For Las Ramblas, read King Street. Or should that be Calle Rey?
Manchester’s classiest thoroughfare is soon to boast its second top notch Spanish restaurant with the opening of Tast Cuina Catalana next month.
Roughly translated as “taste from the Catalan kitchen”, it’s evident from the start that Tast Cuina Catalana means business with a menu conceived by multi-Michelin starred Calatan chef Paco Pérez and backers including Manchester City’s manager Pep Guardiola, director of football Txiki Begiristain and chief executive Ferran Soriano.
Executive Chef Paco is the renowned international chef-patron of two Michelin 2* restaurants: Miramar in Llançà (Girona) and Enoteca at the Arts Hotel in Barcelona, a city where he has six restaurants in all. He is also behind the Michelin 1* Restaurant Cinco at the Hotel Das Stue in Berlin.
Head chef at Tast will be Miquel Villacrosa, formerly head chef at Restaurant Cinco after a year at Miramar. Miquel, 27, is a Catalan who grew up in Sant Hilari Sacalm, a small mountain town where he helped out in his parents’ restaurant.
“Sant Hilari Sacalm is a small town, lost in the mountains, with a lot of water, mushroom culture and gamey gastronomy – so you can imagine how shocked I was my first time in Miramar,” says Miquel.
“I fell in love with Paco’s vision of cuisine and how he was as a chef and as a person – he cared for me like no one before.
“I consider myself an ambitious person and a passionate learner who never gives up, who tries to be a good leader and to do things a bit better every day, as Paco has taught me. When he asked me to be head chef in Manchester it was a challenge I just had to accept.”
Pep Guardiola, Txiki Begiristain and Ferran Soriano are among the investors in the restaurant. Acting in a personal capacity, the investors have teamed up with the independent Fazenda group, whose directors’ passion for South American cuisine has made their award-winning ‘rodizio’ grilled meat restaurants in Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester and recently-opened Edinburgh a success.
Tast will have 120 covers over three floors, with a casual dining and bar area on the ground floor, a first-floor dining room and a second floor with private rooms offering a tasting menu.
Despite Paco Pérez’s record, Tast Cuina Catalan is said to be “not pursuing awards, but will simply create a warm and friendly atmosphere for anyone wishing to experience the best of Catalan food and drink.”
Catalonia is renowned worldwide for its gastronomy. Geographically diverse, it produces a variety of fresh, high-quality seafood, meat, poultry, fruit and vegetables. The Mediterranean Sea and the Pyrenees are the perfect environment for unique produce, and its distinctive cuisine benefits from both French and Spanish influences.
The region also produces some of the best old world wines with renowned D.O.’s (Denominació d’Origen) including Penedès, Montsant, Empordà, Tarragona and Costers del Segre, and one D.O.C (Denominació d’Origen Controlada), Priorat.
“We are delighted to bring the Catalan cuisine to Manchester and to be part of the amazing team behind Tast,” says Paco Pérez.
As well as serving traditional Catalan starters and mains, Tast will offer ‘tastets’ – small portions and nibbles to savour and to share. ‘Tastet’ is a word of Catalan origin meaning ‘a small taste of food’, more complex than tapas though still smaller than a plate. Tastets can be served alone as an appetiser, or as a small collection for a complete meal.
“We are hugely excited to be working with these amazing creative talents,” says Fazenda director Robert Melman. “Catalonia has a distinctive identity and culture from that of Spain and our ambition is to introduce people to its wonderful tastes and flavours.
“Paco’s reputation is immense and we will serve some of his and Pep’s favourite Catalan dishes, both traditional and with innovative modern twists.”
Tast, opening in the space formerly occupied by amitious fine dining restaurant Quill, then Suri, will begin taking bookings from 1st July via 0161 806 0547 or firstname.lastname@example.org.