Tag Archives: The Man Behind The Curtain

My 2014 Favourites!

The time of year has come where we make lists of our favourite things, for me as a so-called food blogger, it’s time for me to look back at some of the memorable eating experiences I’ve had. So with that in mind I’ve scoured the last year and picked out my favourites.

These aren’t in any particular order by the way:

1. The Man Behind The Curtain – whether Leeds’ food and drink scene is heading towards a Michelin star is debatable, the execution of the food and the service here are second to none and deserves to have praise heaped on it. The food is innovative, aesthetically beautiful and exquisite to boot.

Part of the degustation menu

2. NOM Deli: one of the things I enjoy about food blogging is meeting people. I’m not the most out-going person, but this has brought me out of my shell more, and talking to like-minded individuals who base their work around the love of food is very inspiring. So when meeting the team from NOM Deli that’s what happened, they love the food from their native homeland and are serving their take on Banh Mi, bun and pho in Leeds city centre. I remember vividly trying the Banh Mi at Kirkstall Deli Market and being completely blown away by it! I’m definitely hoping to visit them again, to try out their Friday evening menu in the new year! Fancy reading about my experience at NOM, click here.

Banh Mi with BBQ pork

3. Stuzzi – this is another one of those wonderful combinations of brilliant food produced by the most passionate of people! I know I’ve recently written about this team, but what the hell because I adore their Italian food and their infectious love for their cuisine! Both of my Stuzzi experiences at the Belgrave Music Hall residency and at their new home in Harrogate have been memorable. To read about my Stuzzi encounters click here.

Stuzzichini sharing box

4. Tartine Bakery, San Francisco – this summer I spent seven days exploring the city to the fullest. If I was to choose one from the many amazing eats we had on that trip, for me it would have to be the afternoon we spent in the Mission District, firstly joining the back of an already long queue that hugged the building, then admiring and drooling over their beautiful bakes from afar. Having eyes on stalks to grab a table as soon as one came free then slowly devouring the prettiest tarts ever!!! The fresh fruit tart and lemon cream tart were both an absolute delight – so light and dreamy. A absolute must visit!! To read my experience of patisserie heaven in San Francisco, click here.

Lemon cream tart

5. The Reliance – this isn’t necessarily based on one of my most recent reviews, our annual Christmas lunch, but also from eating here many times over the years. It’s a firm favourite in my eyes delivering on many levels and all important ones for me; great food served at reasonable prices, lovely staff all found in a relaxed space. Our Christmas lunch a few weeks ago just reaffirmed this for me! To read about my last couple of visits click here.

Meatball sandwich
Meatball sandwich
Confit duck
Confit duck

6. Le Langhe – this Italian restaurant in York won me over with it’s perfect pasta, so much so that we ordered seconds! Simplicity in its ingredients, yielding tasty results, I could eat a bowl of that silky pasta all over again as I type, it was so good!! Click here to have a read of my visit.

Game ragu

7. Belgrave Feast – Oh I’ve eaten, and I’ve eaten well over the last year, enjoying amazing street food at Belgrave’s monthly feast!! I’ve gone on ALOT about the Belgrave in 2014 making it a difficult one to whittle down, so I thought which would I always go to time after time, without question I would have to pick out Arepa!Arepa!Arepaand Fu-Schnikens!! Both are extremely comforting, more-ish and damn tasty! 

SobreBarriga Arepa
Gua Bao with sticky ox cheek

Where have you had some memorable meals and why?










Can Food Be Art? The Man Behind the Curtain, Leeds

Can food be art? What do you reckon?

How much of enjoying a plate of food is based just on taste, how much part do our other senses have to play?

Last friday the other half and I celebrated our wedding anniversary with dinner at one of the Leeds’ major food players right now – Michael O’Hare’s The Man Behind the Curtain.  First hearing about him when attending one of Dinner at the Manor’s fantastic supper clubs, I listened intently to a lady who’d highly recommended eating at his previous establishment The Blind Swine in York. Unfortunately, it closed before I got the chance, so when news broke of The Man Behind The Curtain I booked a table.

