• SKOF: Chef Tom Barnes is opening a new restaurant next month

SKOF: Chef Tom Barnes is opening a new restaurant next month

30 April 2024 by Rhiannon Ingle

After three years in the making, it's almost hard to believe that Cumbrian-born chef, Tom Barnes, is finally opening up his eagerly-anticipated restaurant, Skof.

Tom apprenticed under Duncan Collinge at The Lakeside Hotel, and has worked in multi Michelin-starred kitchens for the majority of his career.

Returning to his home in the Lake District to join Simon Rogan's team at L'Enclume in 2011 he quickly climbed the ranks from chef de partie to head chef in 2013, the year in which the restaurant won its second Michelin star.

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, under chef Rasmus Kofoed.

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

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.

Found in the Hanover Building, Skof will open its doors to the public next month (29th May) and will be serving up 'deceptively simple' dishes with a 'light and fun' atmosphere - something different for the restaurant scene in Manchester.

Skof will work closely with small independent farms and local suppliers, so the menu may change due to availability but, as of now, the four-course lunch sample menu stands at £50 and offers up a proper good bunch of dishes.

Such include; a cracking Isle of Mull cheddar served with broad beans, whipped roe and verbena, Jersey royal potatoes cooked in aromats alongside smoked eel, buttermilk and wild garlic, aged short rib of beef with red baron onions, grilled lettuce and pickled walnut. 

And, to top it all off, the chamomile sponge cake is served with compressed strawberries, Manchester honey and spring herbs.

The 12-course sample tasting menu is currently priced up £120 and includes a tartlet of retired dairy cow with pickled artichoke, black pepper and grilled sprouting broccoli as well as cured mackerel in horseradish served with potato flatbread, fermented gooseberries and radish, that lovely Isle of Mull cheddar, grilled Orkeny scallops with spring vegetables, fried oyster and dulse seaweed, lightly-set miso custard with hen of the woods mushroom, truffle and mushroom dashi, those cracking Jersey potatoes, steamed West Coast cod with whey cippolini onions, smoked eel and buttermilk and a roasted Sladesdown duck with peach leaf, ibis celeriac and whole meal bread.

And for pudding? Diners can look forward to an Amasake sorbet with milk oolong tea, 'Our Farm' strawberries with jasmine cream, rose geranium and caramelised white chocolate as well as Manchester honey ice cream served alongside floral herbs, chamomile sponge and aerated milk and, last but not least, Barney's Tiramisu.

There will also be a 15-course tasting menu on offer for £165.

Speaking on the name, Tom says: "The name was inspired by my dad. He used to say, 'get it scoffed' when tea was served. 

"It's a nod to family, happy memories and the fact that flavour is always the most important element in every dish I cook."

He adds: "I am so excited to be opening my first restaurant in Manchester. 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.

"Skof is all about my take on fine dining. The focus is on skill, quality ingredients and simplicity. A restaurant to enjoy, without pretentiousness, strictly no tablecloths or dress code."

Reservations are now live until September, so get booking!

Find out more here.