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New to Leeds: Mi’s Noodles

· Andrew Emery · Food and Drink

It’s Chinese, but not as you know it.

Mi's Noodles

Handmade noodles and quality ingredients make Mi’s Noodles the perfect place for casual dining.

In the mood for a different kind of Chinese food? The fine people from Vicar Lane’s Hang Sing Hong shop – aka Taste the Orient – and recent Korean/Japanese arrival Oba Kitchen have got just the place for you. Say hello to Mi’s Noodles, an informal spot for dining in or taking away, but with a focus on the flavours of Yunnan province.

Whereas most Chinese eateries in Leeds – in fact, the UK as a whole –take you on a tour of Cantonese and Szechuan cuisine, Mi’s Noodles is a very casual restaurant that delivers a mix of hot and cold dishes from China’s most southwestern province. That means plenty of handmade ramen and the region’s famed mixian noodles.

Mi's Noodles

The approach is extremely relaxed, a place that’s very much an ‘eat-and-go’ noodle shop rather than a ‘starter, main course, dessert’ restaurant. In the heart of Leeds, it’s a great pitstop when you’re out shopping and need a quick fix of noodles. That’s not to say that the menu doesn’t have some surprises up its sleeve, however.

One dish perfectly captures the approach of Mi’s Noodles – a soup that you can customise. You can choose from six soup bases, including tomato, chilli tomato, spicy, clear, pickled vegetable and Tom Yum (a hot and sour soup often seen on Thai menus), then your choice of noodle, vermicelli, udon or ramen. Then it’s your pick of meat and veg, from roast duck through to tofu.

Mi's Noodles

If you prefer to let the experts do their thing, put yourself in the chef’s hands by going for the beef brisket soup with signature noodles, or the mixed seafood with tomato. Some like it hot – and those people will be delighted with the spicy poached fish fillet or Super Hot Special with its combination of king prawn, roast pork, crab meat and more.

If you fancy more of a feast, there are some great appetisers to tuck into. Spring rolls bursting with shredded duck, chicken wings with salt and pepper, spicy crispy chicken and deep-fried squid. Perfectly crisp tempura prawns are a wise choice, although vegetarians may want to go for the tempura vegetables with sweet chilli dip.

Mi's Noodles

The cold dishes here are a real point of difference with many other Oriental restaurants. Refreshing, with the spices and seasoning really showing through, poached chicken Yunnan style and sliced beef shin with homemade chilli oil showcase the kitchen’s abilities and bring something completely new to Leeds.

Some of the dishes are more challenging, but they reward the brave. Century preserved eggs have a strong, salty flavour due to their curing process – here they’re paired with a thrilling chilli oil. Shredded pig is served three ways, with dishes of pig ears, tripes and pig shin giving culinary explorers the chance to roam a little further afield than normal.

Mi's Noodles

While the menu likes to surprise – pig intestine with pickle beans – it’s also full of more familiar offerings for those who just want a curry in a hurry or the warm hug of something like beef with black pepper. Sweet and sour chicken or prawn in black bean sauce are reassuringly solid classics served up with aplomb.

Wash your lunch or dinner down with a couple of unusual drinks. Cantonese Milk Tea is not your average brew. It’s made with condensed or evaporated milk rather than normal milk, a drink massively popular in Hong Kong. The same is true of Salted Lemon 7Up, which does exactly what is says on the tin – a preserved, salted lemon is added to a can of 7 Up. It’s a must-try at Mi’s Noodles.

Mi’s Noodles, Merrion Centre, 21 Merrion Way, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 8BT.