Mr Nobody review: Mysterious chef whips up a culinary treat
When you scan a menu that includes dishes as diverse as Flank of Royal Beef Estate, Stonebass Fish and Scraps and Frogs Legs, you know your taste buds are in for a treat.
The elusive Mr Nobody arrived on Lower-Briggate last month, and has managed to bring the good people of Leeds something fresh, with a non-Spanish tapas offering that has got something for everyone.
Formerly Rare, this new venture is the brainchild of three Sheffield lads who decided to throw their various talents into the mix in order to come up with the impossible; a restaurant and bar that has broad appeal yet refuses to be pigeonholed.
Chef, John Farrar, has an impressive resume that includes 11 Michelin-starred restaurants, yet the menu itself is very reasonably priced (most snacks and dishes cost 2.50-8.00) and don’t expect miniscule portions of pretentious food you’ve never heard of here. If you want flambéed penguin on a bed of distressed quinoa, then you might want to head elsewhere (I suggest the bottom of the sea).
Having heard a lot of positive reviews about the place on social media, I was looking forward to sampling some of their culinary delights and so an invite to their Chef’s Table event was a no-brainer.
Things got off to a good start when I arrived and was seated with Laura from House of Coco, Jo from H&N Magazine and the Pink Gorilla team. I knew I was in for a night of inappropriate conversations and filthy jokes – you can’t beat good company and good food.
Inside, the upstairs bar has been given a complete makeover – out with the taxidermy and in with a much more stripped back, casual look that seems to take inspiration from Scandinavian design. We kicked things off with some G&T’s whilst enjoying a selection of dishes from their nibbles and sharing board’s selection.
There were many highlights here, from the moreish Roasted Almonds (2.50) to the delicious Gigante Green olives (2.50), but the star of this show was the Combo Sharing Board (14) which was filled with premium cheese and meats. The portions were generous, which makes these dishes perfect to share as a starter or as a snack if you’re just dropping in for a few drinks.
Next, we were treated to some of Mr Nobody’s Little Snacks, which included the flavoursome Heritage Salt Beef in a Gold Potato Cake (4.00) and the Smoked Salmon Salad (7.00).
What I love about this place is the relaxed vibe and lack of pressure to clear your plate and go – two and a half hours of eating, drinking and swapping debauched tales had passed before we went down to the main restaurant, yet it seemed like half an hour.
It was a shame to see the giant stuffed cow had disappeared from downstairs (apparently she’s in storage), however this was soon forgotten once our glasses were topped up with some choice red wine and the unusual, yet brilliant Pork Spare Rib Dim Sum (4.50) arrived.
The Dim Sum consisted of slow braised, Jimmy Butler’s award winning pork in a soy broth and tasted exceptionally good – unlike anything else I’ve had before.
However, when it came to the savoury dishes, for me they really saved the best for last. The Free Range Pork Belly was the best I’ve eaten since a meal I had at The Foundry four years ago. It was perfectly cooked and full of rich flavours, which I find most restaurants don’t quite manage to nail.
Despite the fact we had by now consumed enough food to make Elvis sweat, we managed to find room for the final act, which was the superb Hot Chocolate Tart (4.50), which was blessed with luxurious Cayambe Noir Chocolate. A perfect end to a perfect night.
Having been intrigued with the concept of Mr Nobody for some time, I was not left disappointed. The menu manages to cater towards adventurous foodies and fusspot’s alike, ensuring no one is left out. This new venture has proved to be a welcome addition to Leeds and a more than worthy replacement to Rare. Check out their menu here and follow them on Facebook for forthcoming events.