12:00 PM 11th January 2020
Mad Frans Bar And Cafe, Leeds - You Would Be Mad To Miss It
As you wander through Wellington Place in Leeds you pass by numerous new tower blocks home of these high tech industries - Google and SkyBet are just two of the companies who have decided to have offices here. Floor to ceiling windows let passers by look in on workers sat at rows of computer screens. If this is the start of a new industrial revolution then Leeds is definitely at the forefront again.
All these workers though need somewhere to eat including those from the apartments and adjacent hotels that nestle in this thriving neighbourhood.
Mad Frans Cafe and Bar only opened a few weeks prior to Christmas. The huge tinted windows might come into play during the summer months on the south facing elevation, but on a cold dark January evening you cannot see what lies beyond and doesn't really give the impression that this is an eating emporium rather than just a bar.
Step inside though and you will be glad you came. It's warm inside - the decor is your typically modern wooden floors, exposed steel works ceiling with a long bar taking centre stage.
It's not particularly busy, a few late stragglers from one of the nearby offices talk of the happenings of the day and really the place is yours.
An on going offer of 30% off food Monday to Friday from 4pm to 7pm hasn't really had much effect yet. Come Friday night and weekends though I'm reliably informed that the place is full, especially with the brunch offer. Sundays too are popular with the best 12 hour roasted beef in Leeds they say, served with all the trimmings. It's enough for all those office workers to put in for double time on a Sunday!
You can even hire the place out for private parties and I can see the potential there.
The Head chef, Gary Pickles has worked under Gordon Ramsey and the intention is to serve the best of Yorkshire produce.
The menu though not large has something for everyone from traditional dishes such as Steak and Root Vegetable Pie, mushy peas and Mad Frans signature gravy (£9.00) to Asian Style Belly Pork, steamed bun and Kimchi (£8.00). Add to that starters and sandwiches and you have some very tempting dishes.
If you like your cocktails then you are in luck as they serve a very good Mad Frans Sling amongst a list as tall as the adjacent office blocks.
My starter of Smoked Ham Hock whose Ham came from a rare breed farm near Ripon was delicious, the mature cheddar bites were not too cheesy and the Piccalilli is made from a recipe handed down from Gary's grandmother.
Mad Frans Chilli Cheese Burger
My partner decided upon the slow braised Sticky chicken wings served sweet, though you can have them hot too. You get a lot as with most of the menu. Tenderly cooked it was the perfect introduction to what lay ahead.
They have daily specials such as my Mad Frans Chilli Cheese Burger, a thick meaty burger where the beef came from the aforementioned farm near Ripon. Served with Chilli, cheese sauce and fries on the side you taste everything - no one flavour disguised the other. The sauces are all made in house too.
Chickpea and Pepper Masala
My partner thought a cold January evening deserved the Mad Frans Chickpea and Pepper Masala, spiced Lentil Dahl and rice would warm her up - and it did. Each item comes separately so you can mix them together on your plate. The added chicken brought the price up to £9.00.
The desert menu is not too extensive. My Sticky Toffee Pudding came with succulent raisins that had been soaked in Bourbon for 2 weeks. A delicious, rich and satisfying indulgence that like the rest of the food was top class.
My partner's Chocolate Brownie infused with raspberries with Bourbon toffee sauce and Vanilla ice cream was different from the norm in that the raspberries gave it a sharper edge.
If this was Lille or Lyon in France and not Leeds you could imagine the office workers enjoying two hour lunches and at weekends families would linger long after they have eaten their meal regardless of where the restaurant is located.
I hope that Mad Frans is a success as it deserves to do well. You would be mad to miss it.
Mad Frans, Building 6, Wellington Place, Whitehall Road, Leeds LS1 4EQ