Yet another chef we felt drawn to visit on the basis of our impression of his TV persona and cuisine. Previously we had been mightily disappointed with the sole Michelin star restaurant in Leeds, now long defunct, and relied on an Italian place for our annual trek here. Clearly, going by the fact that to be sure of getting a table you have to book some five months in advance, Michael O’Hare seemed to be doing something right, however, he was not in the kitchen on the evening we dined here, so perhaps he was too busy being interviewed by the national press and criticising his paying customers for not conforming to his idea of fun people. A chef who believes he can dictate how his customers should enjoy themselves in his restaurant might well end up with only a few locals once the novelty of his fame has worn off. He might also consider that, firstly, one man’s fun could be someone else’s hell, and in the cavernous top floor ex-clothes shop premises the over-loud music could easily put some customers off their food, and, secondly, that you wouldn’t want to take photos of empty plates and photos are part of the “fun” for a lot of people. Some of the staff appeared not to quite understand what they were doing or how to engage with diners who were trying to get as much enjoyment as possible from the experience by asking pertinent questions and there was no obvious restaurant manager to guide them and the pouring of wine from an exaggerated height is just 70s flash. To an extent this was fantasy food, aimed at breaking the boundaries between visual expectation and taste surprise and satisfaction, and the “snacks” with which the meal commenced were examples of this. The raw Denia prawn cooked on the plate by having the barbecued brain poured on it was exceptional, the smoky octopus soaked in lemon and garnished with a paprika emulsion was tender and delicious, and the XO veal sweetbread served in a steamed bun was super. From then on we found ourselves mostly less than impressed. Tender beef in potato paper with a sauce made of rendered down fat and with olive bits added was fine, the sea-urchin sauce with parmesan noodles that became crunchy after contact with sauce was good, the Iberico lardo dish with quail’s egg and a crisp identified by the waitress as “siracko”, which turned out to be Txangurro, was neutral at best. The helping of the signature “fish and chips” seemed to be less generous than expected on the plate and it disappointed with the excess saltiness of the black cod and lack of any pseudo-deep-fried element. We liked the anchovy and the ash in the pork dish but the latter was tasteless and not what we could recognise as the Iberico version. An experiment in matching tastes and possibly purporting to be a palate cleanser combining caraway seeds and lavender and chocolate on over-salty pork rind simply did not work, but the potato custard dessert with very rich chocolate, very good violet ice cream and sweet beetroot vinegar did. The explosion of passion fruit in white chocolate was another throwback and didn’t appeal, and our coffee was not accompanied by petits fours. In the end, although we did enjoy much of the food, a restaurant where the dishes that remain in the memory are the starters is not providing a complete experience, and once the fine dining meets performance art element wore off and the paucity of wow-factor dishes hit home it became a question of how much style and how much substance?