Mans Market Leeds review: Here's what I thought of the trendy Chinese restaurant in Wellington Street
and live on Freeview channel 276
However, despite its exceptionally cool decor, novel way of ordering and achingly hip playlist, Mans Market is good. It’s very good.
As we arrive, the signs are excellent. Literally. On the wall there’s a highly amusing board with a few names and phrases on and their translation from Chinese: ‘All My Friends Are Trouble-Maker’ pronounces one; ‘Sausage Looking’ and ‘From Far Distance You Look Like a Rainbow, From Near You Look Like Big Potato’ say others. They know me so well…
Down the stairs we go and are met by the friendly team who show us to our table in one of the dining areas, festooned with lanterns and fairy lights and, intriguingly, a large paper clip hanging from the ceiling.
Our server explains that when we’re ready to order drinks, we pin a sign to it that lets them know we’re thirsty; when we have chosen our food, we pop a Feed Me sign up with our choices on.
Genius, really: There’s no pressure to choose while the waiter hovers expectantly and you’re not looking around for them to appear when you’re absolutely Hank Marvin.
The menu itself isn’t huge but the possibilities are. It’s a bit like tapas – you can pair sharing platters with appetisers or soup with bao buns. Or grab a sharing pan all to yourself with a side order of rice; whatever floats your boat.
My guest goes for salt and pepper spare ribs then duck and char siu – sliced aromatic duck and barbecue pork with Chinese greens and a soy broth.
It’s an abundance of flavour that goes together beautifully and is perfectly accompanied by a generous bowl of fluffy egg fried rice.
My initial disappointment that there’s no szechuan panko tofu left is tempered considerably by its replacement of a vegan sharing box.
Crisp tempura vegetables, firecracker cauliflower wings in THE most incredible hot sauce, deep-fried tofu, vegetable gyoza and spring rolls. There’s enough here to feed about four people but oddly enough we manage to demolish it between us without breaking sweat.
My curry with tofu isn’t the thickest or hottest I’ve ever had; however it doesn’t overpower the flavour of the tofu or the crunchy pepper and onion in it. Even better, it’s such a generous portion that I’m taking some home with me for tomorrow.
If you’re lucky enough to not be driving, there’s a comprehensive cocktail menu as well as draught and bottled beers and ciders. Our diet colas arrive in pint glasses Stan Ogden and Eddie Yates would have been proud of – it’s another quirky touch that makes you smile.
Service is excellent – despite there being a large party in the private dining room – and we’re pleasantly surprised when the bill arrives. Given how full we both are, and the fact that tomorrow’s lunch is in a plastic tub ready to take home, it’s pretty good value to say we’re in central Leeds.
You can even say you’ve been there and got the T-shirt – for £20 you can take one home with ‘Rice Rice Baby’ on the back. But I’ll save the cash for the next time we visit.
Address: Unit F, West Point, Wellington St, Leeds LS1 4JJ
Telephone: 0113 244 0808
Open: Wed-Thurs noon-10pm; Fri-Sat noon-11pm; Sunday noon-9pm. Brunch is served between noon and 5pm.