A NEW restaurant set up by a Cumbrian chef has already been named ‘one to watch’, despite opening just two weeks ago.

Skof by Tom Barnes has received recognition from the National Restaurant Awards, who labelled the business ‘One to Watch’.

The awards, which celebrate the very best restaurants in the UK, described Tom as a ‘huge talent’ and said expectations for his debut solo restaurant are ‘sky high’.

Barrow-born Tom Barnes, who worked alongside award-winning chef Simon Rogan for 12 years, threw open the doors to his own establishment in Manchester on May 29.

Skof takes up the entire ground floor of a former textiles warehouse in the city’s Noma district, sprawling over 2,700sq ft.

Tom joined Simon's team at L'Enclume in 2011 and apprenticed under Duncan Collinge at The Lakeside Hotel.

Hailed as a ‘star-chasing restaurant for a city that likes to party’, they describe the restaurant as ‘handsome’ and commended Skof for taking the concept of open plan to an ‘extreme’.

Staffed by a young team, the restaurant is stripped back with exposed walls, parquet flooring, striking circular wall lights and mixture of free-standing and banquette seating shod in green and burnt orange leather.

The Barrovian won the Great British Menu in 2020, was head chef at Rogan & Co when it received a Michelin star, and executive chef at L’Enclume when it gained its third star.

Skof offers a 15-course tasting menu, which is pitched as something both ‘informal and energetic’.

Dishes on the tasting menu include a lightly set miso custard with hen of the wood’s mushrooms, black truffle and mushroom dashi; steamed cod with whey, Cippolini onions, smoked eel and buttermilk; roasted duck with fig leaf, celeriac and wholemeal bread; and strawberries with jasmine cream, rose geranium and caramelised white chocolate. 

The restaurant opens for lunch from Thursday to Saturday at noon until 1:30pm and for dinner between Wednesday and Saturday from 6:30pm to 8pm.

The awards organiser said: “While the food isn’t a million miles away from what Barnes was cooking at Rogan’s seminal Lake District restaurant L’Enclume, the young chef has put his mark on it. For example, the tiramisu that is served at the end of each meal is a homage to Barnes’ late father.

“Skof looks set to make a big impact in a city that has a pumping restaurant scene but is in general unmoved by fancy restaurants.”