New Portuguese restaurant, Canto, has just opened in Ancoats. Owned by Simon Shaw of El Gato Negro fame, head chef is 31-year-old Porto-born Carlos Gomes. Gomes was head chef at London’s acclaimed Barrafina, before heading up El Gato – and Shaw describes him as a genius. Fortunately, the Ancoats location has plenty in its favour too, with the area around Cutting Room Square packed with some of Manchester’s best new openings in years; a new branch of Sugo, cocktail bar Jane Eyre, Elnecot and Pollen bakery to name but a few. However Canto still manages to stand out with a vibe that’s best described as Manc-industrial. Concrete and brickwork are warmed by natural materials (leather, cork, blue tiles) and an open kitchen and bar. The team have used the same designer as at El Gato – Mark Mason of Mark Mason Design – but, actually, that’s where the similarities between the two brands end, as Canto is more casual than El Gato. The space feels like it’s designed for dropping in and hanging out, a fact which is reflected in the menu. Think brunches of caco bread (muffin-like bread, made with potato) with scrambled eggs, smoked pancetta, black pudding, cured pork loin, roasted peppers, São Jorge cheese – and more. Sweet treats include homemade ice creams, almond tarts  – and the famous pastéis de nata, of course. Mains include Portuguese steak sandwiches (prego – pictured), clams with white wine and coriander, braised pig’s cheeks with chestnuts and a hearty octopus dish with roast potatoes and pickled onions. Watch this space for a review.

Now open: Canto, Fairbairn Unit A, Fairbairn Building, Henry Street, Manchester, M4 5DH
Tel: 0161 870 5904,

Fri 21 Sep
Ruth Allan
Published on:
Mon 24 Sep 2018