Simon Shaw, the chef and creative director behind acclaimed Manchester restaurants El Gato Negro and Canto, has revealed plans to open a third site in the city. Called Habas, the new restaurant will be located on Brown Street in the basement of the Grade-II former Reform Club building, with a menu inspired by Shaw’s love of Middle-Eastern cuisine.

Inspired by the likes of The Barberry and Palomar in the capital, we’re expecting another ingredients-driven, small plates concept – a style which we already know he does very well. Taking over what was previously Panama Hatty’s, plans for Habas were initially lodged with the council last year but – like many new openings planned for 2020 – hit a few obstacles along the way.

Whilst there is already some modern Middle Eastern influence to be found in his dishes at El Gato, Shaw has been keen for some time to expand on this with a new restaurant dedicated to the region’s diverse cuisines. He will be heading up the kitchen himself, supported by senior sous chef Craig Rutherford.

“I was probably into Middle Eastern food before Spanish if I’m honest. It was back in ’98 when i was living in London that I first became interested in it, going for a shawarma late at night was our thing,” says Shaw. “We’d go to these incredible places on Edgeware Road or in Bayswater after work […] I remember thinking wow, what a great style of food this is, it’s amazing, so fresh and vibrant.”

Opening later this spring, Habas will also have a late-night live music and bar offering. The restaurant will join Shaw’s Spanish tapas site El Gato Negro and its Portuguese sister site Canto, both recognised in the 2021 Michelin Guide 2021 – awarded a Michelin Bib Gourmand and a prestigious Michelin Plate respectively.

Thu 1 Apr, Habas,
43A Brown Street, Manchester, M2 2JJ
Georgina Pellant
Published on:
Thu 1 Apr 2021