July 2017: Michael O'Hare will move his flagship restaurant to the ground floor of its existing Leeds building in September, to a site that is double the size. The interior will undergo a £1m refit.
Harden's survey result
“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”.
“Takes all your prejudices and chucks ’em out of the window” – Michael O’Hare’s wild and wacky city-centre four-year-old continues to astound and delight its large fan base with multi-course extravaganzas that are a total wow: “pure theatre”, with “sensational” dishes (“beautifully artistic presentations, without losing any balance of texture or flavour”) delivered by “great northern servers who cut through the potential pretension”. There’s no hiding, however, that it has put in a more mixed performance since it moved in October 2017 from the quirky rooftop space over the Flannels department store to the newly-converted basement below it, with a vocal minority of refuseniks now dragging ratings down: “not as good as it used to be…”, “more style over substance now…”, “chef seems to be playing the ‘superstar’, but the food can be disappointing”.
“The novelty of entering through Flannels menswear shop provides amusement on both the way in and out” of Michael O’Hare’s “avant garde” city-centre venture – an “airy” rooftop space over a store (and bizarrely approached through it). Its fame has spread nowadays as a “never-had-anything-like-it” experience (“if you can actually get a table”) – featuring “food as theatre” from “truly memorable” 10-course or 14-course tasting menus, all in a style that’s “gastronomic but not pompous”. “The wine-pairing is excellent too; intelligently done, and very good value”. It’s not for everyone. Even fans concede that “the food can be a bit of an assault on the senses”, and while they say that’s “in a brilliant way”, there are a few sceptics to whom it “feels a bit like Emperor’s New Clothes: too rich and with too little variation”. More commonly though, it’s judged “totally inspiring”.
Amongst the most notable restaurants in the UK – Michael Hare’s “unforgettable and must-visit” city-centre venue is “truly unique and improving exponentially”. It’s “a barn of a room” – a rooftop space over a men’s clothes store, bizarrely entered through a shop – but service is “exemplary” and in any case you are here for the cooking: “a tour de force of whimsical and exciting food” (“some dishes reduced us to giggling schoolchildren at their brilliant audacity”) from an “utterly beguiling” menu that “superficially looks gimmicky, but what it delivers is just remarkably delicious”.
The Man Behind The Curtain Restaurant Diner Reviews
"Some excellent dishes, some a bit average. Strange booking policy - pay in advance and no cancellations or refunds. Riding high currently, will it stay there?"
|Wine per bottle||£38.00|
Top Floor Flannels, 68-78 Vicar Ln, Leeds, LS1 7JH
|Tuesday||6 pm-8:15 pm|
|Wednesday||6 pm-8:15 pm|
|Thursday||6 pm-8:15 pm|
|Friday||12:15 pm-2 pm, 6 pm-9:30 pm|
|Saturday||12:15 pm-2 pm, 5 pm-9:30 pm|