Things might be different this year, but there's still a jam-packed programme to enjoy
The first major festival to take place in the city centre since the COVID-19 crisis began, MFDF is back this autumn with a packed calendar of events (all socially distanced of course) to celebrate our vibrant hospitality scene in what has been its most challenging year yet.
It will be the 23rd year running for the festival which will take place from 24th September to 5th October 2020. This year’s event is headline sponsored by food delivery service Just Eat.
Highlights for 2020 include a bespoke festival ice cream, a cider showcase, a gin and tonic garden and a series of very special kitchen takeovers
The free to enter Festival Hub in Cathedral Gardens will be at the heart of the MFDF action, like last year, but with a new layout and operational systems designed to ensure the event is COVID-safe and secure.
The hub will be open from Thursday 24th to Sunday 27th September and then again from Thursday 1st to Sunday 4th October with the usual packed programme of events in partnership with the city’s restaurants, bars, cafes and chefs.
For 2020, the festival programme will be available via a brand new MFDF App - a new digital ‘on the go’ festival programme designed with ease of use, convenience and safety in mind. MFDF are urging all festival fans to download the free app ahead of the festival in order to fully participate in this year’s event. App users will be able to browse the full festival programme, order food to their 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.’
Highlights for 2020 include a bespoke festival ice cream, a cider showcase, a gin and tonic garden and a series of very special kitchen takeovers and one-off dining experiences....
THE FESTIVAL HUB
The free to enter Festival Hub on Cathedral Gardens will be the foodie destination of the autumn this year with incredible street food, markets, live music and more. It will operate with a limited capacity in place to ensure that visitors can enjoy the festival and maintain an appropriate physical distance from others. This will be carefully managed by the festival team. The site will be made up of two key areas – The Feasting Quarter and the Festival Market.
THE FEASTING QUARTER
The Feasting Quarter is the space that is all about coming together with friends safely to eat, drink and be dazzled by a huge range of street food, beers, cocktails and music. It’s a food lover’s paradise and guests can ensure they are at the centre of it by reserving a table here.
The Feasting Quarter will be undercover this year with enough seating for guests to eat and drink at tables, and there’ll be no more queuing for your favourite food experience as the festival will be operating table service across the site to reduce contact. All the street food menus, beers, wines and cocktails will be available to order via the new MFDF app and dishes will be brought to the table.
The Eat Well Mcr Street Kitchen Takeover
Eat Well Mcr, the inspiring new charity born out of the COVID-19 crisis, provides good food to vulnerable people through COVID and beyond.
Founded by food and drink star Mary-Ellen McTague (pictured), Eat Well Mcr will be taking over their very own street food kitchen at the Hub across both weekends all to raise money for the charity. A different Eat Well restaurant partner will be taking over the kitchen daily, serving up their own special Eat Well menu for festival goers with all profits raised from the stall going to the charity including a £1 voluntary fee added to orders.
Special guest restaurants taking over the Eat Well kitchen at the hub include….
Street food Stars in the Feasting Quarter:
Session 1: 24th - 27th September
What’s Your Beef
Meat maestros What’s Your Beef have been serving up locally and ethically sourced grass-fed beef burgers to the masses for six years - often tagged as ‘Manchester’s best.’ MFDF festival-goers can make their minds up for themselves by tucking in at the hub. Their menu includes huge, unforgettable burgers including the Con Carne-Vore, the Fiery Bull or the Don’t Have a Cow veggie burger.
Bury-based sausage connoisseurs Grandad’s Sausages have been bringing artisan bangers to the people for over 50 years. They’ll be serving up their gourmet British hotdogs at Manchester Food and Drink Festival including all the super snags that helped them bag the MFDF Award for Street Food Trader of the Year in 2019.
Wallace and Sons
Fantastic, handmade Asian bao and gyoza… Wallace and Sons serve up some of the best in the city and they’ll be banging out brilliant bao buns throughout the first weekend of MFDF.
