RestaurantsWest YorkshireLeedsLS1

survey result

Summary

£208
£££££
3
Good
3
Good
2
Average
* Based on a three course dinner, half a bottle of wine, coffee, cover charge, service and VAT.

The “culinary theatre” of Michael O’Hare’s moody basement (to which it relocated a few years ago) has made it one of the UK’s better known gastronomic temples, and it’s become something of a standard-bearer for the city’s foodie credentials. But it put in a very mixed performance in this year’s annual diners’ poll. Even those who “love it and feel its place in the Michelin is well deserved” – and there are still many of them – can find it “witheringly expensive”. Meanwhile, skeptics worry that it’s becoming “all show and no go”: “I liked the first iteration, when it was located on the top floor of Flannels, but two subsequent visits to the current basement location have led me to conclude it’s just soulless, with food that’s OK but which has not moved on” (“putting a prawn on top of a telephone doesn’t make it taste better!”) and “an entry-level price for wine that’s ridiculous”. The message may be getting through, as – with much fanfare – in May 2023 Michael launched a ‘Menu Rapide’ in response to the cost of living crisis, providing four courses for £40 or six courses for £60 per person. BREAKING NEWS. Actually, it looks like the penny has completely dropped, as – in late October 2023 – Michael announced that the restaurant is to close at the end of 2023 and relaunch under a new name; and with a ‘more accessible’ (we think that means less expensive) format in February 2024. Don’t worry though: the style will still be ‘out there’ – it’s to be themed around a seafood surf shack, and called ‘Psycho Sandbar’.

Summary

£63
  £££
4
Very Good
4
Very Good
4
Very Good
* Based on a three course dinner, half a bottle of wine, coffee, cover charge, service and VAT.

“Pure gastronomic theatre and drama” has won national fame for Michael O’Hare and – after some ups and downs in feedback over recent years – his moody and “romantic” basement in the city centre reestablished itself this year as the most commented-on venue in Leeds in our annual diners’ poll. From a 10-14-course tasting menu, “the food pushes the limits of taste like at the Fat Duck and some dishes go a little far (oyster in a dessert?)”. Not everyone’s super-impressed, with the odd reporter feeling that “while the food’s good, it’s clear that everyone involved fancies themselves too much”. Significant disappointments are notable by their absence, though, with most diners feeling the place is on dazzling form.

Summary

£63
  £££
4
Very Good
4
Very Good
2
Average
* Based on a three course dinner, half a bottle of wine, coffee, cover charge, service and VAT.

“Michael O’Hare is a great innovator and leader of his team” and has won fame for this (perhaps excessively monochrome) basement in the city-centre. “All staff are exceptional and work as a team and the chefs bring some of the courses out and explain the concepts” of a wild and wacky gastronomic journey whose tasting menu aims for showmanship and culinary fireworks. No gripes this year about the pricing and ratings for the experience were consistently very high. That said, there is not quite the huge volume of feedback it once inspired.

Summary

£119
£££££
3
Good
3
Good
2
Average
* Based on a three course dinner, half a bottle of wine, coffee, cover charge, service and VAT.

“Everything about The Man Behind The Curtain is exciting, delivering star quality without being stuffy and dry!” – Michael O’Hare’s “genuinely exceptional and innovative” city-centre venture is “set in a basement, but a really trendy and modern one”, and he has carved his major gastronomic reputation with “serious food with a sense of fun and almost ridiculous attention to detail”. But whereas most reporters remain dazzled by his culinary pyrotechnics (not to mention the crockery!), ratings are again sapped by a minority for whom the performance is not terrible but “vastly overrated”, not helped by prices – in particular for wine – which can be a bit “galling”.

For 33 years we've been curating reviews of the UK's most notable restaurant. In a typical year, diners submit over 50,000 reviews to create the most authoritative restaurant guide in the UK. Each year, the guide is re-written from scratch based on this survey (although for the 2021 edition, reviews are little changed from 2020 as no survey could run for that year).

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Restaurant details

Highchair
No dress code
34

The Man Behind The Curtain Restaurant Diner Reviews

Reviews of The Man Behind The Curtain Restaurant in LS1, Leeds by users of Hardens.com. Also see the editors review of The Man Behind The Curtain restaurant.
Paul F
Strikingly exceptional A venue I had wanted...
Reviewed 8 months,

"Strikingly exceptional A venue I had wanted to visit for a very long time! We met chef, who is unquestionably one of the nicest people I have met. The restaurant is so very him. The decor, the presentation and the staff all perfectly encapsulate everything that is brilliant about this man with boundless personality and remarkable skills of gastronomy. We loved every Innovative course one gem after another. Fine dining with attitude not one to miss"

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Prices

  Cost Availability Courses
Menu1 85.00 Lunch only 8
Menu2 145.00 Dinner only 12
Drinks  
Wine per bottle £70.00
Filter Coffee £5.00
Extras  
Service 12.50%
Lower Ground Floor Flannels, Leeds, LS1 7JH
Opening hours
MondayCLOSED
TuesdayCLOSED
Wednesday6:30 pm‑8 pm
Thursday1 pm‑2 pm, 6:30 pm‑8 pm
Friday1 pm‑2 pm, 6:30 pm‑8 pm
Saturday1 pm‑2 pm, 6:30 pm‑8 pm
SundayCLOSED

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