Pop-ups, fish eggs, Jazzy Jay Rayner and a brand new dining dome

Organisers of the annual Manchester Food and Drink Festival (27 September - 8 October) have released the first details of a jam-packed programme of food-related events. 

The Festival will be marking its 21st birthday across twelve days this autumn by staging events designed around celebrating the city’s ever-evolving food culture. A programme of happenings all over Manchester will feature collaborations between the city’s most talented foodies and some big names from further afield. This year the Festival will be bringing everything together in a totally revamped Festival Hub on Albert Square.

Visitors will see a newly designed site with exciting new structures and live experiences, all taking place in the shadow of Manchester Town Hall. One new feature will be the Dining Dome – a giant sphere that will host specially curated banquets, supper clubs and food parties.

Here are some of the upcoming events, collaborations and banquets happening in the dining dome: 

When: Thursday 27th and Friday 28th Sept

What: 'Battle Royale’, Cottonopolis Secret Supper Club

Cottonopolis’ Secret Supper Club experiences are fast becoming known nationwide for taking immersive dining experiences to the next level. This very special MFDF Secret Supper Club is to be the brand’s most ambitious yet, as the Dining Dome will be transformed by a team of visual architects into a specially curated dining production of Battle Royale (the Japanese dystopian thriller) - perhaps with a little less carnage than the movie.

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Jasmine Hemsley meets Trove for a supper club

When: 29th September

What: Jasmine Hemsley meets Trove Supper Club 

Well-being goddess, lifestyle guru, insta-influencer extraordinaire, founder of Hemsley + Hemsley and author of East by West, Jasmine Hemsley, is planning a special collaborative dinner with the award-winning artisans of Trove.

This should be a match made in heaven. Trove’s focus on making food from scratch by hand, using organic ingredients and locally sourced produce will meet Jasmine’s home-cooked and mindful approach to create an Ayurvedic menu. It will all be paired with Trove’s natural wine collection. 

When: Sunday 30th September

What: Family Food Fest

Join MFDF, Clint Boon and friends as the Dining Dome and the whole Festival Hub goes extra family friendly for a Sunday Fun-Day. Expect foodie fun for mini masterchefs, including pizza making as well as arts, crafts and entertainment. A chilled-out family friendly disco courtesy of Manchester legend Clint Boon will take over the bar marquee and other child friendly hands on activity will be scattered across the whole site meaning that parents can enjoy all the fun of the Fest while the kids are entertained too. This is the perfect weekend for parents who love festivals and food.

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Stunning plates from Rabbit in the Moon

When: 1st Oct

What:  Pop Up Supper Club with The Rabbit in the Moon

Head Chef John Granaghan at Manchester’s Rabbit in the Moon is bringing his stunning, space-age plates to the futuristic MFDF Dome for one very special night only, with an exclusive menu curated especially for this unique MFDF experience. 

When: 2nd Oct

What: Caviar and Champagne Tasting

Manchester’s fabulous Randall and Aubin will team up with The Gourmet Caviar House to present a rare gastro opportunity. Guests will be guided through Randall and Aubin’s selection of house Champagne while sampling a range of some of the most exquisite caviars around. The luxurious fish egg and fizz matching experience will be by the experienced hand of Ed Baines himself and ambassadors from the Gourmet Caviar House.

Tickets are on sale here

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Champagne and caviar at Randall & Aubin

When: 3rd Oct

What: ‘A Trip to Brazil’ Gastro Guide

Fazenda’s Executive Chef, Francisco Martinez - former chef at the five-time winner of Best Restaurant in the World "El Bulli" – has designed a one-off menu exclusively for the Manchester Food and Drink Festival. Guests can expect an avant-garde dining experience, rich in colour, flavour and emotion that showcases Brazilian food at its best with an eight-course menu paired with wines from Brazilian producer, Miolo.

Tickets are £50 per person with profits donated to Action Against Hunger.

When: 4th Oct

What: Hatch Pop Up Supper Club

A selection of fantastic street food traders from Hatch, the new pop up food, drink and retail destination on Oxford Road, will be taking over the Dining Dome to staging a special Hatch Supper Club. Each course will be provided by one of their independent street food heroes in a menu paired with beers from Öl – Hatch’s on site nano brewery, topped off with coffees and desserts from Takk, the artisan coffee house also situated at Hatch.

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Hatch on Oxford Road

When: 5th Oct

What: Spanish Feast by Lunya, Baraxturi and Evuna

This special MFDF banquet will be an extraordinary food fiesta as three of Manchester’s most magnificent Spanish restaurants get together for a collaborative feast taking in the country’s most delicious cuisine – from Catalunya to Basque country. Expect authentic, artisan ingredients and stunning wines to come together for a glorious evening of Spanish food at its finest. 

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Double Dutch G&T bar

The Hub will feature a newly designed Festival Bar space featuring Manchester’s breweries; a host of new drinking activations - from beer buses to gin containers as well as a 'better-than-ever' music stage.

Here’s a snippet of what to expect drinks-wise.

Double Dutch G&T bar 

Created by Dutch twin sisters Joyce and Raissa de Haas, Double Dutch’s innovative range uses flavour pairing techniques to create uniquely-balanced drinks. They use only natural ingredients blended with the highest quality water from the North of England to create crisp and fresh mixers. Swing by their MFDF bar to grab a gin of your choice with Double Dutch mixers including the well-balanced Pomegranate and Basil and a fresh summer-infused Cucumber and Watermelon. The bar will also be serving more classic variations as well as some hearty ‘Dark and Stormy’s’ for rum fans.

