I’m an absolute sucker for a festive special. Mix in some turkey, sprinkle on sprouts, douse it in cranberry sauce and drizzle on the gravy and I’m a happy gal.
I’m not averse to a Greggs’ Festive Bake or a supermarket sandwich, but alongside these chains, some independent restaurants, cafes and bakeries in Manchester have created their own seasonal sandwiches.
Here are 10 Christmas special sarnies you can get your hands on this festive season.
Bada Bing sandwich deli has of course announced a festive special sandwich, served on their signature hoagie rolls.
The Merry Bingmas is filled with roast turkey, bubble ‘n’ squeak croquette, nanna Barry’s ‘famous’ braised red cabbage, paté and spiced cranberry sauce. The sandwich is served with a pot of gravy for dunking and you can also add bacon if you like. The veggie version has cauliflower karaage and chestnut paté. Plus, there’s a prawn cocktail festive special too which looks sensational.
Find it at General Stores in Ancoats. Keep an eye on their page for more details.
You’ve all heard of it, it’s the infamous Yorkshire Pudding Wrap, made by Porky Pig Carvery on the Christmas Markets. Ok, ok. I know what you’re about to say. It’s not a sandwich, it’s a wrap. I hear you, but it’s also a Yorkshire pudding and if it’s got a filling ‘sandwiched’ in between a bread-like exterior, it’s coming on the list.
The mammoth wrap begins with a giant Yorkshire pudding, which is then loaded up with shredded turkey, stuffing, carrots, peas and thick gravy. It’s then folded, grilled and served.
Northern Soul‘s Crimbo Dinner grilled cheese is back, but not at the Manchester Christmas Markets this year. Instead, they’ll be serving it at their Tib Street store and at Escape to Freight Island’s Winter Island.
The grilled cheese is filled with crown of turkey, gravy, Pink Lady stuffing, cranberry sauce and topped with a gravy-soaked lollipop. It’s nothing short of majestic. Check out more on their Instagram.
Having recently moved into their new restaurant in Withington, Herbivorous has just announced its festive specials dishes for this year which include a turkey (made with seitan) and stuffing burger, cheese fondue fries and fries loaded with seitan turkey, gravy, cranberry and red cabbage.
They’re also doing trifle, chocolate Yule log, Christmas Rum Punch and Neggnog (not egg nog) in the lead up to Christmas.
The Christmas menu is available from 1st December. Book a table at their Withington restaurant here. The festive specials are also available at Hatch.
Bundobust has confirmed they will be bringing back their sprout bhajis and their ‘seminal’ sprout bhaji butty which consists of a patty made with sprouts, broccoli and onion served with fennel and chilli salad and cranberry chutney in a vegan brioche bun. Plus, £1 from the sale of each Sprout Bhaij Butty will go to a local charity.
They’ll also have a festive curry made with winter veg in a warming tomato and coconut sauce and Christmas Kulfi flavoured with nutmeg, cardamom, cinnamon and orange peel. Christmas cocktails and mocktails include Coconut Hot Toddy, Massala Chaas with brandy, Baileys and their house chai, and Ginger Tom (non alc) which is a mix of Ginger ale, cranberry, apple, cinammon, lime and mint.
A bit more of a classic Christmas sandwich, this one. Trove‘s turkey sandwich is topped with red cabbage sauerkraut, emmental cheese, Russian dressing and pickles. It’s served on their white sourdough and looks bloody gorgeous.
It’s available at their Ancoats, Levenshulme and Marble Street cafés.
Bab has launched a Christmas menu this year, with no less than four festive babs and two sides. The babs include: roast turkey with cranberry and chilli sauce; lamb chop with green peas and mint sauce and butternut squash with sprouts, beetroot and cheesy chilli sauce.
They’re also serving pigs in blankets and Yorkshire puddings with gravy as sides. And there are Bab hot chocolates, piled high with whipped cream. Open every day. For more information and to book, visit their Instagram page.
The Christmas menu at Parmogeddon in Hatch features a Christmas butty with one of their parmos topped with bacon, melted brie and cranberry sauce rocket and house pickled spicy slaw on a toasted brioche bun.
