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A first look at Skof as opening date of chef Tom Barnes’ first solo restaurant announced

Simon Rogan protege says new restaurant will focus on great quality ingredients and put a smile on people's faces.

Great British Menu and Roux Scholarship winner Tom Barnes has announced that his first solo restaurant Skof will open in Manchester on Wednesday, 29th May.

Reservations are now available for the much-anticipated grand opening at Manchester’s NOMA neighbourhood promising a unique and unforgettable addition to Manchester’s already burgeoning dining scene.

Chef Tom Barnes

Cumbrian-born Tom, a protege of award-winning British chef and restaurateur Simon Rogan, has an impressive CV.

He has worked in multi-Michelin starred kitchens for most of his career, joining Simon’s team at L’Enclume in 2011 and quickly climbing the ranks from chef de partie to head chef in 2013 – the year in which the restaurant won its second Michelin star.

He returned in early 2018 as head chef at Simon’s neighbourhood Cartmel restaurant Rogan & Co. The restaurant was awarded its first Michelin star less than six months later.

Awarded the Roux Scholarship in 2014 at the age of 25, Tom chose Hof Van Cleve in Kruishoutem, Belgium as his prize stage followed by a stint at three-Michelin starred restaurant Geranium in Copenhagen.

In 2020, he was invited to compete in the 15th series of BBC2’s Great British Menu, where he won the main course at the final banquet.

Tom went on to support the Umbel Restaurant Group as executive chef, overseeing three Michelin-starred L’Enclume, one Michelin-starred Rogan & Co, Henrock and Home by Simon Rogan.

Farm-to-table ethos

Tom brings the farm-to-table ethos so crucial at Simon Rogan’s Lake District restaurants, bringing in new suppliers as he tailors his offering to the local market.

The sourcing for the menu reflects both his experience and background working with some of the best chefs in the world and the new path he has taken at Skof.

So alongside daily deliveries of produce grown specifically for him from Simon Rogan’s Our Farm in the Cartmel Valley, Tom will work with small-scale suppliers such as Cinderwood Market Garden in Nantwich and Lake District Farmers.

What Skof Manchester looks like

Skof, Barnes’ first solo venture, promises to be a gastronomic haven within the terracotta-tiled Hanover building in NOMA. Designed by London-based studio Blacksheep, the interiors reflect Barnes’ upbringing and Manchester’s industrial history, creating a welcoming space bathed in natural light.

“I am so excited to be opening my first restaurant in Manchester,” said Tom on the decision to choose Manchester as the location for Skof.

“It feels like the right place for me. The food scene is changing so frequently, and everyone I’ve met has been incredibly welcoming. Growing up in Barrow-in-Furness, I knew I wouldn’t want to be too far from my childhood home and my family, so it’s the perfect place.

What’s on the menu at Skof?

Tom has revealed a taste of what’s to come at Skoff with the release of a sample menu.

At both lunch (Thursday to Saturday) and dinner (Wednesday to Saturday), there will be two variations of the tasting menu, one 12-course and one 15-course which will be priced at £120 and £165 respectively. At lunch, Skof will also serve a four-course offering, priced at £50 per head.

Dishes on the first set of menus include ‘roasted sladesdown duck, peach leaf, Ibis celeriac, wholemeal bread’ and ‘Berkswell cheese sable biscuit, crushed broad beans, whipped roe, bronze fennel’.

In the lead up to the opening of Skof, Tom has been working on preserving ingredients to add depth of flavour to his dishes, also allowing them to be used all year round. As part of this mindset, the team at Skof will create their own miso, used to flavour a ‘lightly set custard’, served with hen-of-the-woods mushrooms, truffle, mushroom dashi and their own ‘amasake sorbet’ flavoured with milk oolong tea.

“It’s been a long time coming, so I’m excited to be able to finally release our reservations. I can’t wait to share what we’ve been working on and to return some of the incredible hospitality I’ve received from the people of Manchester,” said Tom.

“I am so grateful for Simon’s support, and I plan on utilising all the skills that he has taught me over the many years that we have worked together. I’m so happy with what we have achieved and look forward to this new chapter.

“With Skof, my purpose is to create an incredible experience that focuses on great quality ingredients but above all, puts a smile on people’s faces.”

Reservations open for Skof by Tom Barnes

Skof by Tom Barnes to open doors on Wednesday, 29th May; with reservations available from today.

Find out more about Skof and book a table in advance here

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