Six things you need to know about The Man Behind The Curtain

Man Behind the Curtain, chef Michael O'Hare.  Picture : Jonathan Gawthorpe
Man Behind the Curtain, chef Michael O'Hare. Picture : Jonathan Gawthorpe
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IT IS Yorkshire’s latest recipient of a prized Michelin star and the first awarded to a Leeds restaurant in a decade, and so it is no surprise that The Man Behind The Curtain has diners scrambling to make reservations.

The establishment in Vicar Lane is run by chef Michael O’Hare who is appearing in this week’s finals of BBC2’s Great British Menu, but what else do you need to know about the chef and his restaurant that are attracting so much acclaim?

Expect the unexpected on the menu at The Man Behind The Curtain.

Expect the unexpected on the menu at The Man Behind The Curtain.

Expect something different

A recent look at the restaurant’s tasting menu shows how chef/owner Michael O’Hare and his team do things differently round here. Dishes included: “The insecurity of postmen in Oakley sunglasses”, comprising pork pressa, mandarin spices, consommé of beet hot and sour and daikon and basque foie gras. Then there’s “Inception of a spacecat in black”, featuring monkfish with Amalfi lemon and acorn fed Iberico ham.

Book ahead

Such is the fervour to eat at the restaurant, the Leeds grazing spot is advising diners that weekend dinner reservations are typically booked six months in advance and for week nights, three months in advance. Getting a seat here is all the more competitive because of its limited opening hours. Tables are only available on Wednesdays to Saturdays.

Premium price

Fine dining comes at a price and according to its website the restaurant offers seven “sequences” (lunch only) for £42, and with wine, make that £57. Want more? Twelve sequences are priced at £70, or £115 with wine.


Expect bold artwork by the restauranteur’s friend, Schoph to brighten up your dining experience, and if you’re particularly taken with the creative pieces, the artist’s prints and originals are available from the artist himself.

The chef

A recent reviewer for The Guardian described Mr O’Hare as looking “more like an escapee from Mötley Crüe than a chap whose cerebral, risk-taking approach to food is making the city’s burghers gasp and stretch their eyes”, but the 34-year-old intimated, during a rare interview with the Yorkshire Evening Post’s Neil Hudson last month, that he’d rather let the food do the talking, saying: “I didn’t want it to be about me.”

Origins of a name

The Man Behind The Curtain is a quote from The Wizard of Oz. Speaking to the YEP, Mr O’Hare explained last month: “We opened here without a name, it definitely wasn’t the Michael O’Hare restaurant but that’s kind of backfired. I get a lot of people asking me if I’m the man behind the curtain. You can’t stop it, but you can mock it.”

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