Tag Archive for: Drink

Back to normal, post-pandemic? Well, not quite. Manchester’s food drink scene faces further unprecedented pressures with the current cost of living and energy crises. Yet the daring, innovative flame still burns bright and hell, do they all know how to party. My morning after lifesaver was the recuperative vibe of the city’s glorious new Mayfield Park.

That’s the ‘back garden’ of Escape to Freight Island, again the venue for the Manchester Food and Drink Awards, where there was a rapturous reception for a parade of independent heroes. As fascinating a set of winners as I can recall. Name me another UK city where the big four awards would have gone to such an eclectic quartet as Where The Light Gets In, Eddie (Walled Gardens) Shepherd, Another Hand and Speak In Code. 

These winners were chosen by a combination of a ‘mystery shopping panel’ selected from MFDF judges, including yours truly, with a measure of public input. Independent Food Producer and Independent Drinks Producer were judged by a panel taste test. The rest of the awards followed last year’s precedent and were solely the result of the (impressively large) public vote. 

Across the board there was evidence of a strong commitment to sustainability, local sourcing, cultural diversity and community values. Buzz words all but sometimes just talking the talk. Not here.

Take the aforementioned ‘big four’. Stockport’s Where The Light Gets In sources produce from The Landing, its own urban gardening space on top of the town’s Merseyway Shopping Centre. Eddie Shepherd is even more hyper-local; his plant-based ‘underground restaurant’ in Whalley Range is driven by the bee hives and herbs in his (walled) garden diners look out on.

In the city centre Another Hand is a committed purchaser of fruit, veg and herbs from Cheshire’s groundbreaking Cinderwood market garden, which supplies several of the establishments on the Awards shortlists. Vegan cocktail specialists Speak In Code, a four minute walk away from Another Hand, is remarkably hands-on. The bartending staff craft the various veg, fruit and spice-led cocktail concoctions alongside plant-based snacks and their own customised ice.

Finally a hugely deserved award cementing the resurgence of Stockport as a gastronomic destination. Restaurant of the Year WTLGI and its baked goods sibling, Yellowhammer, which was also up for an award, had to share the limelight with two of the North’s canniest events operators. I’ve known John and Rosemary Barratt for nigh on three decades and Foodie Fridays, packing the cobbled ginnels around Stockport Market Place, is their benchmark achievement. On the night it earned them both Pop Up/ Project of the Year and the coveted Outstanding Achievement Award. Their on-stage celebration, below, was a fitting climax to a special night.

Here is the list of this year’s winners…

Restaurant of the Year – Where The Light Gets In

Shortlisted: 10 Tib Lane, Erst, The Sparrows, Another Hand, Mana, The Firehouse, Where the Light Gets In.

Chef of the Year – Eddie Shepherd (The Walled Gardens)

Shortlisted: Caroline Martins (Sao Paulo Project), Joseph Otway (Flawd), Sam Buckley (Where the Light Gets In) Patrick Withington (Erst), Adam Reid (The French), Julian Pizer (Another Hand), Eddie Shepherd (The Walled Gardens).

Newcomer of the Year – Another Hand

Shortlisted: The Alan, The Black Friar, Bundobust Brewery, Flawd, Yellowhammer, 10 Tib Lane, Another Hand.

Bar of the Year – Speak In Code

Shortlisted: Blinker Bar, Flawd 9, Henry C, Ramona, Schofield’s Bar, 10 Tib Lane, Speak in Code.

Pub or Craft Ale Bar of the Year – The King’s Arms, Salford

Shortlisted:Bridge Beers, Heaton Hops, House of Hops, Nordie, Track Taproom, Station Hop, The King’s Arms (Salford),

Independent Food Producer of the Year – Dormouse Chocolates

Shortlisted: Great North Pie Co, Holy Grain, La Chouquette, Long Boi’s Bakehouse, Polyspore, Yellowhammer, Dormouse Chocolates.

Independent Drinks Producer of the Year – Hip Pop

Shortlisted: Cloudwater Brew Co, Into the Gathering Dusk, Bundobust Brewery, Stockport Gin, Steep Soda, Track Brewing, Hip Pop.