Wraps, wings and delicious things.The street food-inspired Stockport bar and restaurant owned by Oh My Glaze street food hero Scott Graham and Emmerdale star Adam Thomas will be bringing the likes of halloumi fries and jackfruit wraps to the hub.
Briezh is Breton for Brittany… the gastro-rich North West of France. And Maison BReiZH will be brining an authentic taste of this incredible region to the festival… Think classic savoury galettes using the best Breton buckwheat and butter, and dessert crêpes with the finest French chocolate, alongside quality Lancashire and Cheshire produce… c’est magnifique!
The award-winning and beloved Bundobust will be popping up at MFDF for the first session and bringing their incredible combination of vegetarian Indian street food and craft beer to the hub. Expect some of their finest festival signature dishes like vada pav and Bundo chaat.
Session 2: 1st - 4th October
Anyone who hasn’t tried the wonders of Parmogeddon yet should book a place at the Festival Hub right now… This surprising Middlesbrough delicacy is fried chicken goodness, covered in a rich, creamy béchamel, topped with a serious helping of cheese and shoved under the grill until melted and gooey. Incredible with chips and garlic sauce
Go weak at the knees for squeaky cheese... Halloumination have been serving up their halloumi fries and halloumi burgers for the past three years. Their indulgent fries are topped with all sorts of deliciousness including salt and pepper, hoi sin and peri peri mayonnaise.
Patty and Press
This burger joint brings 'Made in Manchester' vibes to the USA-style dirty burger scene with brilliant locally sourced produce and Mancunian innovation… it’s 'simple done right.'
I Knead Pizza
Stockport’s I Knead Pizza are passionate about producing fresh Neapolitan-style pizza with artisan imported meat and locally grown produce (plus vegan and veggie options). Wood fired and ready to go… it’s the festival pizza moment you’ve been waiting for.
Inspired by Hanoi, brought to you from Manchester. Serving up street food inspired by Vietnam’s capital, expect incredible banh mi and bao buns.
The spirit of sharing and being with people you love is at the heart of this family owned Indian restaurant in Hale… Gupshup aims to bring a slice of Indian flavours and culture the hub via their pop up street food hut serving up chana masala, butter chicken and their festival special the ‘naanwich.’
(Not that 'Spoons...) This one's all about crepes, waffles and all manner of sweet treats. The festival newbies will be serving up hot desserts and a couple of savoury options too.
Both Weekends: Ginger's Comfort Emporium
Manchester legends and inventors of incredible ice cream, GCE will be serving up their famous small batch dairy ice cream, sorbet and vegan ice cream. It’s ten years since Ginger’s Claire Kelsey pulled up her van to one of their first events at MFDF, bringing with her flavours like raspberry and rose meringue, orange tarragon and watercress and, of course, 'Chorlton Crack' (salted caramel peanut butter). These creative and delicious flavours are still amongst her bestsellers and they’ll all be served up at the hub across both weekends, as well as a special festival ice cream called 'Manchester Skies.'
Wait, but what about the 'drink' bit?
Booze at the Feasting Quarter…
The Manchester Beer Bar
Taking in beers from Greater Manchester’s breath-taking range of incredible breweries, ale fans can expect the best celebration of regional beers yet at this year’s special 2020 celebration. A special cider showcase bar will be part of the Manchester Beer Bar offering too.
Salvi’s Aperitif Bar
Brand new for the festival (and an extra special treat for all those who missed the cancelled Festa Italiana this year) – authentic Neapolitan restaurant group Salvi’s will be hosting a traditional Italian aperitif bar. Customers can expect a special, authentic slice of Italian life at the hub as the team serve up a menu of fabulous Italian drinks including Aperol Spritz, Limoncello spritz, Meloncello spritz, Negronis, Espresso Martinis, fine Italian wine and Prosecco. It will all be served alongside Salvi’s famous, authentic deli sharing boards featuring their incredible Bufalo mozzarella and artisan charcuterie.
