Blink and Gary Usher opens a new restaurant, or so it seems. The chef and restaurateur already has five successful bistros to his name across the region – but this will be his first opening in Manchester city centre.

Opening in February 2019 on King Street, KALA will be a 55-cover restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner with a separate 15-cover bar space.

The sixth restaurant for the Elite Bistros group follows in the footsteps of critically acclaimed Sticky Walnut in Hoole, Burnt Truffle in Heswall, Hispi in Didsbury, Wreckfish in Liverpool, and Pinion in Prescot, Merseyside, which saw £50k raised in less than an hour following a hugely successful crowdfunding campaign.

Gary is excited to open his first restaurant in the city centre, as it has been a longstanding ambition for him.

“When I worked at Room on King Street 15 years ago, I never would have imagined that I would be opening a restaurant here myself,” he says.

“It has always been a dream to have a bistro in Manchester but the money has just never been there so when this opportunity for KALA came along, I just couldn’t pass it up.”

Photo: MFDF

Headed by Zhelyazko Zhelyazkov, or ‘Jiji’, who has previously worked at the two Michelin star Moor Hall and Raby Hunt, the KALA menu will feature bistro style dishes such as burrata, beef tartare, braised featherblade, a monkfish, spinach and tomato fondue, apple tart and crème caramel, as well as bread baked on-site and the famed truffle and parmesan chips we all love at Hispi.

The city-centre restaurant will also offer an all-day menu at the bar, featuring small, simple British dishes such as pigs head sausage roll and pickled eggs.

“KALA will retain our core values – great food, a lovely atmosphere and brilliant customer service, but I think guests will have a little bit of a different experience here than at the other bistros,” says Gary.

“The interiors will be a little bit more modern than the other restaurants but still have that really lovely, comfortable vibe.

“I’m really excited for guests to see the bar space. We’ve put our heart and soul into making it a place where you really want to spend some time – whether you’re dining alone or with friends and family.”

Managed by Katy Mills, formerly assistant manager at Wreckfish in Liverpool, the restaurant will feature a more contemporary interior than Usher’s other bistros. An onyx-coloured pillar will take centre-stage, with the shade echoed throughout space, and polished concrete flooring.

As well as the separate bar, which will feature plush bar stools to encourage comfortable dining in ‘your own space’, the bistro will have an open kitchen and ‘pastry pass’, where guests will be able to watch the signature tarts being made.

KALA will open on King Street in February 2019. The restaurant is currently running a competition to win a five-course dinner for 10. To enter, simply take a photograph of yourself and nine friends in front of the KALA hoarding on King Street and upload to Twitter, tagging @Kala_Manchester. The winner will be announced on Christmas Eve.

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