The Man Behind The Curtain
|The Man Behind The Curtain|
|Current owner(s)||Michael O'Hare|
|Head chef||Michael O'Hare|
|Food type||Modernist cuisine|
|Rating|| Michelin Guide|
|Street address||68-78 Vicar Lane|
The Man Behind The Curtain is a restaurant in Leeds, West Yorkshire, England, which was opened in 2014 by chef Michael O'Hare. The restaurant has a reputation for modern and often unusual food, with modern and artistic presentation. It was awarded a Michelin star in October 2015 and three AA Rosettes in 2016. It is currently the only restaurant in Leeds which holds a Michelin star and the second restaurant in the city to have been awarded one.
O'Hare had previously worked as the head chef at The Blind Swine in York, but considered Leeds a more suitable location for high-end dining and opened The Man Behind The Curtain in 2014. The restaurant is located on Vicar Lane above Flannels clothes shop and takes its name from a line in The Wizard of Oz - 'pay no attention to that man behind the curtain'. After opening the restaurant without a name, O'Hare said: "I get a lot of people asking me if I'm the man behind the curtain. You can't stop it, but you can mock it." It is currently the only restaurant in Leeds which holds a Michelin star and the second restaurant in the city to have been awarded one, the first being Jeff Baker's Bistro Moderne which closed in 2013.
The restaurant seats up to forty people and is decorated in artwork by O'Hare's friend Schoph and features sculptures by Gareth Griffiths. O'Hare describes the food and ambience of the restaurant as not "particularly based on what I wanted, but on what I hated and didn’t want."
After opening, The Man Behind The Curtain soon gained a reputation for very modern and often unusual dishes including olives wrapped in edible cellophane, salt and vinegar ox cheek and chocolate pudding and pork rinds. The dishes also have imaginative names, such as 'The Insecurity of Postmen in Oakley Sunglasses' and 'Inception of a Spacecat in Black'. O'Hare doesn't consider himself to have been inspired by anyone, saying “I don’t think you have to say ‘I am inspired by ‘X’... I want things first and foremost to look great. Anyone [at this level] can make something taste nice." He is also keen not to draw comparisons to Noma having worked there under acclaimed chef René Redzepi, saying "it’s not what we are doing here.” The Man Behind The Curtain serves a twelve-course dégustation menu, with O'Hare describing a lot of food as "quite Spanish" because it is the style of food he enjoys eating.
Writing in The Guardian in 2015, Marina O'Loughlin said "there are items that jar" but "if a chef can put a silky foam of potato laced with puffed wild rice on top of an elaborate chocolate dessert and have you laughing out loud as you fight over it (turns out it’s scented like a salt and vinegar crisp), he’s doing something very right." In a review for Great British Chefs, Gemma Harrison wrote "it blew my mind – and I can’t wait to go back and have it blown all over again." Time Out rated the restaurant 4 stars out of 5 in 2016 and said, although not cheap, "a destination restaurant that’s truly worth a visit."
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- O'Loughlin, Marina (6 March 2015). "The Man Behind The Curtain, Leeds - restaurant review". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 October 2016.
- "Six things you need to know about The Man Behind The Curtain". Yorkshire Evening Post. Retrieved 12 October 2016.
- Behrens, David. "Michael steps from behind curtain to bring Michelin star to Leeds". Yorkshire Evening Post. Retrieved 15 October 2016.
- "Jeff Baker: 'We had good times and great memories'". York Press. Retrieved 15 October 2016.
- Harrison, Gemma. "The Man Behind The Curtain review - Great British Chefs". Great British Chefs. Retrieved 14 October 2016.
- "The Man Behind the Curtain". Time Out Leeds. Retrieved 14 October 2016.
- Behrens, David (2015-09-16). "Michael steps from behind curtain to bring Michelin star to Leeds". Yorkshire Evening Post. Retrieved 2015-10-22.
- "Leeds restaurant The Man Behind The Curtain awarded Michelin star". Timeout.com. 2015-09-09. Retrieved 2015-10-22.
- Love, Laura (27 September 2016). "The Man Behind the Curtain: Eston chef's eatery awarded rosettes". gazettelive. Retrieved 14 October 2016.