I don’t want to give too much away with tonnes of descriptions of each dish, because it’ll ruin it. But, what I will say is no one is producing dishes remotely like these in the city, whether it be on taste or presentation. Stunning to look at and a play on the senses from one dish to the next. 

Apologies to Michael O’Hare for photographing the dishes, as on his website he says ‘this is not a restaurant for people who wish to photograph their food’. I’m sorry, I’m pretty incorrigible at the best of times, but when the food looks this good it’s inevitable!

image image image image image image image image image image image image image image image image

See what all the fuss is about, go book yourself a table!

The degustation menu is £65 per person.

Oops, a lovely reader has just told me I hadn’t actually said if I enjoyed the meal…..I did, one of the best meals I’ve had in a while!!

The Man Behind The Curtain
68-78 Vicar Lane
0113 2432376

Future Foodie Delights in Leeds

I love planning ahead, whether it’s places I want to explore, exhibitions I want to see, holiday destinations that need researching and most definitely foodie destinations. Leeds has been on a food and drink roll, but it’s still developing and with the summer months not too far away, there’s still a number of things brewing in the food and drink pipe line.

Trinity Kitchen continues to do it’s thing in terms of serving food to the Leeds masses, with it’s ever changing street food from around the world. There’s the obvious big hitters such as the Belgrave which seems to be the place to go by all accounts at the moment since opening last year, and also Brandon Street Night Market with their monthly street food bonanza. The restaurant scene has also been bolstered by the likes of Shears Yard, Zucco, The Hungry Bear and RARE amongst others over the last year. 

With a number of new openings and events happening in the next few months, what else can we look forward to?

  • Thai Aroy Dee – a massive sigh of relief was had when I read this much loved restaurant was relocating to The Grand Arcade. It would have been an absolute travesty to lose such an amazing restaurant with the Victoria Gate redevelopment! The outpouring of love seen on social media ultimately means that it’s going to great seeing them up and running with not only their regular customers, but hopefully new ones. It’ll also be a fantastic thing for bringing people into The Grand Arcade too! 
  • Bundobust – Soon these guys will be opening on Mill Hill, after being a winner with all and sundry at different establishments and events around Leeds, such as Kirkstall Bridge Inn and at Belgrave. For those of you who haven’t sampled their wares Bundobust is a joint venture between award-winning Prasha(vegetarian restaurant in Drighlington) and Bradford’s The Sparrow. If their food and drinks follows in a similar vein to the efforts at their recent residency at The Belgrave (review here) it’ll be an amazing addition to the Leeds street food scene. One I’m am already relishing the thought of.
  • The Man Behind The Curtain – a new opening by chef Michael O’Hare in Flannels on Vicar lane. I’d been told how good The Blind Swine had been, unfortunately it had shut up shop before I could try it out. This is one I cannot wait to go to, with chef Michael O’Hare already having a reputation in York’s fine dining scene, I won’t be surprised if it’s a sure fire hit.
  • 2 Oxford Place – the first 100% gluten free restaurant certainly around these parts! Are there any elsewhere? With a gluten intolerant husband it will be fantastic if they can pull it off. They are even doing Sunday Roasts – let’s hope for yummy GF Yorkshire Puddings and gravy! Also if they can make decent bread, they could be onto a winner in my eyes.
  • With the prospect of heavyweights Meat Liquor and Byron Hamburgers moving into Leeds, at Trinity and Land’s Lane respectively, they’ll be making their best efforts to fight their way to the hearts of burger lovers. It’s going to be an interesting one, especially with the amount of competition from other establishments already in the city centre. Maybe a Battle of the Burgers is in order, I’ll be happy to adjudicate!! 
  • Bulgogi Grill will be bringing a new and exciting concept to Leeds with Korean BBQ and is part of the redevelopment to the Merrion Centre’s Arena Quarter. I’ve experienced something similar in Japan,  cooking marinated meats and vegetables on mini BBQ’s; an experience which was interactive, fun and memorable. Their opening is expected sometime in August.
  • La Bottega Milanese is in the process of opening another coffee shop in Bond Court, at the back of HSBC where the Pétanque pitch is. I’m eager to see the finished product and I’m sure Alex will be aiming for something that’s aesthetically beautiful, whilst being highly functional, and with the same great coffee and food as La Bottega in The Light. I really hope this will create more of a community environment in this part of town, instead of just being a bit of a walk-through. 
  • Leeds Food and Drink Festival (23rd May – 8th June) is always a major highlight of the food and drink calendar and is a must for any one interested in produce, artisans and food from restaurants and street food vendors in our local area. I was gutted to be away last year, but am definitely looking forward to this years, which promises to be even better than the last. Working in conjunction with Leeds Food & Drink Festival will be The Pink Shed, the pop-up private dining room at Trinity Leeds on 23rd May. With a number of restaurants of Leeds signing up this will be a great experience. Another cracking event as part of the festival will be Le Grand DeParty’ which will celebrate the 2014 Grand Depart with lots of french food and drink.
  • Beacons  festival (7th -10th August) – with a list of food vendors as along as your arm, there’ll be plenty to tackle and get your teeth into over the four day music and arts extravaganza in Skipton. With Ben Davy, the mastermind behind Dough Boys and Patty Smith’s at the helm, festival goers are going to be in for a big belly filling treat! Here’s a taster – the idea of Madeleine Express, Cafe Moor and of course Dough Boys will get your mouth watering. For a more extensive list have a nosey at the website.

