After thinking 2015 was exciting, 2016 has certainly been a whirlwind year! The awards and recognition have been incredible for me and for everyone who has worked so hard.

This is a perfect opportunity to say a heartfelt thank you to customers old and new and to all those who have supported us this year. We’ve opened with a bang for sure, but there is still a lot of hard work to do in 2017. We look forward to an exciting year ahead for El Gato Negro. 

It’s always good to look back as well as forwards as the new year beckons, so here are a few memories and highlights for each month, along with a dish which seemed to sum up the time. Happy New Year from me and everyone at El Gato Negro!

The year started with a lot to do. As we built the teams up, the fit out and kit out was underway in our new building. Lots of long days wearing hard hats one minute, and in the development kitchen the next…

Finally, we opened our doors at 52 King Street. After weeks of menu prep, our soft launch week was booked out and we started as we meant to go on… busy on all floors and firing on all cylinders.

Our first full month’s trading, we were full for virtually every service, and feedback was overwhelmingly positive. I left the restaurant between services to make an appearance at NRB again this year.

It felt like summer came early as we enjoyed warm weather in the city centre. The roof in the Black Cat was open for much of the month, and it was a thrill to bring a little bit of Spain to King Street

They say May comes in like a lion, and out like a lamb. The lion just kept rampaging this month! Meanwhile the team from The Black Cat made a big impression at Cocktails in the City with their Lady Luck cocktail.

We were thrilled to be placed at 81 in Restaurant Magazine’s Top 100 Restaurant list. Plus we enjoyed celebrating World Tapas Day in style, as part of the new wave of tapas restaurants in Manchester.

We worked out we’d served up over 70,000 plates of food and 14,000 cocktails since opening. There were a few more added to the tally as we celebrated Manchester Loves Cocktails in style.

Summer in the city. It’s often a quiet time in the trade, but with the on street al fresco dining, the retractable roof, and the seasonal style of our food, business was brisk. It was great to have some holiday time too.

After a great summer we were inspired for our España Moderna MFDF meal. The team enjoyed developing a special menu to show off old favourites and new dishes, all paired with some amazing wines.

October felt like we’d won the triple… first we were awarded a Michelin Bib Gourmand, then ‘Newcomer of the Year‘ at Manchester Food and Drink Festival Awards, then Lancashire Life’s ‘City Restaurant of the Year‘.

With the new menu in full swing, and plenty of plaudits, being in the kitchen with the team was a real pleasure. Meanwhile we also got to celebrate International Sherry Week, matching dishes and with some of my favourite drinks

With our new booking system proving successful, the Christmas Markets outside swelling the crowds, and beautiful decorations all over the building, our first Manchester Xmas was a magical experience. After all that, Christmas Day off was a treat!