Everyone loves a restaurant with innate atmosphere, and Habas is definitely one for that list. Situated in the former wine cellar of the historic Manchester Club building — once a meeting ground for the city’s elite, now a refurbished state-of-the-art office address with shared working areas — descend below the commercial space to find a low-lit lower ground floor dining room complete with dark wood bar area, discreet booths, ornate light fittings, ceiling greenery and open brickwork, accentuating the heritage of the address, paying homage to the hidden gem eateries of the Middle East that inspired this menu, while keeping things 100% contemporary.
A younger addition to the El Gato Negro family — which also includes the exceptional Canto — while its siblings hone in on southern European bites Habas looks further afield to the Levant, Arabian Gulf, Turkey and their neighbours. Headed up by Chef Patron and Creative Director Simon Shaw, no stranger to praise from the city’s foodies, dishes coming out of this open kitchen certainly prove his reputation. Using fresh, seasonal produce, guests can pick from a traditional Mezze menu, and a range of Meat, Fish and Vegetarian options, for example Batata Harra (spiced fried potatoes with garlic and tahini), Syrian Lentils, Chargrilled Octopus, Merguez Cocktail Sausages, and Chicken Curry Tagine.
Larger sharing platters are also available, ideal for either veggies or carnivores, with desserts bringing up the back via Chocolate Babka, Baked Alaska, and Medjool Date and Orange Cake, nodding to the core cuisine. Drinks match, with Beirut Beer, Orange Wine, whites and reds from Lebanon, in addition to a number of other regions and countries celebrated for viticulture. All day Tuesdays to Friday customers can punt for a trio of small plates or Tuesday to Friday until 5PM a set lunch menu, while Fridays 12-5PM and Saturday 12-4PM you can add bottomless drinks to those three light bites for what they’ve dubbed Tipsy Tapas.