There’s a new Chinese restaurant in town, Man’s Market. It’s not your usual chintzy Chinese eaterie though…owner Ray Chan has decided he wants to play it a little differently. He wants to get away from the usual fish tanks, chinese carpets and MSG-laden food. He’s hoping to give us a modern Chinese, one which will make us reappraise the cuisine again. Not an easy ask!
Man’s Market is in the financial district of Leeds, half way down Wellington Street in ‘that new bit’ as I call it. West Point.
I hadn’t been to the area in a little while and marvelled at how much it had changed…including all the restaurants and coffee shops that are springing up. Man’s Market is next to Primo’s and has rather a small unassuming doorway.
Walk through that little doorway and you enter “Ladies Market”…a feast for the eyes of quintessential Chinese market ‘stuff’ that you’d easily find in Shanghai or Hong Kong. Handbags, fans, road signs…and of course, those arm-knocking-good-luck-bringing Chinese cats (Maneki-neko).
Regular readers will know that I’m a bit of a fan of an industrial influenced décor, so I smiled as soon as I walked down the stairs to the restaurant.
We were going to be sitting in what I’ll call the ‘container’ part of Man’s Market…
To order, you fill in your “I’m Thirsty” and “Feed Me” cards and peg them above your table. This, so Ray told us, was to avoid the usual hassle of trying to catch the waiter’s eye to come to your table. There was also a card to ask for the bill. Nice.
The drinks offering is impressive. Lots of high end spirits, beers and cocktails on offer, along with fresh juices made to order. I tried a few and they were really good. Great if you want to pack in a few vitamins…or maybe you’re just on the wagon, like I was that evening!
The menu is thankfully focused on a smaller number of dishes than a traditional Chinese would be. Less to to be overwhelmed by.
We started with some prawns crackers whilst we waited for the starters and mains.
I say prawn crackers, I mean MEGA CRACKERS (as I’m calling them).
They are super sized and pretty damn delicious… I think the only improvement there would be a deeper sauce bowl. For some reason those mega crackers, even when you break them off, make you want to take an equally big dip of sauce!
Here’s a quick look at what we sampled to eat:
Man’s Market Starters
The dumplings were tasty…
The salt and pepper calamari were delicious!
I found the firecracker king prawns a bit disappointing…I think mainly because the name suggested they would be spicy and they weren’t at all, just fairly sweet. They were actually lovely, to be fair. Just not spicy.
I loved their take on crispy duck…
Main Dishes at Man’s Market
The duck was beautifully cooked and tasty.
One of my favourite dishes was the sweet and sour chicken. Instead of chicken swimming in a pool of thick gloopy
MSG sweet and sour sauce, the chicken is served on a hanging skewer with the rest of the ingredients deconstructed underneath. Fresh tasting sauce with an absolutely delicious salad and small bowl of rice.
Apologies for the terrible photo. In the light we had, my camera refused to focus on the skewer and wanted to capture lovely Lauren behind instead. Ah well, you get the idea.
The Chinese chicken curry looked a little unappetising at first (maybe it was the skin forming), but actually was lovely. Great tasting with a lovely texture.
I loved the tofu. I can’t remember which one it was, sorry…the broccoli is a real winner too. Definitely worth ordering.
I’m not sure what this dish was, but I’d definitely order it again – I loved the chunky cut al dente veg with the chicken…
The salmon fillet was fab. Lovely crispy skin and tender salmon underneath.
I’d never usually consider dessert at a Chinese restaurant. I’m usually full up on MSG and can’t fit another bite in. I was just pleasantly full though after our starters and mains at Man’s Market…I didn’t feel over-stuffed. So, obvs that meant there’s room for dessert!
I loved the chocolate option…
The fortune cookie was lovely. I’m a fan.
The deep fried ice cream is a great idea. I once had a deep fried mars bar in Edinburgh and it was pretty epic…this was a lovely, less calorific, reminder of that.
So, basically…the dessert options were all total winners for me!
By that stage I really was full. Time just to take a photo with ‘the squad’ and we were DONE.
Thanks to Man’s Market and Pink Gorilla for a lovely evening of food and chats. I’d absolutely recommend checking Man’s Market out for yourself. I think it’s a much needed addition to the Leeds restaurant scene. A Chinese restaurant with a difference. It’s modern, the food tastes great and feels healthier than the traditional style. I liked Ray’s enthusiasm for his own restaurant. I know that sounds odd, of course he is enthused about his new restaurant…but you could just see that he had looked at every detail himself and was very proud. And so he should be. I love the place.
For booking details, go to their website.
* Please note our dinner and drinks were complimentary for review purposes. My opinions, as always, are all mine. Mine I tell you!