Leeds – The Victorian Quarter – The Man Behind the Curtain

Even though I only live a short drive away, I stayed in Leeds for one night as I’d been tipped off by Chris Feinmann, a fellow foodie friend, about a very special place to eat…

The Man Behind the Curtain (Advanced A+), 68-78 Vicar Lane, on the top floor of Flannels clothes shop, www.themanbehindthecurtain.co.uk

I don’t have time to wax lyrical but suffice to say, this is my favourite fine dining experience in the North of England. Not only are all the dishes visually spectacular, the flavours are there as well.

Due to its success, reservations are essential. Access to the restaurant is quite unconventional as you have to walk through a men’s clothes shop to take the lift to the top floor.

You have to have one of the tasting menus (lunch or dinner), there are no other choices. I had the £65 evening menu with the wine matching add on for £50. It probably costs more now since they got a Michelin star in 2016.

You’re not supposed to take photos but I got a few sneaky ones in to give you an idea of the amazing creations that were put in front of me.

Upon arrival I was greeted with a glass of nutty Chenin Blanc champagne (A).


Cooked Oyster & Pearl with the ‘pearl’ containing oyster emulsion (A+).


Next an Olive Sachet (A) with the instruction to dip it in my drink. Sorry, I couldn’t really take photos of the wine so I can only occasionally tell you what it was.


This with a Rioja by Bhilar which had a fantastic nose (A+).


Next, Mackerel Wrapped in Pak Choi Leaf with Lime (B+).


This with a Beaujoulais made from 100% Gamay grapes by the producer Lapierre of Morgon; one of the best wine villages in the Beaujolais region.


The Red Mullet Allioli and Sea Fingers with Ham Fat and Sweet Corn was fantastic (A++). I liked the Sauvingon Blanc and Semillon blend by Exmoor Drive from Western Australia that came with it (A).


Slow Cooked Egg with Bread and Squid Ink Cinders with an Edible Shell made of milk!! Visually it scored very well (A+) but not so well on taste (B). This was served with a great Vouvray Chenin Blanc (A).


I was given a sweeter wine, a Riesling (B+), to go with the Black Cod with Fried Potato and Squid Ink and Squid Ink Cinders. It was the coddiest tasting cod I’ve ever tasted! It started well (A+) but the cinders became slightly overbearing so my score went down (A).


Next, the Roast Duck with Beetroot Sponge, Caramelised Pineapple and Orange Sauce was amazing (A).


The best thing I ate were the Sweetbreads (thymus glands) with Black Pudding Gnocchi and Parsleycake, always a favourite but here one of the best times I’d ever eaten them (A++).


I got a Basil Sorbet palate cleanser before the sweet.


The dessert was a Milk Chocolate Violet Ice cream with Potato and Vanilla Custard, Salt and Vinegar Rice and Beetroot Vinegar. This was very good as I remember but I’d lost the plot when it came to grading by this point!


It was served with a nice glass of Els Pyreneus Maury Grena; a sweet red wine by Jean-Marc Lafage from the Languedoc-Roussillon region.


After this I added a Baron de Sigognac Armagnac to finish things properly.


Next to arrive was a ‘tree of spoons’ containing various sweet tasty things. I was delirious with pleasure by now and totally forgot to record things! The last item was this ‘Cupcake’.


Overall a fantastice experience. Michael O’Hare is a genius in my view. You definitely need to check him out.

Marina O’Loughlin agrees.

Please see my previous post for pics of the Victorian Quarter where the restaurant is located. You’ll find it on my Google map.

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