The Man Behind the Curtain in Leeds named in country's top 100 places to eat by National Restaurant Awards

Eight restaurants in Yorkshire have been named among the top 100 in the country by the National Restaurant Awards, including one in Leeds.

Tuesday, 17th August 2021, 11:45 am

And while that sounds good, what makes it even more impressive is that no fewer than five are in the top 20. Only London has more.

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Leeds restaurant review: The Man Behind The Curtain

The Man Behind the Curtain became the first restaurant in Leeds to earn a Michelin star in more than a decade when it received the honour in 2015.

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A dish served up at fine dining restaurant the Man Behind the Curtain using fish from the nearby Leeds Kirkgate Market. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe

Its head chef, Michael O'Hare, was named as Best Chef and Overall Winner at the Yorkshire Evening Post's own food and drink awards - The Oliver Awards - the following year.

Now the National Restaurants Awards have named his venue in Vicar Lane as the 19th best restaurant in the country.

And there's more good news for the region's culinary scene as two Yorkshire institutions have been named as winners in other categories; The Angel at Hetton as Gastropub of the Year and Tommy Banks as Restaurateur of the Year.

Tommy's Black Swan at Oldstead is 10th in the full list, while his Roots restaurant in York comes in at 51.

Chef Michael O'Hare at the Yorkshire Evening Post's Oliver Awards in 2017. Picture: Simon Hulme

The top Yorkshire restaurant is the Angel at Hetton, which came second in the list behind Lancashire's Moor Hall.

The Moorcock Inn in Norland, West Yorkshire, is 14th, while Skosh in York is 18th and 19th.

Sheffield's Jöro is 32nd, with York's Le Cochon Aveugle at 41st before Roots rounds off the Yorkshire involvement in the list.

What did the judges have to say about the Man Behind the Curtain?

The awards judges said: "The self-styled enfant terrible of the Northern restaurant scene continues to impress with his striking plates of high impact food. Served in a succession of tiny bites, Michael O’Hare’s 14-course, £132 tasting menu is arty and provocative (one dish is called Sex Wax, another Dali to Delhi), taking some of its cues from Spanish techno-emotional cuisine and including a notable amount of Asian influence.

"A dash of artistic pretension comes as something of a hallmark for the North Yorkshire-born chef, who made his name on Great British Menu cooking dishes including ‘Emancipation’, a monotone dish of squid ink-dyed fish and potatoes served on a canvas inspired by fish and chips and the industrial landscape of his home town of Redcar.

"Dishes on the current menu – which is served in ’sequences’ rather than courses – include ajo blanco with an iced tomato consomme and vanilla; Iberico pork with garlic, egg and anchovy; and the delightfully colourful macarons ‘Damien Hirst’.

"O’Hare burst onto the Leeds restaurant scene in 2014 with a huge graffiti’d space on the top floor of luxury department store Flannels. The restaurant has since moved to more upmarket digs down the road but remains one of the country’s most singular and exciting dining experiences."

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