The special menu includes three small plates and bottomless sangria

The story behind the name "El Gato Negro" is an interesting one. It translates into English as "the black cat" and was a phrase that struck a chord with chef patron and creative director Simon Shaw during one of his rambles around Madrid. He jotted it down on a piece of paper, tucked it away in a notebook and forgot all about it - until 15 years later, when he was in the early stages of starting his own tapas restaurant.

I’m not sure where the last three years have gone but we’ve loved every minute of them here at Exchange Flags.

It was at that very moment that the piece of paper he had scribbled on over a decade before decided to fall from the book during a tidy-up and he knew that he had nailed the name of his restaurant. Well, you know what they say about black cats and luck…

El Gato Negro Exchange Flags Looking Out Pr
Looking out onto Exchange Flags Image: PR

Simon opened the first El Gato Negro in Manchester’s King Street in February 2016. The second opened at Exchange Flags, Liverpool in August 2019 and the third on Park Row, Leeds, in November 2019. The brand has become one of the North West’s most successful restaurants.

The Liverpool restaurant has its own identity, of course. Located in the heart of Exchange Flags and with a big heated terrace looking directly across to Nelson Monument, El Gato Negro is recognised for its unique take on small plates and cocktails served in one of the most beautiful buildings in Liverpool. The restaurant and bar has served over half a million small plates to guests since opening three years ago.

El Gato Negro Liverpool Exchange Flags Pr
It's quite the view of the Town Hall Image: PR
El Gato Negro Liverpool Interior Pr
Spanish vibes inside the restaurant Image: PR

Lucy Silcock, general manager at El Gato Negro, has been with the business from launch. Lucy said, “I’m not sure where the last three years have gone but we’ve loved every minute of them here at Exchange Flags, Liverpool.”

To celebrate the occasion, El Gato is bringing back “Tipsy Tapas” for the August Bank Holiday. Guests can enjoy three small plates and bottomless sangria, Bandarra spritz, bellinis, fizz, white wine, red wine, or lager for just £40.

El Gato Negro Bellinis Prosecco
Happy purr-thday El Gato Negro Image: PR
El Gato Negro Tipsy Tapas Pr
Whisker me away Image: PR

Dishes include the “bikini” - a toasted sandwich with jamòn serrano, Manchego & truffle butter. The special menu also includes padrón peppers with Halen Môn sea salt; salt cod fritters with tartar sauce; crispy fried baby squid with lemon aioli; mini Catalan chorizo with Aspall cider; chargrilled chicken skewers, chickpea purée, salsa verde; and patatas bravas with spiced tomato fritarda sauce and aioli. 

A selection of the restaurant’s most popular desserts also feature including tarta Santiago with ginger and honey cream; mini Basque cheesecake with biscoff sauce and caramel tuile; and chocolate brownie with chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream.

El Gato Negro Mini Catalan Chorizo
Pawsome - Catalan chorizo Image: PR
El Gato Negro Padron Peppers
Padron peppers look fur-miliar Image: PR

Lucy said, “We’re looking forward to raising a glass to our third anniversary with guests and embracing what we’re sure will be a fantastic bank holiday weekend.  Our Tipsy Tapas events are incredibly popular with this one promising to be extra special.  Whilst walk-ins are always welcome we encourage guests to book in advance so as not to be disappointed.”

For those looking to celebrate with friends ahead of the weekend, El Gato Negro has introduced carafes of red wine, white wine, and cava sangria for £12, available every day from 12pm - 4pm and all day on Sunday when dining from the à la carte menu.

Tipsy Tapas is available from Friday 26 August to Sunday 28 August. Reservations are based on a 90-minute sitting. The last Tipsy Tapas session is at 4pm.  

Walker House Exchange Flags, Liverpool L2 3YL

Read next: Baltic Quarter's Manifest up for two gongs at British Restaurant Awards

Read again: ‘As bewitching as the Black Cat itself’ - El Gato Negro, Exchange Flags, reviewed

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