We tried the new three dishes for £18 menu at swish Manchester city centre restaurant

El Gato Negro has launched a sizzling new deal
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I just love the ambience of El Gato Negro on King Street.

The stunning exterior of the converted historic three storey townhouse simply exudes warmth - the stylish interior glowing from the inside through the beautiful arched glass windows out onto the pretty street below, it’s canopy illustrated with a scampish cartoon style black cat.

Inside, the restaurant is always busy in a comforting, warm, familiar way - a bubbling hub of laughter, melodic voices and busy staff - plates of beautifully formed food whizzing past, everywhere you turn people nestled in nooks and crannies, sharing aromatic tapas - it’s good for the soul.

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Spread over three stunning floors, the ground floor features al fresco pavement dining, and an industrial looking bar and dining space made up of a medley of textures and textiles - rustic reclaimed brick, glossy tiles, leather chairs, splashes of burnt copper - while the middle floor offers a mix of restaurant table and seating options with a well vantaged chef’s table by the theatrical open kitchen.

El Gato NegroEl Gato Negro
El Gato Negro

The top floor features an evocative terrace with retractable roof for when the sun shines. Make no mistake, the surroundings are stunning.

But while El Gato Negro is indeed gorgeous, it is not intimidating, nor is it overpriced. And they have recently launched a very affordable three tapas for £18 - which we went along to try out.

The menu offers a section of vegetable tapas, a section of meat and fish, para picar and charcuterie and desserts. My friend, a vegetarian, chose patatas bravas with spiced fritada sauce and aioli, traditional tortilla and churros.

El Gato Negro has a mixture of textures El Gato Negro has a mixture of textures
El Gato Negro has a mixture of textures

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Myself, a meat eater, went for meatballs in tomato fritada sauce, salt cod croquetas, piquillo pepper puree and aioli and vegetable paella arancini with smoked aubergine puree.

The croquetas and paella arancini arrived looking like miniature works of art, well crafted balls with neat spherical toppings, the meatballs sizzled in the rich sauce, the tortilla looked soft and fluffy. The salt cod croquetas were very salty, perhaps a touch too much for me, the meatballs were herby, the arancini rich - so make sure you enjoy plenty of seasoning before you order.

Tasty tapas at £18 for three  Tasty tapas at £18 for three
Tasty tapas at £18 for three

Perhaps the most stand out dish for me was the piping hot, sugary churros with drippy melted chocolate for dipping. Crispy, doughy, delicious.

The menu is plentiful and offers such dishes as chargrilled sweet potato with chilli and mango yoghurt dressing, mini catalan chorizo cooked in cider and Heritage tomato salad with red onion and caper berries.

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Desserts include traditional creme catalan with orange and cinnamon, pear tart with hazlenut and a vanilla cream and warm vegan chocolate brownie, peanut butter crumble and coffee ice cream.

At £18 for three substantial dishes, it’s great value for money, with plenty of choice and something for everyone and with such pretty surroundings you really can’t go wrong - El Gato Negro means The Black cat in Spanish and I would say this latest offer is simply the (black) cat’s whiskers.

El Gato Negro 52 King Street, Manchester M2

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