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Friday, 4 March 2016

El Gato Negro, Manchester.

Something just so simple like tomato bread can tell you a lot about a restaurant I think. We've had this Catalan snack numerous times over the years (Tapas 24 in Barcelona and Taberna del Gourmet in Alicante come to mind). Yet when it's done so well like it is here at El Gato Negro, it's just so right. The bread perfectly crisp and the exact combination of fruity olive oil, fresh tomato and seasoning, I just knew we were in for a treat.
I'd previously popped in to take some interior photos and was well impressed. Over three floors including a cocktail bar with a retractable roof, it is in my opinion already one of Manchester's most beautiful restaurants. It was also completely full today when the rest of town was empty due to the snowy conditions.
We continue with Salt Cod Croquetas, piquillo pepper purée and aioli which are excellent and actually taste of fresh cod, not always the case.
Gillardeau oysters, yuzu juice and pickled cucumber are to my taste a little over bitter, the citrus overpowers. I'd prefer them naked, they don't need anything else (Mrs B disagrees on this one).
We're huge fans of Carabinero prawns but most restaurants find them prohibitively expensive. In fact I don't know of many other places in Manchester City centre that serve them currently. These are spot on as expected and come with a richly flavoured shellfish rice, (although this is actually orzo, a kind of pasta, which I prefer as it absorbs the flavours).
The Confit of belly pork with rosemary-flavoured arrocina beans is our star dish. It is absolutely perfect, the meat so juicy and flavoursome but it's the accompaniments like the beans here that really impress too.
Braised Ox Cheek with horseradish potato, Chargrilled carrots, again superb.
Line-caught baby Monkfish with pinta beans is another cracker.
Finally Squid with Black ink rice, lemon and parsley salad needed tweaking, I'd like to see a little more of a kick in the flavour of the rice.
But this is really splitting hairs. Judging it from this meal, the food here is nigh on perfect already. To my mind, there are very few restaurants in Manchester that I'd prefer to eat at than El Gato Negro.
El Gato Negro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
To commission me for photography please email Bacononthebeech@gmail.com.
Lunch cost us £76.50 plus tip.

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