Pop Up/ Project of the Year – Foodie Fridays, Stockport

Shortlisted: Platt Fields Market Garden, Sao Paulo Project, Suppher, Eat Well Spring Festival, Bungalow at Kampus, Heart and Parcel, Foodie Fridays. 

Neighbourhood Venue of the Year – Bar San Juan, Chorlton

Shortlisted: Baratuxi, The Easy Fish Co, Nila’s Burmese Kitchen, Ornella’s Kitchen, Osma, The Perfect Match, Bar San Juan.

Food Trader of the Year – Burgerism

Shortlisted – House of Habesha, Little Lanka, Lovingly Artisan, Mira, New Wave Ramen, Pico’s Tacos, Burgerism.

Affordable Eats of the Year – Salt & Pepper MCR

Shortlisted: Aunty Ji’s, Bahn Mi Co Ba, Cafe Sanjuan, Levenshulme Bakery, Go Falafel, Mama Flo’s, Salt & Pepper MCR.

Coffee Shop of the Year – Pollen

Shortlisted: Cafe Sanjuan, Factory Coffee, Grind and Tamp, Grapefruit, Just Between Friends, Station South, Pollen

Plant-based Offering of the Year – Wholesome Junkies

Shortlisted: Four Side Pizza, Herbivorous, Otto Vegan Empire, Ruyi, Sanskruti, The Walled Gardens

Wholesome Junkies.

Food and Drink Retailer of the Year – Chorlton Cheesemongers

Shortlisted: Ad Hoc, Hello Oriental, Coopers Lets Fress Deli, Le Social, Out of the Blue, Wandering Palate, Chorlton Cheesemongers.

Foodie Neighbourhood of the Year – Ancoats

Shortlisted; Chapel Street Salford, Monton, Prestwich, Ramsbottom, Sale, Stockport, Ancoats.

Great Service Award – Dishoom

Shortlisted: Bull & Bear, Hawksmoor, Flawd, Schofield’s Bar, Speak in Code, 10 Tib Lane, Dishoom.

Howard and Ruth’s Outstanding Achievement Award – John and Rosemary Barratt (Foodie Fridays, Stockport)

The Manchester Food and Drink Festival, delayed for a week by the Period of National Mourning, continues until Sunday, October 2. Here is my lowdown.  Event images mostly courtesy of Carl Sukonik

And finally a plug for the 25 Eventful Years of The Manchester Food and Drink podcast, which I did with festival founder Phil Jones, top food PR Siobhan Hanley and the doyen of Blue Badge guides, Jonathan Schofield. It was a hoot. Listen here.

Cast your mind back a quarter of a century. ‘Craft beer’ didn’t exist, street food was probably a bag of chips and fusion sounded like something electrical. OK, a certain Robert Owen Brown (above) was probably spit-roasting a whole steer in a car park somewhere, but without his carnivore core audience baying for a commentary. How the scene was about to change.

Flash forward to the 25th Manchester Food and Drink Festival (September 15-26) – a landmark event guaranteed, given I’ve been there from the beginning, to make me feel old. As will the climactic Manchester Food and Drink Awards gala dinner. So many of the places I’ve been instrumental in garnering gongs for as a veteran judge are no longer with us.

Melancholy aside, what a remarkable transformation for the better has taken place in our expectations and how they are catered for. This is reflected in the first wave of the 2022 programme, full details of which are on the website. Cathedral Gardens will once again host the free to attend Festival Hub with its array of street food traders and bars…  plus the Artisan Food Market, open from 15th–18th and 22nd–25th from midday to 7pm.

Among the special events and masterclasses my initial enthusiasm is for the first ever Festival Fire Pit Takeover, coming to the Hub for both long weekends. Sponsored by Weber, it will invite some of the region’s best loved chefs to cook over fire. These will include Caroline Martins, founder of the Sao Paolo Project, Fazenda exec chef Francisco Martinez and, yes, Robert Owen Brown.

The Hub will also feature the Octopus Cookbook Confidential demo kitchen on Saturday 24th September in collaboration with the publishing house of that name. Top chefs and industry experts will come together to share their tips and knowledge in cookery demos and debate. Spaces are free but limited and can be booked now.

