CHESTER is home to a great variety of restaurants, so when choosing a place to eat it is hard to know where to begin. The city welcomed a new restaurant in September this year in its oldest medieval house, International tapas bar and restaurant El Gato Negro, or The Black Cat in English.
After a long day and a chilly night I was looking forward to escaping to Spain by eating all the tapas I could manage in the comfort of the warmly lit historic building, conveniently located on the walk into town.
I was expecting great food after spending eight months in Murcia, Spain where the tapas was so delicious I ate it at any given opportunity, and with an authentic Spanish greeting from waiter Antonio from Granada and a cosy, intimate atmosphere I was looking forward to the night ahead.
I ordered seven different tapas dishes to share with my mother. After conversing with Antonio in Spanish about his favourite dish the sticky ribs, we eagerly ordered it straight away, but we were disappointed on arrival. The description of the ribs on the menu is that they fall off the bone which was accurate, but the sauce was not to my liking as it had quite a bitter taste.
I did enjoy the Manchego cheese which was accompanied by figs, as I thought the sweetness and texture of the two worked together beautifully. Sadly I was disappointed with the tortilla and battered white fish which were both quite dry.
I had been keen to try Pan Catalan for the first time, described on the menu as Catalan bread (garlic infused bread with fresh tomato), but I did not get the opportunity to try it because I was presented with garlic bread instead, an entirely different dish on the menu.
On the whole it was a disappointing meal. The most positive aspects were the friendly staff, generally good service and inviting atmosphere, which make it ideal for an evening out with friends or simply somewhere to call in to escape the cold after a long day Christmas shopping. I may have caught them on a bad night, but the food quality for 7:30pm on a Friday evening was not what was expected.
Food quality **
Chester Intelligencer reporter, Alexandra Murdey