When it comes to a lazy one, and ordering a takeaway, Nathan needn’t ask twice when it comes to what I want. Chinese of course. When it comes to buffets, the same applies, a Chinese, although I’m also very partial to a fair share of Rodizio served meats.
But you get the gist.
My go-to is pretty much the Chinese cuisine, and it’s one I could most likely eat every day and not get bored of. Saying that, I haven’t tried yet.
But when it comes to a restaurant, you know, the proper spiel of being seated and selecting your own two or three course meal from a menu, there aren’t many Chinese restaurants that spring to mind.
And definitely not any that match Leeds’s trendy and creative flair.I mentioned in my last post that I recently had the pleasure of reviewing MANS Market, the latest addition to our city’s food and drink scene serving up all things delicious.
Having the chance to talk to Ray Chan (the chappy in the image below), the man behind MANS Market, the bar concept is one that has obviously been developed in Leeds but takes complete inspiration from Hong Kong, making it the authentic yet innovative dining experience we needed. MANS Market describes itself as an accessible, new age, and hip Chinese restaurant. Can certainly vouch for that. In big red glowing letters, the venue sits just around the corner from Lazy Lounge on Wellington Street, with an entrance that immediately screams awesome.
From waving cats, to paper lanterns, to tees and purses, and patterned parasols, the first step into the venue are inspired by HK’s Ladies Market. The venue is stunning, with design quirks you could quite easily miss, if you didn’t know more about Ray and his vision. With photographs to represent the journey and history of food in Hong Kong, right through to the Chinese writing on the wall, to the numberings on the decorative shipping containers representing official dates for MANS Market.
The menu itself was all very personalised in the sense that traditional dishes had a humble twist to them, ones that Ray wanted to incorporate and bring an element of proximity but also unfamiliarity.
It brings an element of surprise and question, which makes eating and drinking here so much fun. With references to Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, and HK’s hot spots, it’s hard to not be entertained by the menu.And when the food comes out, it’s impossible to not be impressed by the presentation and taste. From mixed dim sum that were so juicy and full of flavour, to salt and pepper calamari that had a marvellous kick to it, to crunchy firecracker king prawns that left your mouth watering for more.The food throughout played perfectly with your taste buds, each seasoned and combined with the ideal sides.
The duck rolls were crispy, with a centre that was tender and moist, followed by the ‘Around The World’ chicken curry that was aromatic and well balanced in spice. Important to mention are also the portion sizes, which are very fair for their pricing.
Two dishes that intrigued the table the most were the MANS Mountain Rice which was served in a thick sauce and the sweet and sour chicken which was served on a skewer. The sauce was in a pot which our table had a lot of fun with pouring over the chicken.One of the highlights for me though, was the salmon fillet served with soy and green. Fried to perfection and again, a dish that was well combined with our side of super green fried rice.I wouldn’t usually recommend chips, but in this instance, I could only encourage you to try out the triple cooked chips and salt, pepper, chilli and spring onion. Describing them as tasty doesn’t even give the chips enough justice.
For you sweet toothed folk out there, four desserts are up for grabs on the menu, with the flourless choc cake and the deep fried ice cream being my two favourites. Yes, I was a greedy guts, and I indulged in the MANS fortune cookie.
Original and fun, our Hong Kong Long Island Tea was served in a takeaway box and I couldn’t have been any happier with it!
The tasty twist on the classic saw the vodka, gin and rum matched with jasmine, ginger and lemonade, whilst the Ladies Market Espresso was strong and awakening, making it the perfect finisher for after dessert. Also served the Lam Tsuen, the orange, lemon, carrot and ginger soft drink was fresh and nutritious, and an absolute delight to drink.
The whole menu sounds amazing, and for a nice change, it’s one you won’t find overwhelming. Followed by a damn cool venue and friendly staff, MANS Market is one to visit and make note of. Quirky and marvellously tasty, this venue is the perfect newcomer to the foodie scene.Oh and if you do go, maybe ask the team to tell you about the mashed potato sign?!
Huge thanks to Ray, Mav, the rest of the MANS Market and Pink Gorilla team for the invite.
Signing off with a hungry belly thinking about this,