Best known of the participants is probably telly’s Kate Humble, but my hot tip is don’t miss Jaega Wise, award-winning brewer/TV and radio presenter, going head to head with spirits guru Joel Harrison in conversation with Neil Ridley, subject Beer vs Cocktails.

Away from the festival hub, an array of activities will be taking place across Manchester city centre. Tickets are available to buy here for the Wine and Fizz Festival in a new home that’s the talk of Manchester. It will be the first event to be held in NOMA district’s New Century, currently being repurposed to open as new events hall and food hub from September. Cork of the North, Grape to Grain and sake masters UKiYO Republic re the first names on the team sheet for that kick-off.

Look out, too for a £25 for 25 years menu collaboration for the duration of the festival. Already signed up to provide these menu bargains are District, Embankment Kitchen, Three Little Words, Mi and Pho, Shoryu Ramen, Tast and Society.

It’s always great when some of your favourite food and drink acts get the major plaudits. The weekend buzz was all about Erst in Ancoats being praised to the skies by Observer critic Jay Rayner. Deservedly so. I last reviewed it pre-pandemic and still remember a remarkable experience.

Equally immense has been the contribution of Pollen Bakery, not far away at New Islington Marina. Check out my recent celebration of their 28 hour sourdough. The public obviously share my opinion. They voted them Artisan Food Producer of the Year in the Manchester Food and Drink Awards on Monday, held in the really rather remarkable Escape To Freight Island Ticket Hall. Fittingly Escape themselves won Pop Up/Project of the Year. 

Chef of the Year Rachel Stockley gets a well-deserved hug from Baratxuri co-owner Fiona Botham

But the big winner on the night was Baratxuri, the Ramsbottom pintxos bar that also has a wood-fired outlet at Freight Island. It won Restaurant of the Year and its chef Rachel Stockley (above) Chef of the Year.

Receiving her award, she gave an impassioned speech about the role of women in the hospitality industry. To see what all the fuss is about re Baratxuri and its big sister Levanter read my glowing review from earlier this month.

In total 16 award winners were announced from food and drink establishments across Greater Manchester in this fitting climax to a resurgent Manchester Food and Drink Festival, which saw a record 80,000 visitors coming to the Festival Hub at Cathedral Gardens. 

This year it was an Awards with a difference. The shortlists were compiled by the MFDF judging panel, made up of the region’s leading food and drink critics, writers and experts (including yours truly). Amid challenging circumstances, the ‘mystery shopping’ element of the judging process was paused this year. Instead, the winners were decided entirely by the public – with food and drink fans voting in their thousands via the website. And the winners were…

Restaurant of the Year – Baratxuri, Ramsbottom

Shortlisted: Adam Reid at The French; Erst, Ancoats; Hawksmoor; Mana, Ancoats; Sparrows; Street Urchin; Where The Light Gets In; Baratxuri, Ramsbottom.

Recognising the ‘best of the best’ dining establishments in Greater Manchester in 2021, this category refers to venues visited primarily for a full dining experience featuring table service, alcohol license etc.

Chef of the Year – Rachel Stockley

Shortlisted: Adam Reid (The French); Eddie Shepherd (The Walled Gardens), Mary-Ellen McTague (The Creameries, Chorlton); Patrick Withington (Erst, Ancoats); Sam Buckley (WTLGI, Stockport); Simon Martin (Mana, Ancoats); Terry Huang (Umezushi); Rachel Stockley (Baratxuri, Ramsbottom).

Aiming to recognise the most talented and outstanding work of chefs cooking in Greater Manchester kitchens – their skill, menu, commitment and contribution to the dining scene.

Newcomer of the Year – Ramona, Swan Street
Shortlisted: District, NQ; Open Kitchen MCR; Osma, Prestwich; Pho Cue; Schofield’s Bar; Society; The Moor, Heaton Moor; Ramona.

Recognising the best new food and drink operations to open in Greater Manchester since the last awards decision period (August 2020). Date eligibility: Establishments opened between August 2020 and June 2021. Sponsored by the Manchester Evening News.

