Chef Patron and Creative Director Simon Shaw brought his acclaimed tapas restaurant El Gato Negro to Manchester in February 2016. Relocating from a former pub in a Yorkshire village to an elegant converted townhouse on King Street in the heart of the city centre was a bold move, but one which helped cement his reputation and establish El Gato Negro as one of the North West’s most successful restaurants.
The award-winning menu combines modern and traditional Spanish flavours and techniques, offering seasonally-influenced dishes based on quality Spanish and locally-sourced ingredients. Signature dishes and small plates are served alongside some of Spain’s best wines and sherries. Occupying three distinct floors of an elegant converted townhouse, the stunning interior reflects the restaurant’s style and dining experience; both refined and relaxed.
Since opening its doors, El Gato Negro has consistently received acclaim from customers and critics alike. The restaurant has been crowned City Life’s ‘Best Restaurant’ twice in three years; ‘Newcomer of the Year’ at the 2016 Manchester Food and Drink Festival Awards and ‘Premium & Fine Dining Restaurant of the Year’ the following year; ‘City Restaurant of the Year’ at the Lancashire Life Food and Drink Awards; and was listed for two years in a row in the National Restaurant Awards Top 100 in the UK. This year saw the Michelin Guide award El Gato Negro a prestigious 2019 Bib Gourmand for the third year running for offering “exceptionally good food at moderate prices”; the only Manchester city centre restaurant to do so.
In September 2018 Simon opened Canto, his second restaurant in Manchester, a neighbourhood restaurant serving modern casual tapas and drinks in Ancoats. Continuing his vision to champion quality tapas dishes and social dining, in May 2019 Simon announced plans for expansion. The second El Gato Negro opened at Exchange Flags, Liverpool in August 2019 and the third on Park Row, Leeds, in November 2019.
Chef Patron / Creative Director
Simon is one of the North’s most highly respected restaurateurs, with over 35 years of experience, most notably as Chef Patron and Creative Director of El Gato Negro.
Originally from Yorkshire, Simon rapidly worked his way through the ranks at some of the county’s finest establishments before becoming the first Head Chef at Harvey Nichols’ restaurant in Leeds. After a stellar stint there he was seconded to their London operations; first heading up the kitchens at Prism, the company’s prestigious City of London restaurant, before promoted to the flagship Knightsbridge store to serve as Executive Head Chef. It was in this role Simon visited Catalonia and the Basque Country for the first time, falling in love with the diversity and excitement of modern Spanish cuisine during subsequent trips.
Inspired by this, in 2005 Simon returned to Yorkshire to open his own restaurant, El Gato Negro, in the Pennine village of Ripponden. Its reach and reputation grew rapidly, gaining awards and accolades. These included annual listings in the Good Food Guide; winning ‘Best local Spanish restaurant’ on Gordon Ramsay’s F Word; glowing review from critics such as the Observer’s Jay Rayner; Hardens called it “best tapas in the north”; and it was awarded a prestigious Bib Gourmand by the Michelin Guide for its last three years in Yorkshire.
In 2014 Simon announced that, following a decade of continued success in Ripponden, ambitions to bring El Gato Negro to a wider audience had resulted in plans to relocate to larger premises in Manchester City Centre.