New take on tapas as ‘Mr Nobody’ takes over popular restaurant site in Leeds

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MEAT fans were in mourning after much-loved restaurant Rare closed its doors.

The eatery on Lower Briggate was a carnivore’s paradise, with taxidermy animals adorning the walls, and even a huge taxidermy cow in the dining area.

Mr Nobody on Lower Briggate, Leeds. Pictures: Tony Johnson.

Mr Nobody on Lower Briggate, Leeds. Pictures: Tony Johnson.

The unashamedly meat-focussed venue proved a hit, and went head-to-head with the city’s similarly meatcentric restaurants such as Stockdale’s, Cattlegrid and Blackhouse.

But it seems meat eaters may be craving something different these days, as things have now taken a different turn.

The site has changed hands and has been transformed into a new restaurant, called Mr Nobody.

Friends Andy Trudgill, Dave Pickard and John Farrar are behind the project.

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John actually worked at Rare before it changed hands, and has come up with the new menu, which offers tapas-style dining, but without the Spanish food.

Speaking to City Buzz, Andy said: “It’s tapas in the way it is executed – the laid-back environment and small plates that you share.

“The actual food is eclectic.

“It’s not Spanish...it’s not really anything!

Andy Trudgill at Mr Nobody.

Andy Trudgill at Mr Nobody.

“We wanted to make stuff that we like and don’t want to pigeonhole it.”

John, who is also the chef, has come up with some impressive creations, such as frogs legs with soy, ox heart and lamb sweetbreads spiced with Indian flavours.

It might sound a bit out there but diners are in safe hands – John has worked for no less than 11 Michelin-starred restaurants in his career.

Despite his impressive CV, the food is reasonably priced, with snacks from £2 to £4 and larger dishes from £5 to £12.

Andy’s personal favourites are the stone bass with scraps, dripping and beer vinaigrette, and the rib cap with cognac and mustard.

He adds: “It’s somewhere you can pop in for a drink or cocktail after work, or come by with mates and have 10 plates of tapas and be rolled out!”

Since taking it on, the upstairs bar has been stripped out to reveal the brickwork beneath, and the seating area has been completely refurbished, with new booth areas, wooden tables and a colourful mural. The taxidermy cow isn’t visible any more, but is apparently up for sale.

“We still have the cow,” Andy adds. “We had to get it up the stairs – it was a four-person job.”

When coming up with a name, it was actually chef John who inspired it.

“I suggested to John that we put his name in the title, as he’s worked at so many amazing restaurants over the years.

“But he hated that idea and said, ‘Who am I? I’m Mr Nobody!’– and that was it!

“It’s about the customer at the end of the day, and we didn’t want it to be about us.”

The restaurant follows in the footsteps of a few other arrivals in recent years, such as The Hedonist Project, Viet Guy and Lamberts Yard.

Andy, who is also behind the Bamboo Door bar in Sheffield, added: “It’s such a good, busy location in a good part of Leeds – it was kind of a no-brainer.

“The Hedonist Project was a good pull for us too, because I know they are going to get people down here as they’re good at what they do.”

It’s an interesting concept and, as always, it’s good to see local entrepreneurs taking the bull by the horns.