Bar of the Year – Albert’s Schloss, Peter Street

Shortlisted: Henry C Chorlton; Kiosk West Didsbury; Schofield’s Bar; Speak in Code; 

The Blues Kitchen; The Jane Eyre, Ancoats, Three Little Words, Albert’s Schloss.

Recognising the best drinking venues in the region that specialise in a “wet-led” offer and aren’t considered ‘pubs’. 

Pub or Craft Ale Bar of the Year – Edinburgh Castle,  Ancoats

Shortlisted: Beatnikz Republic; Cob and Coal, Oldham; Heaton Hops, Heaton Chapel; Society, Manchester; Nordie, Levenshulme; Reasons To Be Cheerful, Burnage; Stalybridge Buffet Bar; Edinburgh Castle.

Recognising the finest pub and beer bars in the region, focusing on quality and range of ales, beers and atmosphere. 

Artisan Food Producer of the Year – Pollen Bakery, Cotton Field Wharf,

Shortlisted: Bread Flower;  Companio Bakery, Ancoats; Gooey, Ducie Street Warehouse; Holy Grain Sourdough, Great Northern Mews; Just Natas, Manchester Arndale; Lily’s Deli, Chorlton; Manchester Smokehouse; Pollen Bakery.

Celebrating the fabulous array of food producers popping up around the region, including bakeries, picklers, pie makers and everything in between.

Pop Up/ Project of the Year – Escape to Freight Island, Baring Street

Shortlisted: Eat Well MCR; GRUB, Red Bank; Homeground, Medlock St; Kampus Summer Guest Events, Aytoun Street; Platt Fields Market, Platt Fields Market Garden; One Central, Charis House, Altrincham; MIF Festival, Festival Square; Escape to Freight Island.

Recognising exciting projects and events and showcasing innovation and creativity within the food and beverage sector.

Neighbourhood Venue of the Year – Lily’s, Ashton-under-Lyne

Shortlisted: Bar San Juan, Chorlton; Levanter, 10 Square St, Ramsbottom; Erst, Ancoats;

The Fisherman’s Table, Marple; Porta, Salford; Oystercatcher, Chorlton; Stretford Foodhall; Lily’s.

This award is set to recognise the superb establishments that are based in the suburbs of Greater Manchester. Sponsored by Roomzzz Aparthotels.

Food Trader of the Year – Wholesome Junkies, Manchester Arndale

Shortlisted – Abeja Tapas Bar, Hatch; Archchi’s; Gooey, Ducie Street Warehouse; Honest Crust; Maison Breizh; Pico’s Tacos; Tender Cow; Wholesome Junkies.
Awarding the Greater Manchester-based food heroes that are gracing our food halls, markets and events with an ever increasing range of gastro goods

Affordable Eats of the Year – Rudy’s, Ancoats and Peter Street

Shortlisted: Abeja Tapas Bar; Chapati Café, Chorlton; Ca Phe Viet, Ancoats; Little Yeti, Chorlton; Lily’s, Ashton-under-Lyne; Mi & Pho, Northenden; Platt Fields Market Garden; Rudy’s Pizza.

Recognising the best venues that are visited for a high value, quick and simple dining experience. Sponsored by Just Eat.

Coffee Shop of the Year: Federal, Nicholas Croft, NQ

Sortlisted: Another Heart to Feed, NQ; Ancoat’s Coffee, Royal Mill; Ezra & Gil, NQ; Grindsmith; Grapefruit, Sale; Just Between Friends, NQ; Pollen Bakery, Ancoats; Federal.

Recognising the best coffee shops and bars in Greater Manchester.

Veggie/Vegan Offering of the Year – Bundobust, Piccadilly

Shortlist: Eddie Shepherd (Walled Gardens, Whalley Range); Four Side Pizza, NQ); Herbivorous, Hatch; Lily’s, Ashton-under-Lyne; Sanskruti, Mauldeth Rd; Wholesome Junkies, Manchester Arndale; Vertigo, several venues; Bundobust (also now on Oxford Street).

This award recognises venues that provide innovative and exciting dining options for vegetarian and vegan diners.

Independent Drinks Producer of the Year – Manchester Gin, Watson Street
Shortlisted: Bundobust; Cloudwater Brewery; Diablesse Rum; Hip Pop (Formerly Booch & Brew), Dunham Massey; Northern Monkey, Bolton); Pomona Island Beer Brew Co, Salford; Steep Soda Co,; Manchester Gin.