They’ve also got a festive Parmo which is topped with deep-fried stuffing balls and pigs in blankets and served with fries. Plus, Christmas loaded cheesy fries with either pigs in blankets and deep fried stuffing or bacon, brie and cranberry. More info on their Instagram here.
You can’t help but have noticed a distinctly more festive feeling in the air over the last week or so. Christmas decorations are going up, there are festive specials on menus and mulled drinks are popping up left right and centre.
You will probably also have noticed the arrival of the Manchester Christmas Markets which this year are centred in Piccadilly Gardens. The markets tend to get plenty of attention every year but there are quite a few other options for festive markets in Manchester this year, with a wider range of independent traders to shop, eat and drink with.
We’ve rounded up some of the best places to do your Christmas shopping in the city.
Escape to Freight Island has opened what they claim is the UK’s largest fully outdoor and heated market outside the Depot Mayfield. Winter Island boasts independent traders and stalls, a Christmas tree forest and a series of festive events.
New festive food traders include Great North Pie Co, a bratwurst grill, a traditional hog roast, a mulled wine and hot cider hut, a local chocolatier and an artisanal cheese stall. There’s also an ice rink, workshops, live karaoke and film nights planned. Full info here.
Salvi’s Italian Christmas Market
Salvi’s is hosting an Italian Christmas Market at Deansgate Square ahead of the launch of their upcoming new restaurant which is opening at the development in the new year. The market will run from 27 November to 22 December featuring Italian street food like sweet and savoury sofietti (deep fried dough balls), cosy fire-pits with free blankets, an independent indoor market hosted byPop-Up Club, as well as festive huts filled with the best Italian produce.
There’ll also be bars serving Peroni on draft, Vin Brulé (Italian mulled wine), Hot Mulled Negronis (!!), wines, prosecco, lots more cocktails and soft drinks. Follow Salvi’s for more details.
Upstairs in the Bread Flower cafe there will be bagels, coffees, mulled wine and more sweet treats, as well as wreaths and other floral arrangements to buy. For more details, head to the Bread Flower page.
The Ancoats Pop Up market recently expanded from its mini markets at Block 23 to a much larger location at Cutting Room square, with room for a whole lot more traders. They are hosting festive markets in the square over two weeks in December from 11th to 12th and 18th to 19th.
Ancoats Pop Up is also hosting another market at Angel Gardens Saturday 4 December. Follow their page for more details.
Ramona and the Firehouse have been transformed into the Winter Village with tequila cabins, firepits, live stages and dance tents. There will also be mini festive markets on site with independent retailers popping up in the lead up to Christmas including A Few Scoops boozy ice cream, Biophillia plants, Clay and Coats accessories and Hugo and Co gourmet dog treats.
The ever-popular Levy Market is hosting markets every Saturday in the lead up to Christmas from 10am to 4pm. They’ve also got their monthly night markets which take place on Friday 19th November and Friday 17th December which are on from 5pm to 9pm.
They’ve always got a really good range of traders and street food available at their events, so it’s well worth a trip to Levenshulme if you don’t already live there.
From Friday 26 November, GRUB is hosting their own Christmas market with a pop up shop featuring indie makers, alongside a street food offering, campfires, boozy hot chocolates, beers and a festive bottomless brunch. More info on their Instagram page.
Makers Market will be hosting their usual line up of events across the region with events in Northern Quarter, Chorlton, Didsbury, Sale, MediaCity, Stockport and more. For the upcoming dates visit their website here.
Stockport. Home of Blossoms, the Hat Museum, the iconic Stockport Plaza and Edgeley Park. It’s not necessarily the first place that would spring to mind when thinking about places to find great food and drink but over the last few years a few operators have been starting to put Stockport on the map.
We decided to take the 10 minute train from Manchester Piccadilly to Stockport (of which there are 243 a day) to explore some of the best places to eat in Stockport. There are of course plenty of brilliant places to eat across the borough of Stockport, but for the purposes of this article, we’re focusing soley on the town centre.
