El Gato Negro founder Simon Shaw has teased a first glimpse of the menu for his new opening Habas – a Middle Eastern restaurant set to launch in Manchester this summer.
Housed in the former wine cellar of the historic Manchester Club building just off King Street, the hotly-anticipated venue is tipped to welcome its first customers in June.
Habas will focus predominantly on small plates, and given how this concept has enjoyed huge success at multi-award-winning sister sites El Gato Negro and Canto (the latter was recently awarded a Michelin Plate), we know this is something Shaw does very, very well.
From tomato filo cigars to spiced lamb ‘jackets’, some intriguing creations have been revealed today – stirring excitement for this summer’s opening.
Small plates so far include a 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) and beetroot hummus with Greek yoghurt and dill.
Feta cheese, wilted spinach and sunblush tomato filo cigars have also piqued our interest piqued, along with the spiced lamb ‘jackets’ (fried potato skins filled with spiced lamb, served with mint yoghurt).
Alongside a generous small plate selection, the menu will also feature some larger dishes and feasting platters.
Speaking on the new opening, Shaw said: “Back in the late 90’s 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 & 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.”
He’s not wrong. This year alone has seen the emergence of some successful Middle Eastern pop-ups in the city, most recently Evelyn’s Pitta Shop – which saw their head chef Phil Cardy cooking up traditional Israeli pittas and babkas over the last lockdown.
From what we understand, the new menu at Habas Shaw is very much leaning into the fusion side of things – its ingredient selections making connections with the Spanish food, Syrian lentils and spiced aubergine dishes of El Gato Negro.
“Middle Eastern cuisine has many influences and Habas is a fusion of all,” added Shaw.
Describing the menu as “a real labour of love,” Shaw adds that he can’t wait to unveil it in its entirety.
“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.”
Bookings for Habas are due to become available in the coming days.
To be amongst the first to hear when reservations go live, you can sign up to the restaurant and bar’s newsletter on the Habas website.
Body found at Bolton restaurant and suspected cannabis farm days after fire
A body has been found at the site of a fire in Bolton, days after a blaze ripped through a restaurant.
It’s believed that the fire started on the first floor of the property, with early inquiries suggesting it may have been used as a cannabis farm.
Human remains were found at the premises on Bolton Road in Farnworth.
A criminal investigation is now underway and Greater Manchester Police are appealing for information and footage relating to the incident.
Emergency services had first been called to the area at around 1pm on Monday 27 November, to reports of a fire.
Earlier today, Saturday 2 December, a body was found during a search of the restaurant building, days after the fire.
Detective Chief Inspector Andrew Naismith of GMP Major Incident Team said: “Work is ongoing to identify the deceased and we are committed to ensuring the potential family members are fully supported and informed of updates in this investigation.
“The loss of life is a tragedy and I understand the upset this news will cause in the local community. I can assure you on behalf of the investigation team that we are determined to get to the bottom of what has occurred and establish the circumstances surrounding the fire.
“I can confirm this fire is being treated as suspicious and if there is any criminal responsibility, it will be brought to light and dealt with appropriately. We are particularly interested to hear from anyone who knows how this building was being used in the lead up to 27 November 2023.
“I would also like to appeal to anyone with information about the fire itself – including if you have any footage (such as CCTV, mobile or dashcam) – to contact GMP’s Major Incident Team.”
You can make a report by calling 0161 856 1995 quoting log number 1485 of 27/11/2023 or via the reporting function on GMP’s website: www.gmp.police.uk
Alternatively, you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Tameside police officers hailed ‘absolute heroes’ after saving the life of a seven-year-old girl
Two Tameside police officers have been hailed as “absolute heroes” after saving the life of a seven-year-old little girl.
It comes after emergency services were called to an address in the Greater Manchester borough of Tameside earlier this week (29 November), and found a young girl who was struggling to breath and coughing up blood after choking on a sweet.
Police Constables Aaron Kincaid and James Blundell, from Greater Manchester Police‘s (GMP) Tameside division, were first on the scene.
To the huge relief of the girl’s parents, who were said to be “understandably distressed” and concerned for her welfare, PC Kincaid jumped straight into action and was able to utilise his first aid training to full effect by going on to successfully dislodge the sweet from the youngster’s throat, and then helping to calm her down before the paramedics arrived.
Whilst PC Kincaid looked after the little girl, PC Blundell did “everything he could” to help the parents remain calm.
Paramedics then took over once they arrived, and the young girl was taken to hospital as a precaution.
Reflecting on the incident, and hailing his officers “absolute heroes”, Superintendent Mike Walsh, from GMP’s Tameside district, said: “PCs Aaron Kincaid and James Blundell acted without hesitation during the incident, and took control of the situation that they were faced with.
“They deserve every credit for staying calm under extreme pressure and for working together as a team and utilising their training to lifesaving effect, and I’m sure the girl’s parents and family will consider them to be absolute heroes.”
“We’re both glad that we were in the right place at the right time,” PC Kincaid added.
“I have a daughter the same age as the little girl who needed our help, and I cannot tell you how much of a relief it was when she started breathing normally and said she was okay after I had managed to dislodge the sweet.