Rather than choose from one of the amusingly titled new lunch menus "The insecurity of Postmen in Oakley Glasses", "Inception of a Space-cat in Black" or "Marc Bolan wasn't a welder", we let the chef send out what he wants which is pretty much the taster menu that we share. (We take pride in not being fussy eaters, we eat everything and anything).
As I'm taking lots of shots, I catch the attention of a smart looking mysterious lone diner who asks me about the photographs, the blog etc. We end up telling him about our recent trip to Spain and how following that, few places give us the 'wow factor' now. Outside of London, The Man Behind The Curtain is a rare UK exception along with Fraiche in Merseyside.
We begin with an exceptional array of fun little snacks.
Mackerel and Coffee Bon Bon.
A bag of Pork Rinds seasoned with yuzu and olive powder. I don't listen as usual and miss that the bag is actually edible.
Ethical Foie Gras mousse, (in a pickled daikon radish) give us the rich foie 'hit' we're looking for.
We take a tiny sample of Lacuesta Reserva Vermouth & olives.
The Oyster (cooked in shell to absorb its own juice and served chilled, Mock Pearl made from purée of oyster, escabeche sauce, oyster leaf and vinaigrette) is a real beauty. Inspired by Ferran Adrià (and why not) it's such an impressive looking dish and the large oysters are fresh, plump and juicy. The mock pearl explodes on your tongue. The innovation and presentation is never at the expense of the all important taste using high quality produce. Langoustine (Raw) Marinated in honey and lavender, pata negra, grated frozen apple.
Hake Cheek, Pil pil.
Sweetbread. Veal throat, sweet and sour Hong Kong style, ice cold tomato and strawberry consommé.
It's funny, only after the meal do I see the real Asian influences coming through this time. This is because unusually, O'Hare's food transcends his inspiration and becomes all his own. Somehow like Spanish chef David Muñoz's cuisine, it all hangs together and works, in some style too.
Cod Loin, Salt and sugar cured, crispy potatoes, dashi of tasted cod skin, ink and vinegar.
Whitby Crab and Bisque is another favourite. Perfect silky bisque (it's easy to get this over salted, not here) and fresh crab, oh we lap this down. Mrs B catches the curious lone diner spot her getting the last morsels of bisque with her finger. She lacks any embarrassment though and continues until she's finished every last drop of the precious juices.
O'Hare always delivers on flavour.
Not only did we enjoy the food even more than our last visit but this restaurant feels like home, with lovely and friendly service, led by the charming Charlotte Rasburn. We live in a time where average uninspired restaurants regularly get described on social media as 'amazing' but few are actually anywhere near. This place is one of the rare ones.
The Man Behind The Curtain has become our favourite restaurant in the UK. One doesn't want to tempt fate but it seem unlikely that a Michelin inspector could eat the food we did on Friday and not hand out an award. Either way, chef Michael O'Hare and The Man Behind The Curtain are heading for the stars, I'm utterly convinced of it.
50 photos here.
We shared the taster menu which costs £65.
Lunch is £27, £34 or £38.
We love the soundtrack too. Tunes by Gotan Project, Air and Todd Terje are just perfect.