Celebrating the many exciting and innovative producers of artisan drinks in Greater Manchester.

Food and Drink Retailer of the Year – Ancoats General Store 

Shortlisted: The Butcher’s Quarter, NQ; Bernie’s Grocery Store, Heaton Moor; Grape to Grain, Prestwich and Ramsbottom; Isca, Levenshulme; Out of the Blue, Chorlton; Unicorn Grocery, Chorlton; Wandering Palate, Eccles; Ancoats General Store.

The Best Food and Drink Retailer celebrates the best food and drink shopping experiences in the region.

Foodie Neighbourhood of the Year – Altrincham

Shortlisted: Heaton Moor, Prestwich, Ramsbottom, Sale, Stockport, Stretford, Urmston, Altrincham.

New for 2021, this award has been set up to celebrate those thriving communities and neighbourhoods in Greater Manchester that continue to build a name for themselves as a foodie destination outside the city centre.

Outstanding Achievement Award – Mital Morar (Store Group)

Recognising someone who has contributed something outstanding to the hospitality industry in Greater Manchester.

Much has been made of the North’s dominance in the National Restaurant Awards announced this week with four out of the five best establishments up here and 16 in the top 40. Manchester only contributed two, both in Ancoats – Mana at number 11 and Erst, just along Murray Street, at 47. 

A truer reflection of the city’s strength in depth came hot on the heels of that national Top 100 when the shortlist for the Manchester Food and Drink Awards 2021 was announced. A record 113 nominees will contest the 15 categories, all the winners to be chosen entirely by the public for the first time in the MFDF’s 24 year history. 

It is a matter of expediency, post-Pandemic logistics meaning the normal ‘mystery shopping’ by the judging panel is impracticable. The Manchester Food and Drink Festival , sponsored by Just Eat, kicks off on September 16 and the Awards will be presented at the Ticket Hall at Escape to Freight Island (pictured above) on Monday, September  27.

As a senior MFDF judge my personal wish is for normal service to be resumed in 2022, but this fresh formula of the public picking their favourites from shortlists drawn up by the judges is an interesting litmus test. Ideally it will reflect the increased foodie sophistication of the city and its satellites alongside pride in the hospitality culture that has survived a torrid 18 months. One new category likely to be hotly contested is ‘Best Foodie Neighbourhood’.

You can vote for each Award via the MFDF website or app. The app can be downloaded on the App Store here and Google Play here. The closing date for votes is 11.59pm on Monday, September 20. Fancy a ticket for the Awards presentation dinner itself? Tickets are on sale here.

Here are the 2021 Manchester Food and Drink Awards Nominations:


Adam Reid at The French, 16 Peter St, Manchester M60 2DS

Baratxuri, 1 Smithy St, Ramsbottom, Bury BL0 9AT

Erst, 9 Murray St, Ancoats, Manchester M4 6HS

Hawksmoor, 184, 186 Deansgate, Manchester M3 3WB

Mana, 42 Blossom St, Ancoats, Manchester M4 6BF

The Spärrows, 16 Red Bank, Cheetham Hill, Manchester M4 4HF

Street Urchin, 72 Great Ancoats St, Manchester M4 5BG

Where The Light Gets In, 7 Rostron Brow, Stockport SK1 1JY

NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR sponsored by Manchester Evening News

District, 60 Oldham St, Manchester M4 1LE

Open Kitchen MCR, People’s History Museum, Left Bank, Manchester M3 3ER

Osma, 132 Bury New Rd, Prestwich, Manchester M25 0AA

Pho Cue Vietnamese Kitchen, 52a Faulkner St, Manchester M1 4FH

Ramona, 40 Swan St, Manchester M4 5JG

Schofield’s Bar, 3 Little Quay Street Sunlight House, Manchester M3 3JZ

Society, Basement, 100 Barbirolli Square, Manchester M2 3BD

The Moor, 27 Shaw Rd, Stockport SK4 4A


Albert’s Schloss, 27 Peter St, Manchester M2 5QR

Henry C, 107 Manchester Rd, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester M21 9GA