First up, we headed over to Where the Light Gets In, Stockport’s most widely acclaimed restaurant. Walking up into the airy space during the daytime, the chefs are preparing for that evening’s service. The open kitchen here takes the idea of cooking in front of guests to a whole new level, a couple of kitchen islands at one side of the room, without even a counter to separate chefs from diners.
There is an overwhelming feeling of calm in this beautiful space, where the light really does get in, or rather floods in, through large loft-style windows. There is exposed brick, natural wood floors, dried flowers and ears of corn hanging from large wooden beams, a wool rug with the sheep’s painted marker still visible and hand crafted ceramics on each table. If you ignore the tables laid for dinner and pots bubbling on the counter, it feels more like a yoga retreat than a restaurant kitchen.
On the shelves are large jars of unusual ingredients: kohlrabi kraut powder, fennel pollen, wild oregano and dried scallop. And out the back, balls of dough are being shaped, ready to be baked into fresh sourdough loaves.
So why did chef patron Sam Buckley choose to open his restaurant in Stockport? Well, according to head chef Samuel Munstermann, Buckley was looking all over for somewhere to open his new venue and was all set to open somewhere in London. It just so happened that he had a friend who owned a chandelier shop around the corner who told him about the space.
Munstermann tells us that more important than anything else for Buckley, was creating somewhere where people would want to work. A refreshing shift in priorities for an industry which hasn’t got the best reputation for employee wellbeing.
A sample menu for the restaurant featured a series of nine courses with dishes like; oyster with tomatillo and jalapeno; BBQ ray with preserved garlic, smoked tomato and bisque; and apple tart, whey caramel and sweetcorn ice cream.
If you are hoping to get a table at WTLGI, you’ll have to wait until next year as the earliest you can book right now is for January 2022, with a nine-course tasting menu costing £75 per person.
Where the Light Gets In is in the process of setting up a bakery called Yellow Hammer which will sell freshly baked bread. This was something they trialled at their lockdown convenience store ‘The Pickle Factory’ and the bread was always the first thing to sell out.
The loaves will be sold alongside chutneys, preserves, country wines and their own house-made cider which is made from apples brought in by local people. If you have an apple tree and are looking to pass on any surplus apples, you can give them to Where the Light Gets In who will turn them into cider and you’ll get a free bottle from next year’s batch. More details on that here.
The cider drive is part of the restaurant’s sustainable ethos, for which they received a green Michelin star for earlier this year. The award celebrates restaurants who lead the way in sustainable and ethical practices, for example by working directly with growers and producers, and also those who address the quality of life of their staff and contribute to charity and educational projects.
Out the back of the bakery will be a pottery studio run by local maker Joe Hartley who will create ceramics which will be used in the bakery and the restaurant, as well as to bottle the cider and there will be workshop opportunities in the space too.
Walking back towards the centre, we pass through the traditional Market Hall, a site which has operated as a market since the Middle Ages. There are the traditional traders you’d expect – grocers, fishmonger, butcher, cheesemonger, delicatessen – as well as small shops selling gifts, homewares and more, as well as four cafes.
There’s also a stall called Wine Boy selling natural, organic and minimal intervention wines, and craft beers which is open between 9:30am and 4:30pm.
Next up, we headed to Ate Days a Week, owned and run by Andy James. Ate Days a Week started as a ‘one-off’ pop up, pairing food and music. The plan was for these to be monthly events, but then lockdown happened. So, Andy decided to start making sandwiches for delivery while he couldn’t host any events.
“I was bored. It was maybe the second week of lockdown, that’s how early the boredom set in,” says Andy. “There’s only so many nights you can get pissed,” he laughs.
Andy was then working in Edinburgh Castle and has worked on the food offering for various places around Manchester including Bunny Jacksons, Cane and Grain and Dog Bowl, as well as opening sites for Hard Rock Cafe.
He started messaging mates, who then messaged their mates and soon he was delivering 50 sandwiches each Saturday lunchtime.
The initial idea was to take a sandwich and make it into a meal, rather than just a filling in between two slices of bread and the original idea of pairing music with food has stuck, with each of the names of the dishes having a musical twist. Current sandwiches on the menu include Great Balls of Fire (A brioche sub roll filled with beef, pork & n’duja meatballs) and Phil Me In (their take on a Philly cheese steak sandwich).
