Situated above the high end clothes shop, Flannels in Leeds and resembling somewhat of an art gallery The Man Behind The Curtain’s decor and open restaurant is as unique and striking as the food that they serve!
Rather nervously, but full of enthusiasm I arrived early on Tuesday morning and was shown around the restaurant and kitchen. Similarly to the Black Swan everyone was very helpful and extremely relaxed whilst retaining huge respect for each task that they were carrying out. Where as the Black Swan has 8 rooms which means a large part of my day entails checking rooms, organising others to ensure the rooms meet our high standards and then actually checking in customers, the only focus for The Man Behind The Curtain is the restaurant. Being given more time to just focus on one thing was very different but it allowed me the time I needed to fully research their wine list!
Checking through their wine list that afternoon gave me a huge of appreciation of how many great wines are on the market, with only one wine on there that I recognised and knew from our list at The Black Swan. This really allowed me to develop my own knowledge and have since researched the characteristics of these wines and how they could potentially work with some of the food we serve.
The first thing I noticed whilst setting up for service was the fact that the tables didn’t actually have any cutlery on, just tall polished glasses and expertly folded napkins. I soon learnt that Michael’s style meant that a lot of the courses didn’t actually require cutlery. And that the earlier courses of the menu were in fact beautifully presented small mouthfuls, almost like finger food. During my time there I was given the opportunity to serve some of the dishes and explain some of the wine pairings. One of the stand out wine pairing for me was Lacuesta Vermouth Rojo, a spanish vermouth. Here they infused Olive and orange into it which I found very fresh and absolutely delicious!
Each morning I was briefed on each wine pairing and why they believed it worked with each dish. I was lucky enough to have Michael invite me to dine and this really gave me an insight onto how they ran service and also allowed me find out first hand how well matched the wines were to each dish. Superb! Each had their own unique flavour. My highlight was the Krug, Grand Cavee NV and a wonderful glass of Niizawa Kishinamien Umeshu Sake from Miyagi, Japan! My favourite dish overall had to be the Ox cheek which was paired with the Marques De Murrieta Gran Reserva 2009 Rioja from Spain.
My final day came around so quickly. I felt like I’d learnt so much over the few days I was there, and even ended my week by taking out most of the dishes as well as explaining the pairings, which was such a huge honour!
Over all, I had a great experience whilst working their, and seeing how different restaurants run was a very humbling experience. Learning a completely different wine list was so interesting and something I’m definitely going to research in to further. It’s made me really appreciate the work and effort that every restaurant puts in to giving their customers the best experience possible.
You can read and learn more about The Switch here: www.chefsoftomorrow.co.uk/the-switch
I hope you’ve enjoyed my blog!