Simon Shaw to launch a fifth restaurant next year, a new Middle Eastern concept

09 July 2020

Simon Shaw, acclaimed Chef Patron and Creative Director of El Gato Negro & Canto, has confirmed he will reopen all four of his restaurants. He also revealed his fifth site will be opening in Manchester next year, his third in the city.

The multi-award-winning chef, who last year was awarded a Michelin Bib Gourmand for the fourth year running, has four restaurants located in Manchester, Leeds, and Liverpool.

His latest, El Gato Negro, Park Row, Leeds, had been open only five months and just crowned Best Overall Restaurant and Best World Restaurant in the prestigious 2020 Oliver Awards, when news of the enforced closure came. His second El Gato Negro restaurant at Exchange Flags in Liverpool had launched just three months earlier.

“It was devastating having to close the doors to El Gato Negro and Canto,” said Shaw.

“2019 was a significant year for the business, with two new El Gato Negro openings and plans for our third offer confirmed. We’d invested everything getting the new sites up and running alongside our flagship King Street site. To have to close was gut-wrenching. It was however necessary; the welfare of our guests and our team has always come first and always will.”

The restaurateur is now ready to bounce back and has revealed all restaurants will reopen in July with the strictest safety measures in place. El Gato Negro Exchange Flags will open on July 8, King St on July 9, and Park Row on July 16. Sister restaurant, Canto, will also reopen on July 16, with plans for Shaw’s fifth restaurant, a new Middle Eastern concept, confirmed to remain in the pipeline, however with the launch pushed back to 2021.

El Gato Negro will re-open with a four-day week initially, with food service extended until 12am on Fridays and Saturdays, 9pm on Sundays and 10pm midweek, providing fans of the acclaimed restaurant with the opportunity to enjoy late night dining.

Shaw will also be introducing a new collection service offering city dwellers and those passing through with the opportunity to savour a taste of El Gato Negro in the comfort of their own home or office.

“It’s good to back”, said Shaw.

“It sounds like a cliché, but we really are a family at El Gato Negro & Canto, and it feels great to be back in the restaurants with the team. The coming weeks are going to be different, and like everyone else it will take some time for us to find our feet, but we’re looking forward to reopening the doors and returning to doing what we do best.

“Heritage buildings are an intrinsic part of the El Gato Negro brand and we’re fortunate that in every restaurant, they’ve enabled us to introduce social distancing with relative ease. We’ve seen a high level of interest in reservations for our terraces and are lucky to be able to offer our guests the opportunity to dine alfresco.

“The steps taken by local councils to enable on-street dining are welcomed and crucial to the industry’s recovery. It’s been a difficult period for everyone and there’s some hard work to be done, but we’re confident we’ll get back on track.”

El Gato Negro & Canto is a partnership between Simon Shaw and Mills Hill Developments Ltd.

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