Alongside the sandwiches, Ate Days a Week also offers a selection of pies and fish and chips. This addition was mainly due to the fact that the site they are currently in used to be a chippy and so had all the equipment to make fish, chips and pies.
Their pie selection changes every couple of weeks and when we visited the choice was between Braised ox cheek, parmesan and potato, Chicken Balti or Wild mushroom and sweet potato. And, their ox cheek pie just won Silver at the British Pie Awards.
Any of the pies can be turned into (I Just) Died in Your Barm, which – you guessed it – means it gets put in between two halves of a barm a la Wigan Kebab and topped with minty mushy peas and served with a side of gravy to pour on top. It’s absolutely glorious – a warm crusty pie, the soft barm, the freshness of the peas and proper thick, rich gravy.
As well as Ate Days a Week downstairs, Andy also runs a bar called Notion upstairs, Stockport’s only dive bar with flaming cocktails and a large range of rum.
There are neon lights, the walls are covered in graffiti tags and stickers and the toilets are decorated with pictures of the heads of ‘Boris’ and ‘Maggie’ on spikes. “That’s one thing that Stockport wasn’t ready for, it’s me. If you’re offended by Tories on spikes then you shouldn’t be in here.”
For dinner we head to Baekdu, a traditional Korean barbecue restaurant located a short walk from the centre. The building looks like it once used to be a house, and inside the restaurant does have a homely feel.
Each of the tables has a bronze extractor hanging overhead, with a long extendable tube reaching up to the ceiling. In the centre is a metal cover, which is removed to place hot coals and a grill over the top for the table BBQ.
We go for the Chadoi-bagi (thinly sliced beef brisket), Dwaeji-bulgogi (spicy marinated sliced pork), Dak-galbi (spicy marinated chicken) and – after much debate amongst the group – the Ox Tongue.
If you’re worried about the prospect of barbecuing your own dinner, then don’t worry as the staff at Baekdu actually do the cooking for you. Flitting between the tables turning meat, in between taking orders, delivering drinks and other dishes.
The BBQ comes with large lettuce leaves to wrap the grilled meats. The menu recommends a lettuce and spring onion salad to go with the table BBQ and may I also reconfirm that recommendation. The shredded salad has been tossed in a dressing of sesame, soy, gochujaru and a little sugar. It’s salty, sweet, spicy and very, very moreish.
I’m a big fan of Korean restaurants, but this is the first time I’ve had the Korean table BBQ experience. And you know what? I’m now a big fan of Korean BBQ too. There’s so much going on at once and I just love concocting a different little mouthful each time.
Alongside the barbecue meats, we also ordered the Kimchi Pancake, Jabche (Pan-fried vermicelli with mixed vegetables) and Ddok-Bhokgi (sweet and spicy rice cakes). That last dish (also written as dukbokki, tteokbokki and ddeukbokki) is a personal favourite of mine.
I order it every time I get Korean, but the version at Baekdu has been my favourite so far. The rice cakes were soft and pillowy and the sauce was tangy, thick and rich with spicy gochujang paste.
We also order the mackerel which comes butterflied and grilled so it’s crispy yet juicy and flakes easily from the bone.
We couldn’t talk about food in Stockport without a big mention for Stockport Foodie Friday which takes place on the last Friday of every month. So, I came back to Stockport for their latest event which completely transforms Stockport town centre.
The event is centred around the traditional Market Hall, with street food traders lining the perimeter of the market and the square outside. The bars around the market allow visitors to grab some food from the traders and sit down on their tables. When we arrive just before 6pm (when the event officially starts), the bars are all already packed out.
I’m impressed by the number of traders here and also the amount of people that have come down for the evening on what’s been a pretty wet day. It’s properly buzzing.
Oh Mei Dumpling has been a regular here at Stockport Foodie Friday since she started her business and her dumplings are in high demand, with a queue of hungry punters (including us) already forming ahead of her stall in anticipation of the 6pm start. I’m told it’s like this every time and the queue continues until she runs out, so if you want to try Mei’s delicious dumplings, get there early and get in line.
