The Man Behind The Curtain
“Cutting-edge experimental food in a monochrome basement” - AA Inspector
LEEDS, WEST YORKSHIRE
Our Inspector's view
The determinedly monochrome basement room of Michael O'Hare's contemporary restaurant is in stark contrast to the culinary approach. While black marble tables and floor tiles offset the grey-veined walls, which are lightened with vertical displays of skateboards, marble surfboards and scrawls of incoherent graffiti, the black-shaded lamps illuminate plates – and many another receptacle – of cutting-edge experimental food that manages to avoid a lot of what have become the modern clichés. The standard offering is a taster of 10 to 14 'sequences', with a digested version at lunchtime, built around a repertoire of dazzlingly imaginative dishes. A single octopus tentacle in butter emulsion has a strong hit of paprika, while a pâté of perfect crab is balanced on a crisp cracker and topped with a quail egg. Coarsely sliced, eloquently fatted Wagyu beef in olive juice with a sheet of potato paper is extraordinary in its impact, and the delicacy of judgment extends to a hake dumpling covered in hair-fine filaments of chilli for discreet heat. A dish that proved controversial on the BBC Great British Menu, O'Hare's fish and chips, is a model of concentrated refinement, expressively flavoured cod in miso broth with salt-and-vinegar straw potatoes, while a new spin on Rossini made with ox cheek is full of savoury, sticky richness. Creativity is unflagging to the end, which might feature milk chocolate mousse with honey and violet ice cream, cardamom and lemongrass soup with chilli sorbet, or potato puffs sprinkled with beetroot powder. It's all served forth to a soundtrack of throbbing rock.
Awards, accolades and Welcome Schemes
Facilities – at a glance
- Seats: 44
- Wheelchair accessible
- Steps for wheelchair: 9
- Accessible toilets
- Days Closed: Sunday to Monday
- Lunch served from: 12.30
- Lunch served until: 2
- Dinner served from: 6.30
- Dinner served until: 8.30
- Wines over £30:
- Wines by the glass: 20
- Cuisine style: Modern European
- Vegetarian menu
Also in the area
About The area
Discover West Yorkshire
Everybody knows that Yorkshire has some special landscapes. The Dales and the Moors first spring to mind, but what about West Yorkshire? That’s Leeds and Bradford isn’t it? Back-to-back houses and blackened mills… Certainly if you had stood on any of the hills surrounding Hebden Bridge a hundred years ago, and gazed down into the valley, all you would have seen was the pall of smoke issuing from the chimneys of 33 textile mills. But thankfully, life changes very quickly in West Yorkshire. The textile trade went into terminal decline, the mills shut down forever and in a single generation Hebden Bridge became a place that people want to visit.
The surrounding countryside offers walking every bit as good as the more celebrated Yorkshire Dales; within minutes you can be tramping across the moors. And this close proximity of town and country is repeated all across West Yorkshire. There’s such diversity in the area that you can find yourself in quite unfamiliar surroundings, even close to places you may know very well. Take time to explore this rich county and you will be thrilled at what you find to shatter old myths and preconceptions.
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