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Opening date revealed for Simon Shaw’s new Middle Eastern restaurant

Like El Gato Negro and Canto, the menu at Habas will centre around small plates, larger dishes and feasting platters - here's what to expect

Top chef and restaurateur Simon Shaw has revealed the opening date for his much-anticipated third restaurant, Habas.

Located at 43a Brown Street, in the former wine cellar of the historic Manchester Club building, the modern Middle Eastern restaurant and bar will provide premium drinks, dining and live music until late. 

News of the launch comes as work to the restaurant reaches a significant milestone, with all construction work complete, heritage features lovingly restored, and the first of Habas’s signature furnishings introduced, injecting new life into the beautiful Grade II building.

When it launches on 3rd June, Habas will have four distinct spaces ranged across one floor: the main restaurant, featuring a vast open kitchen; the bar, where guests can enjoy signature Middle Eastern and classic cocktails, alongside a selection of premium wines, spirits, and beers; and a relaxed lounge featuring live music until late.

There will also be a private dining room, accommodating parties of up to 16. 

“I don’t want to give too much away but what I can promise you is that it all tastes bloody great,” says Simon.

“It’s phenomenal just how much people’s appetites have evolved over recent years. 

“Back in the late ’90s you’d have struggled to have found Middle Eastern restaurants outside of London.

“Even there, they existed largely to feed the local community, people from Middle Eastern countries and living in London, it was almost regional to them. 

“Times have changed and there’s a whole new wave of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine coming through. 

“It’s an amazing style of food, simplistic but with a real depth of flavour that blows you away. 

“It’s what excited me about it as a chef and I think it will have really broad appeal.”

Like its sibling restaurants – multi-award-winning El Gato Negro, and Canto, which recently received a Michelin Plate – the menu will centre around a generous number of small plates, coupled with larger dishes and feasting platters.

Simon has so far revealed details of six dishes: homemade garlic and herb flatbread with hummus and zhug; Middle Eastern raw slaw with pomegranate molasses; bata harra – spicy fried potatoes with dill sour cream; beetroot hummus with Greek yoghurt and dill; feta cheese, wilted spinach and sunblush tomato filo cigars; and spiced lamb ‘jackets’- fried potato skins filled with spiced lamb, served with mint yoghurt.

“Middle Eastern cuisine has many influences and Habas is a fusion of all,” says the chef.  

“It’s about ingredients. There are lots of connections to Spanish food, the Syrian lentils, lamb meatballs and spiced aubergine dishes enjoyed at El Gato Negro all lean towards the style of cuisine.

“I suppose part of my mind was already on it. 

“I’m really looking forward to unveiling the full menu, it’s been a real labour of love. 

“There’s something for everyone, whether you’re dining as a table of two, six or twenty. 

“It’s a really inclusive style of dining.”

Habas, 43a Brown Street, will launch on 3rd June with reservations to open in the coming days. Find out more at

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