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Double Dutch's twin sisters Joyce and Raissa de Haas

Manchester Brew Fest

This year the Festival will serve up the city’s greatest brews as well as the best from around the region’s trendiest and most innovative brewers like Blackjack and Cloudwater abound alongside stalwart greatest hits from the big northwest brewing families including Robinson’s, JW Lees and Hydes’.

MFDF Cider Fest

The MFDF Cider Bar will bring refreshing ciders from Weston’s, Addlestone’s, Sheppy’s and Bad Apple in a mini fest-within-a-fest for cider enthusiasts. There’ll also be a range of flavoured ciders including lemon and lime, mango and apple and pear. 

The Brooklyn Brewery Bus

Brooklyn Brewery will be bringing a brand new American yellow school bus to the Hub serving up a range of brews from their Perennials and Seasonal ranges. Favourites like Brooklyn East IPA, Brooklyn Lager and Bel Air Soul will be on tap alongside their full range of seasonal beers, including Brooklyn Brown, Sorachi Ace, Scorcher IPA and Post Road Pumpkin Ale.


Foodwise, MFDF promise a completely revitalized line up of the best street food mixed in with some of the city’s best restaurant brands, serving lunch and dinner across the eleven days. Confirmed brands so far include Bundobust, Baraxturi, Shoryu Ramen, Proove and Tampopo

The music stage will once again host a line-up of musicians and DJs worthy of a food festival based in one of the world’s most musical cities. Confirmed artists so far include Clint Boon, The Hayes Sisters and Whoever and the Somethings.

The Festival Hub will open at 12pm on Thursday 27th September and will close at 11pm on Sunday 7th October. Open daily from 12pm-11pm, it will be free to enter.

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Big Indie Wine Fest

...and what else have they got?

When: 5th, 6th & 7th Oct 

What: The 11th Big Indie Wine Fest

Where: Manchester Hall 

After a fabulous debut in Manchester Hall’s grand, Grade II listed surrounds last year, Festival favourite, the Big Indie Wine Fest will be returning to the venue for a three-day extravaganza. Manchester’s finest independent wine merchants, along with some from further afield, will create a heavenly wine experience suitable for connoisseur wine fans and novices alike.

Tickets available here

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The Jay Rayner Quartet

When: 28th September, from 6pm  

What: The Jay Rayner Quartet   

Where: Albert’s Schloss

The country’s most famous restaurant critic, Jay Rayner, liked Albert’s Schloss when he visited earlier this year for his Observer restaurant column, so much, that he has agreed to bring his Jazz Quartet to the venue for a night of music, storytelling, food and drink.

As well as being an award-winning writer, journalist and broadcaster, Jay is now a successful recording artist and performer entertaining audiences up and down the land (including at the world-famous Ronnie Scott’s club) with his band. Made up of some of Britain’s best musicians - including Jay’s wife who is an accomplished jazz singer - Jay’s quartet will be performing a repertoire from the great American song book with special attention paid to numbers about food and drink. A special Jay Rayner menu will be on offer.

This event is free to attend but by booking only – speedy booking is advisable!  

Book a table here

When: 1st October

What: Festival Dinner

Where: 20 Stories

The most glamourous of Manchester’s new restaurant openings provides an opportunity to sample a very special three-course menu and wine flight created especially for MFDF at an exclusive price – spectacular views included.

£65 per person.  To book email Rebeccaw@danddlondon.com

When: 30th September – 4th October

What: Manchester Shares - Small Plates Safari  

Where: Various venues

Food lovers of Manchester are challenged to try out as many Manchester restaurants as they can during the Festival as dozens of the finest restaurants in the city offer up a signature small plate along with a beer, wine or spirit for just £5! Anyone visiting all the restaurants on the safari will be in with a chance of winning an overnight stay at one of Manchester’s finest hotels. Participating restaurants include Tampopo, Lunya, Ashas’s, Fazenda and the upcoming Tast.

When: 27th September – 8th October 

What: Bookatable Festival Feast 

Where: Various

The Bookatable Festival Feast is returning for the 3rd year with a series of limited edition, bespoke dining menus, created by Manchester’s restaurants especially for the Manchester Food and Drink festival available throughout the whole 12 days of MFDF.

Book here

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When: 4th October

What: Action Against Hunger’s Moveable Feast

Where: Various venues

Festival partner charity, Action Against Hunger brings you the opportunity to access the exclusive private spaces of a range of amazing restaurants on one special evening of fine food in the name of a great cause.

With only fifteen places available at each location, diners will be taken on the ultimate food adventure, enjoying a course at each restaurant of a specially designed MFDF menu.

All money raised will go directly to support Action Against Hunger’s work ending child hunger in over 45 countries around the world.

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MFDF Gala Dinner and Awards will be taking place in Gorton Monastery

Manchester’s biggest food and drink celebration culminates with the MFDF Gala Dinner and Awards on 8th October, which this year will be taking place for the very first time in the stunning gothic surrounds of Gorton Monastery. The most coveted and highest profile food awards in the North of England will be distributed to a room packed with the region’s food and drink ‘A list’. The Awards Shortlist will be announced on 27th June. 

For more information visit the MFDF website.