I got the platter for £10 which includes your choice of six dumplings, as well as noodle rolls and slaw. We went for the pork and prawn sui mai, Chinese chicken curry and a seasonal pumpkin dumpling. They’re all delicious and very different to each other, but my favourite is definitely pork and prawn. The rice noodle rolls are a great surprise too, reminding me a little of the Korean dukbokki rice cakes.
I also ordered a Buffalo chicken grilled cheese from Northern Soul which is cooked on a custom-built grill in the boot of a car. Cheese, fried chicken, buffalo hot sauce, grilled until oozing, can’t argue with that.
Inside the market hall, it’s a hive of activity too. There are tables to sit with food and drink, a ukelele group playing and Corner Bar is serving draught beer, wine, spirits and other drinks. Wine Boy is open for the occasion serving natural and organic wines by the glass and the bottle, as well as craft beers. The cheesemonger’s fridge counter is filled with booze alongside the usual wedges of cheese, as is the fishmonger’s who are serving fresh oysters and sushi.
A good few of the market traders have stayed open for the occasion too and I even managed to pick up an early Christmas present.
It’s fair to say that Foodie Friday has been a huge success and is an important calendar date for Stockport. What they’ve started here is truly impressive and shows strong sense of community here, the local appetite for dining out and the decent range of local businesses who are willing to feed it.
This feels like just the beginning for Stockport. It’s already worth a day trip out to check out some of the restaurants there but over the next few years, I imagine we’ll see lots more places popping up around the centre.
When Freight Island opened at the end of July 2020, it felt like it was the beginning of the end of life under lockdown. Pubs and restaurants had just been allowed to reopen, the Eat Out to Help Out scheme was on the horizon and things were feeling a bit more normal again.
As we know, things didn’t exactly pan out that way, but Freight Island has been the venue that has lead the way of coping under the pressures of enforced closures and restrictions.
An article published in The Business Desk last week wrote that Freight Island “has been a huge Manchester success story and is set to become one of the most visited destination tourism locations in the UK. It is expected that with an estimated footfall figure of around 10,000 visitors per week there will be over £2.4m spent within the local economy.”
So after taking a huge hit over the course of the last 18 months, the entertainment industry and specifically venues like Freight Island are actually helping Manchester get back on its feet.
Since the complete easing of restrictions in July, Freight Island has hosted parties, gigs and other performances and it still remains one of the most exciting places to eat and drink in Manchester with 10 food vendors and six bars.
We headed back to Freight Island to see how it’s thriving post Covid restrictions and speak to some of the food traders to see what they’ve got going on.
Our first stop is Belzan Pasta who joined Freight Island in November with the opening of the Ticket Hall. Serving Italian inspired dishes made with British ingredients, Belzan already had a popular bistro on Smithdown Road in Liverpool which has won many awards for its seasonal British dishes.
Bringing that same seasonal approach and an emphasis on top quality ingredients, the Belzan team decided they wanted to do something different in Manchester, hence the Italian menu.
Head chef Jess Fenlon tells me that they like to take underutilised products, such as ox cheeks, and big them up, to make dishes like their slow braised ox cheek ragu. The menu changes each season; however, dishes on that menu can change week to week and day to day, depending on what’s available and what is best in stock at that particular moment.
Currently, the new menu features a Panzanella, a chopped Tuscan salad which at Belzan is made using chunks of toasted bread and British tomatoes mixed with red onions, black olives, basil and a good glug of olive oil and vinegar.
Another classic favourite, Cacio e Pepe pasta, is a simple dish made with tagolini (thin ribbons of pasta, somewhere in between spaghetti and tagliatelle) in an emulsified sauce flavoured with garlic, pepper and pecorino cheese. “All the staff ask for it,” says Jess.
Jess also tells me how much she loves the up tempo atmosphere at Freight Island and the spectacular events that they put on. After a shift recently, she says how she got to sing along to a live orchestra playing Prince and Elton John. There aren’t many other venues where you could imagine the same happening.
Belzan is open Wednesday to Sunday at the moment but they are looking at expanding to daily, especially in the lead up to Christmas.
