Spotlight on El Gato Negro, Liverpool
Kevin Evans visits the best for authentic Spanish tapas dishes
I am a huge fan of tapas – it’s my go-to lunch and dinner with friends as it never fails to impress and is very relaxed as well as a social way to spend time together.
Simon Shaw and his team are an institution on the North of England food scene. With their humble beginning in Ripponden with El Gato Negro they soon built up a reputation for outstanding authentic tapas by winning best Spanish restaurant on Gordon Ramsey’s F-Word. Word got out fast and soon Jay Reyner from The Guardian came knocking for a review – normally not the biggest advocate for the food scene in and around the North - He wrote a rave and very rare positive review!
Before they knew it El Gato Negro was firmly put on the food scene, Simon and the team decided to move to a Manchester city centre restaurant in February 2016 which was followed with equal acclaim. Fast forward to August 2019 and Liverpool is about to get its first taste of Simon and his team's amazing culinary experience.
Cited in Walker House, Exchange Flags it couldn’t be in a better venue tucked in behind the Town Hall, a picturesque surrounding as you would expect from the Liverpool skyline.
Once through the door you are greeted with the friendliest of welcomes and given the option of sitting at the bar for a pre-drink or heading straight to your table.
The noticeable difference with the Liverpool venue is space – the Manchester site is in a narrow building and is very intimate. The Liverpool venue is much more open and gives a feel of space and breadth which delivers a very different overall experience.
My colleagues and I were very lucky to attend a press launch where Simon attended and developed a tasting menu especially for the evening. It was a journey of fine Spanish cuisine with delicacies such as fresh oysters, gazpacho crab, roasted monkfish tails and Salt aged lamb. It was a real treat and Simon made sure he came around and spent time with people chatting whilst they were eating.
El Gato Negro also has the Spanish classics such as ham and cheese croquetas, padron peppers and you must try the Catalan bread with olive oil, garlic and fresh tomatoes – it's amazing! Not forgetting the desserts section, here you will find the classic crème Catalan along with cheesecakes and chocolate tartes.
El Gato is a welcome addition to the Liverpool restaurant scene and we wish Simon and the team all the success going forward.
As we were leaving we decided to make an evening of it and stayed at the Nadler hotel – a short cab away on Seel street in the Ropeworks district. It’s a comtemporary hotel which we had a luxury mezzanine suite. The staff were super friendly and made us feel very welcome – a great end to a fantastic evening.
El Gato Negro Tapa
Unit 2, Walker House, Exchange Flags, Liverpool, L2 3YL
t: 0151 2361331 e: firstname.lastname@example.org w: elgatonegrotapas.com
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