Kiosk, Lapwing Ln, West Didsbury, Manchester M20 6UT

Schofield’s Bar, 3 Little Quay Street Sunlight House, Manchester M3 3JZ

Speak in Code, 7 Jackson’s Row, Manchester M2 5ND

The Blues Kitchen, 13 Quay St, Manchester M3 3HN

The Jane Eyre, Ancoats, 14 Hood St, Ancoats, Manchester M4 6WX

Three Little Words, 12-13 Watson St, Manchester M3 4LP


Adam Reid (The French), 16 Peter St, Manchester M60 2DS

Eddie Shepherd (The Walled Garden), The Pavilion, Byrom St, Manchester M3 3HG

Mary-Ellen McTague (The Creameries), 406 Wilbraham Rd, Manchester M21 0SD

Patrick Withington (Erst), 9 Murray St, Ancoats, Manchester M4 6HS

Rachel Stockley (Baratxuri), 1 Smithy St, Ramsbottom, Bury BL0 9AT

Sam Buckley (WTLGI), 7 Rostron Brow, Stockport SK1 1JY

Simon Martin (Mana), 42 Blossom St, Ancoats, Manchester M4 6BF

Terry Huang (Umezushi Omkase), Unit 4 Mirabel St, Manchester M3 1PJ


Beatnikz Republic, 35 Dale St, Manchester M1 2HF

Cob and Coal, Tommyfield Market Hall, Albion St, Oldham OL1 3BG

Edinburgh Castle, 17-19 Blossom St, Ancoats, Manchester M4 5AW

Heaton Hops, 7 School Ln, Stockport SK4 5DE

Nordie, 1044 Stockport Rd, Manchester M19 3WX

Reasons To Be Cheerful, 228 Fog Ln, Manchester M20 6EL

Society, Basement, 100 Barbirolli Square, Manchester M2 3BD

Stalybridge Buffet Bar, Platform 4, Stalybridge Railway Station, Rassbottom St, Stalybridge SK15 1RF


Bread Flower

Companio Bakery, 35 Radium St, Ancoats, Manchester M4 6AD

Gooey, Ducie Street Warehouse, Manchester M1 2TP

Holy Grain Sourdough, 253 Deansgate Great Northern Mews, Manchester M3 4EN

Just Natas, Manchester Arndale, Manchester M4 3AD

Lily’s Deli, 102 Manchester Rd, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester M21 9SZ

Manchester Smokehouse, 18 Lloyd St, Manchester M2 5WA

Pollen Bakery, Cotton Field Wharf, 8 New Union St, Manchester M4 6FQ


Eat Well MCR

Escape to Freight Island, 11 Baring St, Manchester M1 2PZ

Grub, 50 Red Bank, Cheetham Hill, Manchester M4 4HF

Homeground, Medlock St, Manchester M15 4AA

Kampus Summer Guest Events, Aytoun St, Manchester M1 3DA

Platt Fields Market, Platt Fields Market Garden Platt Fields Park, Fallowfield, Manchester M14 6LT

One Central, Charis House, 1 Central Way, Altrincham WA14 1SB

MIF Festival Kitchen Takeovers

NEIGHBOURHOOD VENUE OF THE YEAR sponsored by Roomzzz Aparthotels

Bar San Juan, 56 Beech Rd, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester M21 9EG

Levanter, 10 Square St, Ramsbottom, Bury BL0 9BE

Erst, 9 Murray St, Ancoats, Manchester M4 6HS

Fisherman’s Table, 103 Church Ln, Marple, Stockport SK6 7AR

Lily’s, 85 Oldham Rd, Ashton-under-Lyne OL6 7DF

Porta, Salford, 216 Chapel St, Salford M3 6BY

Oystercatcher, 123 Manchester Rd, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester M21 9PG

Stretford Foodhall, 123 Manchester Rd, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester M21 9PG


Abeja, Oxford Rd, Manchester M1 7ED


Gooey, Ducie Street Warehouse, Manchester M1 2TP

Honest Crust sourdough pizza

Maison Breizh

Pico’s Tacos

Tender Cow

Wholesome Junkies, 49 High St, Manchester M4 3AH


Abeja, Oxford Rd, Manchester M1 7ED

Chapati Café, 496B Wilbraham Rd, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester M21 9AS

