El Gato Negro Tapas, 52 King Street, Manchester, M2 4LY – Visit Now
El Gato Negro Tapas on King Street is one of Manchester’s most highly-rated restaurants, with their unique take on small plates receiving rave reviews across the city. Now, courtesy of head chef Antony Shirley, they’ve launched a Sunday brunch menu which aims to take on the classic Sunday roast dinner. We head along to check it out.
The new Sunday Specials section of the menu is small but undeniably intriguing, offering a mix of tapas-style small dishes, that you can choose to share or eat by yourself, plus two larger options that fit more into the classic Sunday roast format.
The flavours are dark and intense, exactly what you need after a Saturday night out
We start with wild mushrooms on toasted Catalan bread, made with truffle butter and a Pedro Ximénez sherry reduction. It all works beautifully, with thick squeaky mushrooms of all different types, coated in a garlicky, parsley style sauce. The flavours are dark and intense, exactly what you need after a Saturday night out, without being too greasy and heavy.
The same applies to the chorizo and piquillo pepper hash. This comes with a picture-perfect fried egg on top, plus another smattering of garlic and parsley. The impression is that these are more on the lighter, energy-giving side of things, rather than a lazy heavy Sunday lunch.
But as good as this dish is, it’s hard to pick out the chorizo. It turns out that rather than the hoped-for thick chunks of chorizo, it’s actually chopped finely and mixed in with the sauce – but even then there’s not much in the way of smoky Spanish sausage flavours. It’s a missed opportunity. The dish is pleasant enough as it is, but chorizo-lovers be warned.
However, the two main courses are what we’re really here for, and it’s a first for El Gato in that these dishes can actually be described as mains, rather than small plates. Both are ostensibly the same, just with different meats: quince glazed carrots, manchego cauliflower cheese, tenderstem broccoli, a red wine sauce, and a side plate of potatoes roasted with jamón serrano butter.
There isn’t a huge Spanish-influence, these two dishes lean more towards a classic Sunday lunch
One main is roast sirloin of beef, and the other is chargrilled chicken. The steak comes in thick slices, curled up on top of the cauliflower cheese, while the chicken is two perfectly-cooked legs. They’re both as delicious as they looks, and as good as Sunday roasts get in Manchester. As good as the steak is, the chicken is the clear winner, largely thanks to its wonderfully crispy skin. Other than the excellent Rioja sauce and the slightly-nutty manchego cheese, there isn’t a huge Spanish-influence, these two dishes lean more towards a classic Sunday lunch, and that’s perfectly fine. There’s no need to mess with perfection.
These new Sunday options are a great reason to catch up with El Gato, and while the chorizo hash is something of a misnomer, the mushrooms on toast are brilliantly moreish, and the two mains are both very special indeed.