Another Liverpudlian export, Madre Tacos has been part of Freight Island since the start. Madre is a collaboration between the owners of Belzan and London-based taqueria Breddos Tacos. With a menu inspired by the flavours of Mexico City, Madre make everything in house – the tortillas, salsas, marinades and more.
Madre’s head chef and General Manager, Matthew Burke, tells us that since the Ticket Hall opened, it’s been non stop for the team. Initially, Madre was working in a small space in Platform 15, working off a couple of barbecues, but since moving inside, they’ve been able to expand their menu which includes tacos like deep fried pollo asado, tempura cod with jalapeno aioli and salsa mexicana, and slow cooked short rib birria.
Other highlights include cadillac nachos with jalapeño queso, garlic crema, black beans, radish, spring onions, guacamole and all the salsa and a fresh tuna tostada made with sashimi-grade tuna loin.
Matthew tells us his favourite taco is the classic Al Pastor which has a mix of three different cuts of Iberico pork marinated in achiote, smoky guajillo and fruity ancho and spicy arbol chillies, orange juice and epazote (Mexican oregano).
Following their success at Freight, Madre is now looking to open another venue in Manchester which will serve a more complex menu and high-end experience, similar to their original restaurant in Liverpool, serving dishes like oven roasted pig’s head and the popular chicken and sweetcorn soup. Manchester is desperately in need of more great Mexican food, so I for one am very looking forward to seeing what they have planned.
Moving on to Baratxuri, where everything at their Freight Island restaurant is centred around fire – from the dishes on their Basque menu to their seats which sit huddled around their huge wood-fired grill.
You can order food from Baraxturi to wherever you like in Freight Island, but for the real experience, I’d recommend booking one of these seats right by the fire, where you can watch as the chefs expertly their ‘asado’ dishes (meaning from the fire) like beef short rib, whole turbot and Iberico pork collar on the open grill and wood-fired clay oven.
Also on their menu are small plates like a range of Spanish charcuterie, Cumbrian oysters with beef fat and cep mushroom, seafood dishes like salt cod ‘kroketas’, fire-roasted Patagonian red prawns and pulpo (octopus) a la gallega.
There’s also fresh vegetable dishes like grilled broccoli with Romesco sauce, cauliflower bravas and a heritage tomato salad with Pedro Ximenez sherry vinegar. For dessert, there’s Burnt Basque Cheescake and Orange and Almond Torta.
It’s the inclusion of places like Baratxuri and others that truly make Freight Island different to the street food led offerings of similar venues. This is a proper, high-end menu, served in a place that is welcoming to all.
Finally on our tour, we visited Mi and Pho, who make fresh, vibrant and traditional Vietnamese dishes. It’s a slightly different menu to their Northenden restaurant, tweaked to suit the needs and fast-paced service of Freight.
I have to say, when I first heard that Mi and Pho were going to be coming to Freight Island, I was excited. Like with Baratxuri, Freight Island provides a more convenient opportunity to try food from these acclaimed restaurants for people who don’t live near the original restaurants in Ramsbottom and Northenden.
Mi and Pho also joined Freight Island with the opening of the Ticket Hall and has really hit the ground the running. Everything is made in house and it’s been so busy for the team that alongside the team of chefs working in the open kitchen in the Ticket Hall, there is also a team out back in the prep kitchen constantly chopping, marinating and making the stock.
There is also a dedicated team to run the food to customers and go to the market for fresh produce, alongside using larger stores like Wing Yip.
The impressive menu includes a classic Pho, summer rolls, creamy coconut curry, Vietnamese-style barbecued meats, fresh fish and seafood, and vibrant papaya salads. They are also now offering Bahn Mi – a crusty baguette filled with grilled meats, fish or tofu.
The meats for their Bahn Mi are cooked on a wood-fired grill in a separate outdoor kitchen in the seating area in Platform 15. The char sui pork is cooked sous vide for 12 hours before being thrown onto the grill at the last second before serving.
As executive chef Justin Chung tells me, there’s nowhere to hide with Vietnamese food. The menu changes seasonally and they’re always on the look out for new dishes. Also open five days a week currently, they are thinking about moving to seven days a week from November.