Ca Phe Viet, 80-86 Oldham Rd, Ancoats, Greater, Manchester M4 5EB

Little Yeti, 495 Barlow Moor Rd, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester M21 8AG

Lily’s, 85 Oldham Rd, Ashton-under-Lyne OL6 7DF

Mi and Pho, 384 Palatine Rd, Northenden, Wythenshawe, Manchester M22 4F


Another Heart to Feed, Northern Quarter, 10 Hilton St, Manchester M1 1JF

Ancoat’s Coffee, 9, Royal Mill, 17 Redhill St, Ancoats, Manchester M4 5BA

Ezra & Gil, 20 Hilton St, Manchester M1 1FR

Federal, Northern Quarter, 9 Nicholas Croft, Manchester M4 1EY

Grindsmith, 62 Bridge St, Manchester M3 3BW

Grapefruit, 2 School Rd, Sale M33 7XY

Just Between Friends, 56 Tib St, Manchester M4 1LG 

Pollen Bakery, Cotton Field Wharf, 8 New Union St, Manchester M4 6FQ

Platt Fields Market Garden, Platt Fields Park, Fallowfield, Manchester M14 6LT

Rudy’s Pizza, 9 Cotton St, Ancoats, Manchester M4 5BF / Petersfield House, Peter St, Manchester M2 5QJ



Heaton Moor








Bundobust, 61 Piccadilly, Manchester M1 2AG

Eddie Shephard (Walled Garden), 17 Alness Rd, Whalley Range, Manchester M16 8SP

Four Side Pizza, 16-20 Turner St, Manchester M4 1BB

Herbivorous, Unit 16, Hatch, 103 Oxford Rd, Manchester M1 7ED

Lily’s, 85 Oldham Rd, Ashton-under-Lyne OL6 7DF

Sanskruti, 93-95 Mauldeth Rd, Manchester M14 6SR

Wholesome Junkies, 49 High St, Manchester M4 3AH

Vertigo, Unit 9, 11 Jack Rosenthal St, Manchester M15 4RA / Unit 2, Bridge House, Salford M50 2BH / 18 Cross St, Manchester M2 7AE


Bundobust, 61 Piccadilly, Manchester M1 2AG

Cloudwater Brewery, Units 12—13, Piccadilly Trading Estate, Manchester M1 2NP

Diablesse, 396 Wilmslow Road, Manchester, M20 3B

Hip Pop (Formerly Booch & Brew), Manor House Farm, Station Rd, Dunham Massey, Altrincham WA14 5SG

Manchester Gin, 10-15 Watson St, Manchester M3 4LP

Northern Monk, 10 Tariff St, Manchester M1 2FF

Pomona Island Beer Brew Co Ltd, Daniel Adamson Rd, Salford M50

Steep Soda Co, 73 Temperance St, Manchester M12 6HU


Ancoats General Store, 57 Great Ancoats Street, Manchester M4 5AB

The Butcher’s Quarter, 66 Tib St, Manchester M4 1LG

Bernie’s Grocery Store, 3 Hawthorn Grove, Heaton Moor, Stockport SK4 4HZ

Grape to Grain, 1 Church Ln, Prestwich, Manchester M25 1AN

Isca Wines, 825 Stockport Rd, Levenshulme, Manchester M19 3PN

Out of the Blue, 484 Wilbraham Rd, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester M21 9AS

Unicorn Grocery, 89 Albany Rd, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester M21 0BN

Wandering Palate, 191 Monton Rd, Eccles, Manchester M30 9PN

For more information about the Manchester Food and Drink Festival, visit http://foodanddrinkfestival.com/ and follow them on Twitter @McrFoodFest  and Instagram @mcrfoodfest

It was numbing last year when the Manchester Food and Drink Festival was postponed. Man and boy (well almost) I had served my dues as one of its Awards judges and, sitting in at some of its more random events, had oodles of foodie fun over the years.

This September (from the 16th to the 27th) MFDF is back to its fully functioning best and, pandemic backlash permitting, should champion the further resurgence of Manchester’s dynamic culinary scene against the lockdown odds.

