Tag Archive for: New Century Hall

I’ve lost count of the number of Manchester Food and Drink Awards gala dinners I’ve attended, but this celebration of the region’s hospitality industry remains joyously upbeat despite the perils that still threaten to torpedo so many independent operators.

The Awards themselves had been pushed back from their usual October slot when the mothership Festival foundered. Hopefully, it will return in 2024. Meanwhile these 2023 Awards flew the flag in a fresh venue that really worked – New Century Hall – and opened with a defiant political edge. 

In person on stage Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham. En route to Depeche Mode at the nearby Arena, he rallied the 350 hospitality troops gathered for the occasion. On film Sacha Lord, his night-time economy adviser (I reserve ‘czar’  for Russian potentates), and a clutch of North West chefs demanded the Government slash VAT on the industry back down to 10 per cent. Lord kicks off the challenging This is an Emergency video chillingly: “I know people staring at the cliff edge.”

After the dinner sourced from traders in the New Century Kitchen, down to the main business of the night. The 18 award winners announced reflected the city’s current high global profile. 

Last week the The Edinburgh Castle in Ancoats debuted in 24th place in the Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropubs; now its kitchen dynamo Shaun Moffat followed up by scooping Chef of the Year. A huge double also for Higher Ground. On the same day they won a Michelin Bib Gourmand they were named MFDF Newcomer of the Year. They are also in the frame for the national Best New Restaurant at the Good Food Guide Awards 2024. I was also delighted that Ancoats small plates and natural wine stalwart Erst finally won Best Restaurant.

Across the evening there was strong recognition for Manchester’s unrivalled craft beer scene. Track won best independent drinks producer, the Marble Arch best beer bar/pub, Bundobust best plant-based offering for the Gujarati-inspired small plates that accompany the beers it brews in town and James Campbell received the Outstanding Achievement Award for two decades as the driving force behind cutting edge breweries Marble, Cloudwater and, currently, Sureshot. 

Sign of the difficult times, one of the nominees for best drinks producer, Squawk Brewery, has just been forced to close. So high jinks celebrating an amazing food and drink scene tinged with sadness at the steady drip of closures. Time to make a stand on that crucial VAT drop issue. Watch the Sacha Lord film, also featuring the likes of Simon Wood, Michael Clay, Mary Ellen McTague and and emotional Simon Rimmer, who was forced to close his flaship restaurant Greens recently, and sign the associated petition.

All the fantastic winners at Manchester Food and Drink Awards 2023

Here is this year’s awards list in full (for addresses visit this link)…

Restaurant of the Year – Erst

Shortlisted: Higher Ground, Climat, Another Hand, 10 Tib Lane

OSMA, The Spärrows. mana, Erst.202

Chef of the Year – Shaun Moffat (Edinburgh Castle)

Shortlisted: Joseph Otway (Higher Ground), Danielle Heron (OSMA), Luke Richardson (Climat), Julian Pizer (Another Hand), Patrick Withington (Erst), Seri Nam (Flawd Wine), Mike Shaw (MUSU), Shaun Moffat (Edinburgh Castle)

Newcomer of the Year – Higher Ground

Shortlisted: Climat, Restaurant Örme, Fold Bistro & Bottle Shop, The Jane Eyre Chorlton, Madre, New Century Kitchen, Stretford Canteen, Higher Ground

Plant-based Offering of the Year– Bundobust

Shortlisted: Lily’s Indian Vegetarian Cuisine, Bahn Ví, The Walled Gardens, Maray, Speak in Code, Flawd Wine, The Mekong Cat, Bundobust.

Takeaway of the Year – Burgerism

Ad Maoira, Unagi Street Food & Sushi, Ciaooo Garlic Bread, Fat Pat’s, Wright’s Fish and Chips. Maida Grill House, Al Madina, Burgerism.

Independent Drinks Producer of the Year – Track

Shortlisted: Sureshot Brewing, Stockport Gin, Cloudwater Brew Co, Tarsier Spirit, Pod Pea Vodka, Manchester Union Brewery, Squawk Brewing Co, Track.

Independent Food Producer of the Year – Pollen Bakery

Shortlisted: Cotton Field Wharf, Great North Pie Co, La Chouquette, Gooey, Yellowhammer, The Manchester Smoke House, The Flat Baker, Companio Bakery, Pollen.

Foodie Neighbourhood of the Year – Stockport

Shortlisted: Levenshulme, Altrincham, Urmston, Prestwich, Monton, Sale, Stretford, Stockport.

Coffee Shop of the Year – Grapefruit Coffee

Shortlisted: Cafe Sanjuan, Another Heart to Feed, Idle Hands, Bold Street Coffee,  Smoak, Ancoats Coffee Co, Siop Shop, Grapefruit.

Food Trader of the Year – Fat Pat’s

Shortlisted: Baratxuri, Chaat Cart, Triple B, Tawny Stores, Yellowhammer, Little Sri Lankan, Pico’s Tacos, Oh Mei Dumplings, Fat Pat’s.

Affordable Eats Venue of the Year – Ornella’s Kitchen

Shortlisted: Nila’s Burmese Kitchen, Great North Pie Co, Cafe Sanjuan, Noodle Alley, Tokyo Ramen, Lily’s Deli, House of Habesha, Ornella’s Kitchen.

Food and Drink Retailer of the Year – Cork of the North

Shortlisted: Ad Hoc Wines, Out of the Blue Fishmongers, Littlewoods Butchers, Wandering Palate, New Market Dairy, Petit Paris Deli, La Chouquette.

Pop up or Project of the Year – Platt Fields Market Garden

Shortlisted:  Our Place, Tawny Stores at Yellowhammer, SAMPA, Little Sri Lankan, Suppher, Fare Share, Micky’s, Platt Fields Market Garden

Pub or Beer Bar of the Year – The Marble Arch

Shortlisted: Track Brewery Taproom, The City Arms, Runaway Brewery Taproom, Fox & Pine, Reddish Ale, Station Hop, Heaton Hops, The Marble Arch.

Bar of the Year – Schofield’s Bar

Shortlisted: The Jane Eyre Ancoats, Blinker, Red Light, Sterling Bar, Hawksmoor, 10 Tib Lane, Flawd Wine, Schofield’s Bar.

Neighbourhood Venue of the Year – Stretford Canteen

Shortlisted: Restaurant Örme, OSMA, Ornella’s Kitchen, The Oystercatcher, Yellowhammer, Fold Bistro & Bottle Shop, The Jane Eyre Chorlton, Stretford Canteen.

Great Service Award – Hawksmoor

Shortlisted: Higher Ground, Schofield’s Bar, Where The Light Gets In, Climat, Wood Manchester, Sterling Bar, Tast Catala, Hawksmoor.

The Howard and Ruth Award for Outstanding Achievement – James Campbell

Recognising people who have contributed something outstanding to the hospitality industry in Greater Manchester.