Taste of Portugal comes to North Manchester

The new venue

The trendy area of Ancoats is about to get even hipper thanks to the arrival of a brand new restaurant with the highest credentials.

Canto, which has been launched by Simon Shaw and Carlos Gomes, promises to bring a touch of Portugal to North Manchester.

The duo are the award winning team behind El Gato Negro – which is widely regarded as one of Manchester’s best restaurants.

The interior design and food on offer pays homage to Portuguese tradition and culture, with beautiful sea-blue tiled walls and bright open spaces.

A feature wall of photos taken in Manchester and Porto underlines the connections between the two cities’ industrial heritage.

And the high ceilings, exposed wooden beams and distressed furniture provide a nod to the location’s past, and a warm and lived-in feel.

The chefs at work

The open kitchen stands in the centre of the airy open plan restaurant, with bar stools inviting customers to pull up a seat and catch a glimpse of the chef and his team at work.

Meanwhile large ceiling to floor glass windows flooding the restaurant with natural light and offering an unrivalled view of Cutting Room Square and the surrounding area.

Head chef Carlos Gomes said: “I’m really in love with the space.

“It’s very true of a venue you would find in Porto – a simple, easy, open space, somewhere that lets the food and conversation speak. It fits into the area perfectly and already feels like home; I’m looking forward to opening the doors.”

The design was by Mark Mason of Mark Mason Design.

El Gato Negro founder and Creative Director Simon Shaw added: “Mark’s done a brilliant job. When launching a new restaurant, as strange as it sounds, you want it to already feel lived in; Canto does. It feels right that we’re here and already a part of the community.

“That’s what neighbourhood restaurants are all about.”

Canto opens to the public this week serving brunch (weekends only), lunch and dinner across the one floor, six days a week.

The menu sees simple, modern, authentic Portuguese food complemented by some of the country’s great regional wines.

Canto, is Portuguese for ‘corner’, and the restaurant is on the ground floor of the Fairbairn Building on Henry Street.

Carlos and Simon

Porto-born Carlos Gomes is the head chef at El Gato Negro in King Street, and previously sous and then head chef at Michelin-starred Barrafina in London.

Like its award-winning sister venue the new restaurant will focus on simple, modern, confident and distinctive dishes.

But this time with the emphasis on modern Portuguese cuisine. Dishes will be cooked to order using the freshest and finest seasonal ingredients sourced from local and Portuguese suppliers.



Simon Shaw said: “I first visited Lisbon about 20 years ago and thought it a really cool place, raw but great.

“Seven years later I returned and there was a real movement taking place, a city with edge.

“The Portuguese food movement is in its infancy in the UK but it’s happening, with some really great restaurants emerging in London in the last few years.

“It would be easy for me to open another Spanish restaurant but I wanted a fresh challenge and to take people on a journey.

“It’s always been on my radar to open a modern Portuguese restaurant and when Carlos joined the team with the same long-term vision, everything fell into place. It was like we were in the right place, with the right team, at the right time.

“We feel Manchester is ready for this, and Ancoats is the perfect location.”