I regularly edited the print brochure but that task is now confined to history. The 24th Festival sees for the first time the entire programme of what’s happening and when will be available via a brand new MFDF app. Users will be able to browse the full festival programme, reserve a table at the Festival Hub and vote in the MFDF awards too.

The app can be downloaded in the apple and android app stores by searching ‘Mcr Food and Drink Festival’. 

The jovial Hub before the days of social distancing hastened the postponement of MFDF in 2020

That Festival Hub was switched to Cathedral Gardens from Albert Square when the major renovation of the Town Hall kicked in. Once again it will host a programme of events happening in partnership with the city’s restaurants, bars, cafes and chefs running throughout the Festival.

Some tables will be available to book over the two long weekends, but there will also be plenty of opportunities for walk-ins as large areas will not require reservations.

Even on Monday and Tuesday when it is not open to the public, the Hub will be hosting special Festival events and pop-ups.

Tom Kerridge’s ‘pub’ will be taking over the Festival Hub for a day

What are the top events on offer?

Mon Sep 20: The Bull & Bear Takeover – Tom Kerridge’s restaurant operation at the Stock Exchange Hotel monopolises the Hub for one night only to create a special street  food meets pub grub feast with a live music soundtrack.

Wed Sep 20: Manchester’s Biggest Chippy Tea – Some of the city’s best loved restaurants, chefs, chip shops and food traders, including The Hip Hop Chip Shop, Street Urchin and Lord of the Pies are coming together to create a mammoth chippy tea feast in homage to one of the region’s best-loved meals.

Thu Sep 23: Schlosstoberfest – It may not be quite October but Albert’s Schloss will be getting in the mood with Schlosstoberfest at the Hub. Expect an Oktoberfest Takeover bringing brats, pretzels and lederhosen. Free to attend and no need to book at the MFDF street kitchen they will be serving up Bavarian food and programming a lively night of Schloss-style entertainment.

Bratwurst Albert’s Schloss style can be spectacular

Thur-Sun Sep 16-19: MFDF Street Kitchen Takeovers – MFDF has its own street food kitchen trailer on site at the Hub which where guests will include Evuna, Jackie Kearney and Tast Catala.

Fri-Sun Sep 24-26: Eat Well Kitchen – Eat Well Mcr is the inspiring social enterprise born out of the COVID-19 crisis. Founded by food and drink star Mary-Ellen McTague, Kathleen O’Connor and Gemma Saunders, it provide meals made by chefs and hospitality professionals to people sidelined by poverty. Each day their kitchen at the Hub will feature a different restaurant partner from the Eat Well Collective with all profits going to Eat Well Mcr, including a £1 voluntary donation added to orders. 

Thu-Sun Sep 16-19 and Thu-Sun Sep 23-26: The Just Eat Street Food Chalets – MFDF sponsors Just Eat will be bringing some of their Manchester restaurant partners to the Just Eat Street Food Chalets. They include Peck and Yard,, La Bandera, Vertigo Plant-Based Eatery and JJ Vish and Chips.

There will be an abundance of global street food to tempt Festival-goers

PLUS, an array of street food vendors will be at the Hub over the two long weekends and an MFDF Artisan Food Market will operate from Thu 16 to Sun 19 and Thu 23 to Sun 26. Drinkers are well catered for with a variety of bars on site, while on Fri 17 and Sat 18 Halle St Peters in Ancoats hosts the ever popular MFDF Wine & Fizz Festival.

Participating retailers including Decent Drop, Prestwich’s Grape to Grain, Le Social Wine,  Cork of the North and UKiYO Republic showcasing their wonderful range of Japanese sake. As well as tasting the wines, guests can buy from those on site too and take some very special bottles home. £12.50. Book here

The MFDF Awards 2021 will be presented at a Gala Dinner at the Ticket All at Escape to Freight Island on Monday, September 27. Award nominations are now open. New categories this year include one which demonstrates the regional breadth of the festival – ‘Best Foodie Neighbourhood’.

For full details of the UK’s best regional celebration of food and drink, including its extensive programme of free music, visit the Festival website.