Pep Guardiola's three-storey Catalan restaurant launches on Friday 20th July
It might have proved a tricky restaurant site in recent years for its previous occupants, but that hasn't shaken the confidence of this new Catalan collective fronted by multi Michelin starred chef Paco Perez and multi trophy winning Man City boss Pep Guardiola.
The pair plan to open Tast Cuina Catalana at 20 King Street on Friday 20th July, and have turned up as mob-handed as their homeland's famous Castellers de Vilafranca (human tower builders), with investors including Man City top brass Txiki Begiristain and Ferran Soriano, head chef Miquel Villacrosa (a protege of Paco's from his restaurants in Girona and Berlin) and Fazenda co-owners Tomas Maunier and Robert Melman, who have brought the lot together.
Spread over three floors (named after the three levels of Castellers: Pinya, Folre and Enxaneta), the 120-cover restaurant is a medley of modern and traditional design, with Catalan tiling, Scandi wood, contemporary lights, white tablecloths and marble giving each floor a distinct character as you move through the building.
Tast features no less than three kitchens, one on each floor, serving a casual dining bar area on the ground floor, a main dining room on the first floor and a private dining room on the top level.
Catalonia has a distinctive identity and culture from that of Spain and our ambition is to introduce people to its wonderful tastes and flavours
But what of the food? Well, the menu remains guarded until opening, but Perez says: "My vision for this restaurant is simple: for the people of Manchester to be able to experience the amazing Tastets of Catalonia."
A tastet, they say, "is a word of Catalan origin meaning 'a small taste of food'". It is supposedly 'more complex than tapas', though 'still smaller than a plate' - intriguing.
As well as tastets, starters and mains in the main dining room, Tast will also serve a tasting menu (or Tast-ing menu, no?) on the top floor in the private dining rooms.
Despite Paco's Michelin star pedigree, bosses are keen to stress that Tast will not be chasing awards, but will focus instead on creating a 'warm and friendly' space which celebrates the best of Catalan food and wine, from its world-renowned seafood to it's world-beating wines, such as Montsant and Priorat.
“We are hugely excited to be working with these amazing creative talents," says co-owner 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.”
(Note: images taken during work in progress)