Franklin & Sons Gin & Tonic Garden
The official premium tonic partner will be serving up G&T’s at the hub. Discover some creative new fusions as they team up with some of our local Manchester gins for a wide range of delicious flavoured tonic. Never compromising on quality, as a Great Taste producer Franklin & Sons uses 100% natural ingredients, with British sugar and high levels of carbonation across the range to bring out the best in spirits and lift the most delicate botanicals.
Music at the Feasting Quarter
CityLife Stage – Live Music
The CityLife stage will be the location for a laid back music experience to provide the perfect soundtrack to your Festival. Starting on Thursday 24th, the festival will kick off with live music from Mr Wilson’s Second Liners and a DJ set from Manchester legend Clint Boon.
Other names taking to the stage confirmed include…
Mike Joyce playing a DJ Set
For the full music programme see the festival website.
THE MARKET PLACE
Complementing the Feasting Quarter, the other half of the Festival Hub will be home to The Market Place – a fine food and drink shopping experience.
Free to attend, this bountiful food and drink market will feature some of Manchester’s best independent food and drink producers, makers and businesses.
There will be two separate line ups across the two weekends, which will include:
- Chorlton Cheese Mongers
- Companio Bakery
- Great North Pie Co
- Manchester Cheesecake Company
- HM Pasties
- Samosa Shack
- Café Cannoli
- The Gourmet Brownie Company
- DevilDog Sauces
- The Sunrise Patisserie
- Eat Well Mcr Market Place
The Just Eat Kitchen
As proud sponsors of MFDF, the Just Eat Kitchen will be bringing some of the city’s best bites to the hub via four of Just Eat’s top Manchester restaurants who will be taking turns to host Just Eat’s very own Festival Street Food Huts
Thursday 24th September - Sunday 27th September
Buttermilk-fried and seasoned to perfection, these succulent wings are unmissable.
Pizzas the Napoli way, saucy and on sourdough. Plus great pasta dishes.
Thursday 1st October - Sunday 4th October
A feast from the East, with authentic Indian and Pakistani dishes.
Money doesn’t grow on trees, but delicious food does. Amazing flavours everyone will love.
And to give a bit back, 10% of the money spent at the Just Eat kitchen will be donated to charity FoodCycle, to help feed the vulnerable.
24th – 27th Sept AND 1st – 4th Oct
Plant-based meat alternative makers of the moment, Meatless Farm will be serving up samples of their excellent vegan cooking products as well as a full, eat on-site street food menu of Meatless Farm burgers.
MFDF ACROSS THE CITY
In addition to all the fun of the Hub, MFDF has collaborated with some of the city’s amazing restaurants, bars and cafes to curate a programme showcasing our amazing dining community. The festival is a perfect time to venture out and support our local hospitality industry with deals, special menus and offers all designed to showcase the best talent in the city.
The programme includes…
Moda + Higher Ground: Manchester’s Highest Dining Venue
Friday 25th and Saturday 26th September
For a limited time only, the penthouse apartments at the newly opened Moda Angel Gardens will play host to a very special series of supper clubs as Higher Ground take residency especially for the festival. At 100m high, the pop-up will be Manchester’s highest dining venue with stunning views across the city and beyond. With just four dates available, the event gives guests a one-off chance to dine in this stunning setting and capture one of the most iconic shots of Manchester.
Guests will enjoy welcome drinks with a view as the sun sets over the city, before sitting down for a four-course meal served using fresh North West produce with paired wines to accompany.
Moda Angel Gardens is Manchester’s next generation neighbourhood, bringing together stunning apartments, hotel-style services and enviable amenities, including a rooftop sports pitch and cinema room.
Higher Ground, led by Joseph Otway and Richard Cossins, brings together North West ingredients, Manchester brewed beer and natural wines in a chilled out setting. Joseph, ex-head chef of Where The Light Gets In in Stockport and ex-Relæ in Copenhagen, will be in the open plan penthouse kitchen creating a daily changing menu, using fresh local ingredients sourced from handpicked North West famers and producers.