There’s certainly a lot to look forward to, I’ll hopefully see you there!

What have I missed out, any other fantastic local food and drinks events coming up I should include in my list?

Post update: oh silly me I forgot to add an event that I’m actually attending, how silly am I?

  • The Noise of Strangers are a Leeds based group hosting their first pop-up in May. I’ve been keeping a close eye on these guys for months, eagerly awaiting news of their first outing. Their philosophy is to use seasonal ingredients and deliver a menu in an unusual setting. It all takes place in asecret location on 21/22 May, where guests, including myself will hopefully be treated to a wonderful five course dinner. I’ve been wracking my brain and looking at their photographic clues to try and work out where it could be, but I’m nowhere near to a solution yet.
  • Cafe Culture – For those of you coffee lovers out there, the Corn Exchange are hosting a Cafe Culture event, I’m gutted I won’t be here for this as this would have been right up my street, unfortunately I’ll be in Edinburgh with the task of running the Edinburgh Half Marathon. On 24th May, the event will try to bring a little taste of Parisienne cafe culture to Leeds, as unbeknownst to me the Corn Exchange has a link to the Halle au Blé (wheat, corn and grain hall) in the French capital. Just one of many fab collaborations of local independent businesses showing all that is good in coffee; such as Laynes Espresso, North Star Micro Roasters, Casa Espresso and Grumpy Mule. There’ll also be lots of family friendly activities and entertainment going on too. 
  • Strano’s, the pop-up brought from Gip and John Dammone and chef Johnny Lyons will be celebrating the anniversary since the the Strano journey started which culminated in their first Strano’s pop-up which I attended last October. They’ll be hosting a celebratory meal with their highlights dishes from the pop-events on 20/21 June at it’s new home of the Enoteca in Salvo’s.
  • The Beasty Boys – a Peruvian inspired Supper Club at the Carnegie Pavilion in Headingley. They are a  Leeds based duo specialising in one of the current food trends of ‘Nose to Tail’ dining. The event is donating 100% profits to raising money for Put Them First, a UK charity which aims to improve the lives of children in Peru. With tickets priced at £25 for 6 courses (16 dishes) per person! It also BYOB so sounds like it could be a bargain!