Black Market brought the wow-factor to Chapel Allerton when they burst pertly onto the Leeds dining scene recently, and we were keen to see what their new small plates menu was saying. Owners Jon and Justina have said openly that they don’t want to be pigeon-holed, and instead want to focus on delivering great plates of food from all four corners of the globe.
We joined them for a special preview evening to run through the new menu, on the promise that we share with them our honest feedback. And, whilst my table agreed that a couple of tweaks were needed here and there, the large majority of the new dishes were an absolute triumph and good to go exactly as they were.
We began with some pre-meal canapes, which were absolutely delicious. The big surprise for me here was just how much I enjoyed the anchovies, which I’d normally avoid. Here, draped over a toasted brioche with peppers, tomatoes and a mixture of herbs, they really hit the mark and went down perfectly with a glass of Prosecco.
More seafood followed as a trio of dishes close to perfection arrived in quick succession. The Quinoa Risotto King Scallops with herb oil was filled with flavours subtle enough to let the gigantic molluscs take centre stage, and they really were a delight.
The Herb Crusted Barbequed Hake also went down a storm around the table, with the flaky fall-apart fish well complemented with the truffle aioli and chicken and mushroom soup. A personal highlight for me here was the Harissa Marinated Giant King Prawns. The plump, juicy prawns had a nice pinch of heat that blended well with the sweet, sour and nutty flavours of the accompanying cashews and tamarind cream.
Next up came a vegan dish, which didn’t quite hit the heights achieved elsewhere on the new menu. The Malay Chickpea Laksa blended kohlrabi and celeriac noodles with green chillies, shallots and coconut, but needed more punch in the flavour department for my personal taste.
The Braised Ox Cheeks were close to faultless, and were quite literally melt-in-the-mouth and drizzled with onions, a salty beef dashi broth and bone marrow crumb. The only thing we agreed that lost this dish points was the anchovy and parsley puree it was perched upon. The powerful flavours of the beef and anchovy were fighting for attention here, however, it has to be said that this didn’t stop us from polishing the plate off.
We ended the evening with the Yorkshire Lamb Board, and what a way to finish. Consisting of juicy lamb chops, tender lamb rump and an excellent pistachio dressing, this dish was just made for the Serbal Malbec and wrapped up what turned out to be my first truly memorable meal of 2019.
Chapel Allerton is indeed very lucky to have somewhere like this on their doorstep, because although central Leeds is brimming with fancy, cutting-edge cuisine, nobody does it quite like Black Market.
Words and photography by Jordan Fletcher.
Black Market, 5 Stainbeck Lane, Chapel Allerton, Leeds, LS7 3PJ. Tel: 0113 262 2531.