Tickets for the Moda + Higher Ground Penthouse suppers are priced at £100pp. The price includes a welcome drink, four courses and paired wines. Book here.
The MFDF Experience By Adam Reid At The French
Thursday 1st October (6.30pm - 8.30pm) - £140 per person
Friday 2nd (5.30pm - 8.30pm) and Saturday 3rd October (12noon - 1pm & 5.30pm - 9.30pm) - £180 per person
Join one of Manchester’s most talented and best-loved chefs as Adam Reid - star of Great British Menu, exec chef at The French and huge supporter of independent Manchester talent (and the MFDF) - brings a very special food experience to the festival programme. The evening will include…
A glass of English sparkling wine on arrival
Selection of snacks
Multi-course menu with matched wines
Tea/coffee with chocolates
LOVE URMSTON EVENTS
Throughout the festival
New for this year’s festival is a partnership with some of the best food and drink independents in Urmston who have come together under the Love Urmston banner to showcase the town’s diverse eating and drinking scene. Look out for festival offers, special menus, a mini food and drink pop up market on the M41 site on Railway Road on Saturday 26th September and an artisan market on Saturday 3rd October. Enjoy a taste of Urmston’s award-winning independent restaurants, traditional pubs, cocktail bars, coffee shops, wine bars and craft beer retailers by booking your place on one of a limited number of food tours taking place between 1st - 4th October. See Eventbrite for more details and to book your ticket.
Ceviche Masterclass and Feast at Peru Perdu
Monday 5th October
Manchester’s colourful and vibrant Peruvian-inspired residency restaurant brings a special ceviche masterclass to the festival, offering the chance to gain a unique insight into the mechanics and flavourings of Peru's most famous dish ceviche (raw fish marinated in citrus). Start with house Pisco Sours at the bar before moving on to the ceviche station where the chef will talk guests through the history of the dish, preparation, flavouring and an authentic ceviche recipe that will be sure to impress your friends. After the masterclass, guests will then be seated for a full feasting menu including all the best of the Peruvian dishes plus half a bottle of wine per person.
FESTIVAL OFFERS FROM MANCHESTER’S BEST BARS AND RESTAURANTS
Fantastic festival Menus and special offers have been created for the duration of MFDF by a host of the best restaurants, bars, cafes (and even galleries) including…
- 20 Stories
- Lily’s Indian
- Northern Quarter Gallery
- The Corn Exchange
- Yard & Coop
- Coffee B La Bandera
MFDF SPECIAL OFFERS
Festival headline sponsors Just Eat will be offering a 20% off voucher running throughout the duration of the festival, starting from Thursday 24th September - Sunday 4th October*. Although you don’t have to wait until the festival to get your dishes...check out what Just Eat has to offer here.
There’s a special Festival overnight offer at ROOMZZZ for those who want to make a night (or even weekend) of it as they offer 20% off stays during Manchester Food & Drink Festival. Anyone looking for the ultimate home from home to explore Manchester’s top-notch food and drink scene should head to Roomzzz Aparthotels for stylish and spacious suites and apartments, slap bang in the centre of the city – and a stone’s throw from the MFDF Hub in Cathedral Gardens.
MFDF AT HOME
MFDF have teamed up with some of the best chefs around to create DIY delivery kits to enjoy at home to ensure festival fans can get involved whether they are ready to get out and about yet or not.
Order your kits from:
Taste of Honey, Didsbury - ‘Stay Safe R’Kid' MCR picnic box
Yao Yao Noodles – Ramen kit
Blue Caribou Canteen - Poutine meal kit
Grandad’s Sausages – Hot dog kits
MANCHESTER FOOD AND DRINK FESTIVAL AWARDS
Monday 5th October – venue to be announced
The MFDF Awards 2020 will be live streamed at a venue to be announced by hosts BBC Radio Manchester’s Becky Want and BBC Radio 6 Music/Fodder’s Matt White. Make sure you get your vote in. See the shortlist here.
The 23rd year of Manchester Food & Drink Festivalwill take place from 24th September to 5th October 2020 citywide