12 dishes at The Man Behind the Curtain
Being a foodie and living in Leeds is definitely a winning recipe! Especially when there is a Michelin starred restaurant slap bang in the middle of town, that serves the finest food you could ever imagine, otherwise known as The Man Behind The Curtain.
A Leeds based restaurant run by Michael O’Hare set just opposite Victoria Gate shopping area. Now the restaurant is currently above the shop Flannels, meaning you have to walk through the shop to get there! So on entering the shop you are greeted at the door, asked your name of reservation and told to enter a lift at the other end of the shop floor (all very different & exciting!)
On arriving onto the floor you immediately get to grips with the experience you are about to behold. A modern gallery with artistic illustrations all over the white walls, and rock music subtly being played in the background.
Now comes the good part… GRUB!
The menu consisted of 12 tiny dishes that highlighted Michael O’Hare’s genius skills with food.
- Veal Sweetbread XO slider: Presented as a miniature burger with blackened seeds decorating to top to make it appear like a ladybug. Despite never being a fussy eater, the legend of sweetbreads can turn even me! The myth is that they are in fact the testicles of animals… gulp indeed. It is in fact the culinary name for the thymus or pancreas gland – still a little different to what we regularly experience on our plates, but hear me out this veal sweetbread was delicious!
- Hand Massaged Octopus, Capers and Lemon: I love fish. And this was great. To in keep with the mystical sea monster theme this slice of octopus was served on a sterling silver spoon, in which the handle was in the shape of an tentacle! Octopus is such a delicious thing, and surprisingly meaty – the use of lemon and capers added the bitter taste to compliment its sweet taste.
- Ajo Blanco, Frozen Tomato: Wow. Just wow. Presented in a white crater of a dish, you hear the word frozen tomato and expect this soup to be lush red. You are incorrect. This was creamy in colour and flavour, as well as being one of my favourite dishes of the evening. The freshness of taste coming from the tomato was complimented immensely with the strong tones of garlic. For a bit of trivia knowledge, ajo blanco is a chilled almond soup that is popular in the Granada region of Spain. My mum always orders it if it appears on the menu, so she was in her element!
- Denia Red Prawn, Roasted Head: A clever way of using different cooking styles to create flavour. The prawns head had been cooked, yet the tail had not. To capture more flavour we were instructed to squeeze the cooked head over the raw tail; this created a flavour that was totally new to me and super tasty!
- Foie Gras Donut: This was a suprisngly a spicy little number. The sweetness of the donut was paired with a thin slices of chilli on top which left your mouth with a warmth which pleasant with the nectarous after taste.
- Coconut Roasted Langoustine, Thai Sauce: A very simple clean dish, the delicious sweet taste of langoustine was enhanced by the coconut aspect.
- Emancipation: Those who are fans of the Great British Menu will be well aware of this signature dish. Last year Michael O’Hare was on the TV programme’s North East winner with this particular plate of food; Cod loin, cod dashi, squid ink powder, crispy potato, scorched gem lettuce and gold shoots. As the dish was presented in front of us, our senses were greeted with a smell of salt and vinegar crisps. On diving into the dish the crispy potato was moisting in the dishes sauce, complimented with the perfect example of cod loin. The best dish of the entire night.
- Wagyu Beef, Olive Juice: When being brought over by the waiter this dish was shimmering. It looked like plastic sheets laying on top of the wagyu beef, however on tasting it turned into a mouthwatering oil in our mouths. The taste of olive was perfect, not too strong and yet was definitely present.
- Iberico Pork, Garlic and Almond: I totally forgot how much I enjoyed this dish, and it’s suddenly all come flooding back to me! This was awesome. Thin slices of pork accompanied with an egg with edible shell – simply touched and the golden yoke glazed over the plate creating the most incredible flavour.
- Cardamom and Lemongrass Soup, Chilli Sorbet: And so the puddings began. This was sweet and yet the most idealic cleanse from previous tastes. On looking at the plate visually you wouldn’t believe something which looked so creamy could contain so much heat and spice!
- Milk Chocolate, Honey and Violet: Simply beautiful. This looked like something out of Star Wars! A plate swirling with orange and reds like Jupiters rings and thin slices of silver amongst the thing we were about to eat. Parma violet ice cream, milk chocolate pudding and honey sauce all on one plate – truly out of this world!
- Praline & Passion Fruit and Lemon Curd Donut: Two of the finest petit fours our little family (My mum, dad and myself) have ever tasted! The praline & passion fruit petit four was presented in a ‘cupcake’ fashion, and we were instructed to eat the entire thing, including wrapper. The taste was glorious – But nothing compared to the lemon curd donut! Now this was like ice cream inside and the most unreal refreshing taste of lemon curd. The perfect end to the perfect evening in Leeds!
For other places to devour some delicious grub in Leeds keep an eye out on my experiences page for my next blog post!