a number of years back.

Prices range from £1.80 for roast corn kernels, £4 for tortilla and patatas bravas, £10 for chargrilled octopus, £12.50 for rump of lamb and £17 for the full whack of Spanish meats. Bottles of wine range from £15 to £50, while bubbles start from £25 - see here for the full food menu and wine list.

The view towards the unit from King StreetThe view towards the unit from King Street

Chef-owner Simon Shaw said:

"Today we are delighted to announce an exciting new chapter in the story of El Gato Negro: we will be bringing our award-winning food and drink to Manchester city centre in 2015.

"We’ve achieved so much since we opened our doors in 2005 – awards and accolades have increased our reputation and appeal to a wider audience.

"Sometimes working out of a small kitchen in the restaurant here in Ripponden has constrained our creativity, and our size has limited the number of diners who’ve been able to experience our food.

"As some of you may be aware, the lease for our current building expires in 2015. This has led me to explore options for the future, and after careful consideration I believe I’ve found the perfect opportunity by opening a larger and better equipped restaurant in a prestigious site in central Manchester.

"We’ve seen more customers travel from Manchester to enjoy our take on modern Spanish cuisine, and have had a brilliant reception at pop-ups we’ve attended in the city. It’s definitely the right time to bring our northern, homegrown take on modern Spanish cuisine to a city where we know we’ll feel right at home."

King Street's empty unitsKing Street's empty units

Manchester is a savvy move by El Gato Negro. For all that Manchester's food and drink spring has given the city over the past couple of years, the city centre's tapas offering (aside from Evuna on a good day) has been bobbins.

El Rincon? Painfully over-hyped. La Vina? Consistently panned. Then what... La Tasca?

El Gato Negro - 'Britain's Best Local Spanish Restaurant' - should clean up in Manchester. Still, they might not have it all their own way... there's the small matter of London's Ibérica opening in Spinningfields.


El Gato Negro, Unit 5 & 6, 55 King Street, Manchester, M2 4LQ

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20 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AnonymousNovember 11th 2014.


Henry VNovember 11th 2014.

El Rincon had better start pulling its socks up

3 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousNovember 13th 2014.

El Gato is very much welcome, we are a long way behind Liverpool when it comes to tapas and I've no idea why.

AnonymousNovember 13th 2014.

I know. It's because Scousers are so busy telling people how great and funny they are, that they need small picky food to eat during those rare moments when they're not telling people how great and funny they are.

AnonymousNovember 13th 2014.

Small plates are perfect to share when they're wallowing in collective grief. Sharing platters are ideal for passing round when demanding action and demanding expensive inquests whilst refusing to talk to the "bizzies"

AnonymousNovember 11th 2014.

At last something there as has been dull and lifeless for TOO long!!!

Ghostly TomNovember 11th 2014.

Love me a bit of Tapas...

AnonymousNovember 11th 2014.

Excellent news, wish them the best of luck

AnonymousNovember 11th 2014.

Eee By Gum!

Poster BoyNovember 12th 2014.

That will be the La Tasca where Gordo says service good to special, ambience pretty much Madrid, food, solidly good... El Gato Negro is good. Hope the location works.

1 Response: Reply To This...
pollolocoNovember 13th 2014.

sometimes it's necessary Poster...they've staff to pay you know!

kisscurlNovember 13th 2014.

The best tapas Ive ever had. After seeing the write up jn the Sunday Times we travelled to Yorkshire to try it for ourselves. It was an amazing experience. When they did the pop up in Manchester we were thrilled to try it again. Can't wait to go again now its on our own doorstep.

Prince_HarmingNovember 13th 2014.

So now Manchester will have both a Black Dog and a Black Cat, how lovely.

geegeeNovember 13th 2014.

My God its fantastic news, no more M62

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousNovember 15th 2014.

You're joking! Is it being replaced by HS3?

bigearsNovember 14th 2014.

So does this mean with El Gato opening in the centre that they won't be opening their other concept?

Richard KiddNovember 14th 2014.

Brilliant news for Manchester city centre. It was worth the schlep out to the sticks for El Gato Negro but I'll be happy when they're closer to home. Not least so we can enjoy the wine list more easily. Been a couple of times and it is teh best tapas me and the wife have had in England apart from London. Nice to see a local restaurant coming to Manchester rather than an extension of a London chain. Hope this is the first of many, can think of a few other places in the north west which'd work well in the city too.

AnonymousJanuary 15th 2015.

so, La Bandera, Iberica and now El Gato...could this mean no more burger restaurants for Manchester? Yaay I hope so!

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousJanuary 15th 2015.

The last thing we need is more bloody tapas bars.

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