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We came to Canto, which is a recent creation of Simon Shaw of El Gata Negro Tapas fame, on an unusually sunny Sunday Lunchtime In Manchester, for a meal, before going to the football at Old Trafford later that day.

You will find this younger sibling of Simon‘s, in the heart of Manchesters latest to be redeveloped neighbourhood, Ancoats, on Cutting Room Square.

It is quite a stunning, large space, with blue Portuguese tiles, which reminded me of a recent visit to Braga.

They use the finest seasonal ingredients, sourced locally and from Europe creating small dishes, great for sharing.

Head Chef Carlos Gomes is from Porto, adding a Portuguese twist to the Spanish flavours. Carlos previously worked at Porto’s acclaimed Japanese restaurant Góshò, Londons Japanese restaurant Koya & in 2013, joined acclaimed London Spanish Restaurant Barrafina in Soho, where he became Head Chef in the same year as they retained their One Michelin star in 2016.

A group of six of us sat down for lunch and tried the following dishes. (we had roughly two dishes of each)

Catalan bread with olive oil, garlic and fresh tomato

18 months cured Ibérico ham shoulder

Ibérico cured meat selection (copita, salchichón, paio porco preto)

Selection of Mediterranean cheeses with quince jelly

Jamón croquetas

Mushroom croquetas with black garlic mayo

Grilled chicken wings with spicy chilli oil

Spicy chicken skewers on flatbread

Crispy fried baby squid with aioli

Octopus lagareiro (octopus, new potatoes, garlic & baby onions)

Cod pil pil with caramelised peppers & red onion

Chargrilled pork skewers, harissa spiced hummus & chimichurri

Grilled chorizo, roasted potatoes & piquillo pepper purée

Caramelised cauliflower with a spiced cannelloni bean stew

Chargrilled sweet potato, white bean puree, mint & orange honey with toasted pumpkin seeds

Roasted potatoes with brava sauce and aioli

Braised pig’s cheek, Iberico ham mash, green kale and chestnuts

Almond tart & mascarpone mousse

Pastel de nata (handmade custard tart) each

We had 2 bottles of the excellent Lembranzas Albariño Rias Baixas 2018 (£38)

And two bottles of a very good pinot noir from Romania - Calusari Pinot Noir 2018 (£28)

Service was friendly and accommodating and in a wonderful atmosphere, with great vibes.

The bill came to £65 per head for a quite substantial amount of food and four bottles of wine. (we probably ordered, too much, but that, is normally the case!)

We met at the Edinburgh Castle, which is directly opposite Canto, for a drink before the meal, which also, seemed to be an excellent venue.

Food is served Monday – Tuesday: closed Wednesday – Thursday: 5 pm –10.30 pm Friday–Sunday: 12 pm – 10.30 pm

CANTO Cutting Room Square, Blossom Street, Ancoats, Manchester, M4 5DH 0161 870 59

Twitter @CantoMcr

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TWITTER - @RenoirGuides

INSTAGRAM - @renoirspanishguides 


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