Restaurant review: Mans Market, Leeds

PIC: Simon Hulme
PIC: Simon Hulme
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It’s been over a year since our last trip to Mans Market, so how is the “accessible, new age, hip” (their words, not mine) Chinese restaurant doing?

It’s trendy, vibrant and full of delightful quirks, from the odd ordering arrangements, which we will explain shortly, to the wall art. I’ve been back a few times since this review, it’s my new favourite spot.

I ordered the express lunchtime box special which included a decent sized portion of duck, vegetables, noodles (which only cost £1 to add to the meal) and delicious pork dumplings. All of this together plus a small glass of wine was a mere £11.95, a bargain for the amount that you get in your box.

Read last week’s review of Stew & Oyster, Otley here.

I was expecting Chinese takeout style food but this was far from a heavy, greasy meal - it was alive with flavour, colour, and flair.

The meat was lean, vegetables crisp and the dipping sauce that accompanied the dumplings was so good I drained the tiny bowl before my main even arrived.

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Even though I was keen to try the meat dishes, I took a colleague who is vegetarian - the fear of poor choice and plain meals is always at the forefront of her mind when dining.

She was pleasantly surprised, the menu was full of variation. She chose steamed vegetable dumplings (£4.50), tempura aubergine bao (£5.50) and noodles (£3.75) on the side, somewhat of a lunchtime feast. It was all delicious, the only complaint was there was a little too much garlic, so if you’re running back for an afternoon meeting make sure to pack some mints.

I’m sure this restaurant is frequented by masses on a weekend, however, I strongly suggest you wait out the rush and try to go on a lunch break. The service is fast enough to leisurely enjoy your meal without worrying about getting back to your desk. The atmosphere is far more pleasant when there are just a few other lone wolves.

So, back to that ordering system. This is done not by conversing with a waiter but by writing down the numbers of dishes and drinks on a card which you then attach to a large peg dangling above your table.

This may sound strange and we were unsure how to proceed until our very helpful and patient waiter walked us through step by step.

I can see the benefits of such a system but at the same time, almost all human contact has been removed. Is this a good thing?

As an introvert who often likes to dine alone with nothing else but a good book I think the idea is marvellous and one that I wish more restaurants would adopt. Others may disagree.

My only complaint of Mans Market was the cheeky addition of prawn crackers to our bill (£2), as we thought they were free.

Gete the low-down on the new Leeds Ivy here.

Factfile

Mans Market, West Point, Wellington Street, Leeds LS1 4JJ

Scores:

Food - 7/10

Value - 8/10

Atmosphere - 6/10

Service - 5/10