Yorkshire next on the menu for El Gato Negro

AWARD-WINNING chef Simon Shaw and his business partners at Mills Hill Developments are searching for a site in Leeds for El Gato Negro their widely acclaimed Spanish restaurant concept, TheBusinessDesk.com can reveal.

El Gato Negro which is opening on Manchester’s King Street next month after a major refurbishment of a former retail site on King Street, made a name in foodie circles when it operated in Ripponden until 2014.

Chef patron Simon Shaw, a former executive head chef at Harvey Nichols in Leeds and then at its London flagship, has teamed up with a group of experienced entrepreneurs and operators to expand the concept in the north.

Steve Bottomley, commercial director at Manchester-based Mills Hill Developments, told TheBusinessDesk.com: “As we finalise our plans for opening in Manchester our sights are firmly set on Leeds.

“We are keen to find the right location and, with a fair wind we could be open in the city at the end of this year. With this in mind, we are keen to talk to landlords, agents and developers.”

The concept, which focuses on modern and traditional Spanish flavours and techniques while taking inspiration from closer to home, was born in 2005 when Simon Shaw returned from London to open his first restaurant in a empty former pub in Ripponden.

Over the next few years its reputation and profile grew. In 2009 El Gato Negro was crowned best local Spanish restaurant in the country on Gordon Ramsay’s F Word Channel 4 show.

The Times ranked it the number one tapas bar in the country; and finally the Michelin Guide awarded a prestigious Bib Gourmand to the restaurant in 2014 and 2015.