Plus street food, artisan market, Festival Hub and more
After an online ceremony last year, the Manchester Food and Drink Festival Awards are back "in the flesh" (or perhaps in the textured soy-based replacement for veggies) for 2021 and the gastro-celebration has just announced what we can expect from the event that has been billed as “hospitality’s homecoming”.
The free-to-enter Festival Hub in Cathedral Gardens will be at the heart of the MFDF action, hosting many of Manchester’s favourite restaurants, bars, and street food vendors. The Festival Hub will be open from Thursday 16 – Sunday 19 September and then again from Wednesday 22 - Sunday 26 September, with special pop-ups in between.
This year we’re looking forward to celebrating our brilliant hospitality industry
MFDF has followed the lead of the hospitality industry and developed its very own app. 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".
We've highlighted our picks of the event plus we've got details of what street food will be available, what booze will there and vendors at the artisan market.
The Bull & Bear Festival Hub Takeover (Monday 20 September)
Tom Kerridge’s The Bull and Bear will be taking over the Cathedral Gardens Festival Hub for one night only to create a ‘pub at the hub’. The MFDF Manchester beer bar will be serving a selection of local indie beers and there’ll be live music.
The three-course pub grub supper menu designed especially for MFDF includes: potted Loch Duart salmon with apple jelly and cucumber chutney, followed by braised beef and blue cheese pie with English mustard mash and Seven Brothers ale gravy and finishing with banana custard with dates, pistachio and honeycomb (vegetarian option also available).
Tickets cost £55 per person which includes the three-course menu and can be booked here.
Manchester’s Biggest Chippy Tea (Wednesday 22 September)
If there is one thing that can bring the UKs divided populace back together again, it’s a chippy tea. The rest of the country will no doubt follow Manchester’s lead in hosting create a fish supper feast, all supplied city’s best-loved restaurants, chefs, chip shops and food traders, including traditional chippy Anchors of Didsbury, modern take on fish and chips Hip Hop Chip Shop, plant-based JJ Vish and Chips. Ancoats-based Street Urchin will be creating a bespoke seafood twist on fish and chips while Stockport's Lord of the Pies will be, as the name suggests, bringing the pies.
For pudding the ‘A Few Scoops’ tuk tuk will be hitting the Hub with its boozy ice cream (plus non-alcoholic specials available). This event is free to enter, and walk-ins are welcome, but a limited number of tables are available for pre booking.
Schlosstoberfest (Thursday 23rd September)
Albert’s Schloss won't be bound by the rules - or the calendar. Despite it only being September, its version of Oktoberfest - Schlosstoberfest - will bring brats, pretzels and lederhosen to Festival Hub. Free to attend and no need to book - Schloss will be taking over the MFDF street kitchen serving up Bavarian street food throughout the evening and programming a lively night of Schloss-style entertainment.
MFDF Street Kitchen Takeovers (16 - 19 September)
MFDF has its own street food kitchen trailer on site at the Hub which will be taken over by some of the city’s best-loved restaurants and chefs over the four days including Evuna, Jackie Kearney and Tast Catala.
Eat Well Kitchen (24 - 26 September)
Likely you've heard of Eat Well Mcr the social enterprise providing meals made by chefs and hospitality professionals to people sidelined by poverty. The team will be taking over their very own street food kitchen at the Hub, serving up their own special MFDF menu for festival-goers with all profits raised from the kitchen going to Eat Well Mcr, including a £1 voluntary donation added to orders.
The Just Eat Street Food Chalets (every day the Festival Hub is open to the public)
As sponsors of MFDF, Just Eat will be bringing some of its top Manchester restaurant partners to the Just Eat Street Food Chalets. The exciting culinary concepts on the line-up include: pan-Asian chicken shop Peck and Yard; award-winning Spanish La Bandera; Vertigo Plant Based Eatery and aforementioned veggie and vegan JJ Vish and Chips.
Plus, an array of street food vendors will be at the Hub over the two long weekends including: What’s Your Beef; Aunti Ji’s serving; Great North Pie Co; The Spinn; Grandad’s Sausages; Hanoi 75; Maison Breizh; Ginger's Comfort Emporium; Halloumination; Patty and Press; I Knead Pizza; Northern Soul; Spoons Desserts and Meatless Farm Burgers.
Drinks will be provided throughout the Festival by the Manchester Beer Bar, which will be celebrating many of the region's finest brewers of beer and cider. The Franklin and Sons Gin and Tonic Bar will bring the essential refreshing and creative G&Ts to the Festival. Hard seltzer brand, Truly, will bring alcoholic sparkling water at the Truly Hard Seltzer Bar.
The artisan food market will be open both long weekends from 12-7pm and will be free to enter. Vendors include Companio Bakery, Paradiso Authentic Italian, Chorlton Cheesemongers, Bread Flower, Cocoa and Bloom; Manchester Cheesecakes; HM Pasties; Chorlton Bread Co; The Gourmet Brownie Co; DevilDog Sauces and Crozier Drinks.
As for non-food entertainment, there will be live music on the City Life stage, including Mr Wilson’s Second Liners, The Lottery Winners, Flat Cap Brass, Fine Lines.
Alexa Stratton-Powell, Director of MFDF said: “We are absolutely delighted to be bringing the Festival back this year. Postponing in 2020 was hugely disappointing - a tough decision but the right one of course.
We set up the Festival, a small group of people, to champion independent food and drink businesses. We’re still a very small team but we are just as committed as ever, particularly now as we face a whole new chapter for hospitality, to showcasing the very best that our amazing city has to offer. This year we’re looking forward to celebrating our brilliant hospitality industry and bringing people together for some cracking food and drink!”
Updates to the programme will be announced on the Manchester Food and Drink Festival website.
Festival headline sponsors, Just Eat, will be offering a 20% off voucher running throughout the duration of the festival, starting from Thursday 16 to Monday 27 of September.
The MFDF Gala Dinner and Awards will be hosted at Manchester Hall this year on Monday 27 September.
Read next: Warehouse Project reveals line-up for 2021
Read again: Hashtag MCR: Pizza world cup, vindaloo pies, patriotic slices
Don't miss out
Get the latest food & drink news and exclusive offers by email.