Alongside these four traders, there’s also New York style pizza from Voodoo Rays, eclairs from Choo Choo, soft serve ice creams from Soft Boi and vegan burgers, shawarma and more from Plant Grill.
There are drinks from the newly-arrived Pomona Island bar, alongside Ancoats cocktail bar the Jayne Eyre, and Forever Changes wine bar and bistro, as well as Camden Town Brewery, Koppaberg and the main Freight bar.
Each time you look, Freight Island has grown. A new trader here, a new area to hang out there. It’s a truly pioneering venue where you’d feel as comfortable coming for a few casual pints or a gig, as you would a sit-down high-end meal.
And, by visiting places like this, you’re not only supporting the venue, you’re supporting the small businesses that make it up, and you’re also helping the entertainment industry to rebound following a really challenging time.
Running from the Thursday 16 to Monday 27 September, the event centres around the Festival Hub on Cathedral Gardens, alongside other events and offers at venues across the city.
It’s been two years since the last MFDF and so it’s a welcome return for staple Manchester food event which is now in its 24th year.
Here is everything you can look forward to across the 11 days of the festival.
As always, the Festival Hub is the centre of the Manchester Food and Drink Festival and this year can be found at Cathedral Gardens. There’s street food, live music, an artisan market and takeovers by Manchester restaurants.
The Hub is open across two long weekends from Thursday 16 to Sunday 19 September and from Wednesday 22 to Sunday 26 September.
In between the two weekends, there are various events taking place at the Hub and other things happening across the city – more details on all that below.
Manchester’s biggest chippy tea– 22nd September from 5pm
There’ll be fish, chips, vegan twists, fizz, beers and, to finish, boozy ice cream from A Few Scoops. It’s free to enter and walk ins are welcome. More info here.
Bull and Bear Takeover– 20th September from 7pm
Tom Kerridge’s Bull and Bear is taking over the Hub with a take on street food – a pub grub inspired menu creating especially for MFDF. The three-course menu includes potted Loch Duart Salmon, a Braised Beef and Blue Cheese Pie, and Banana Custard with Dates, Pistachio and Honeycomb.
Albert’s Schloss is taking over the Hub on Thursday 23 September, with an Oktoberfest themed celebration. Schloss will be serving Bavarian favourites like bratwursts and pretzels in the MFDF Street Kitchen. There’ll be beers, lederhosen and Schloss’ signature high-energy live entertainment.
Manchester’s only Michelin-starred restaurant is hosting a special fundraising dinner, raising money for Eat Well Mcr. Each course of this dinner will be cooked by a different top Manchester chef including Simon Martin of Mana, Eddie Shepherd of The Walled Gardens, Anna Sogaard of Erst, Ben Humphreys of District and Mary-Ellen McTague of The Creameries.
Tickets are sold out for the event but there’s a chance to win the final pair of tickets by entering their prize draw which can be entered here. Tickets for the prize draw cost £20 and the winner will win two tickets for the event worth £400.
For each long weekend at the Festival Hub, there will be a different line up of local street food traders.
The first weekend (16 to 19 September) will feature burgers from What’s Your Beef, South Asian inspired street food from Aunty Ji’s, Breton crepes and galettes from Maison Breizh, and wraps and wings from Oh My Glaze.
Also on the second weekend, Eat Well Mcr are hosting a street food stall to raise money to provide meals and support to people sidelined by poverty. Each day from 24 to 26 September, there will be a different restaurant partner taking over the stall, serving a special MFDF menu where all profits will go to Eat Well Mcr.
Across both weekends, there will also be street food dishes from popular Manchester restaurants at the Just Eat Street Kitchen. The line up includes pan-Asian chicken shop Peck and Yard, Spanish restaurant La Bandera, Vertigo Plant Based Eatery and vegan chippy JJ Vish and Chips.
Open from midday to 7pm from Thursday 16 to Sunday 19 and Thursday 23 to Sunday 26 September, the artisan market will showcase some of the regions best independent food and drink producers and suppliers.
There are three bars at the Festival Hub: the Manchester Beer Bar, featuring local breweries like Burton Road Brewing, Northern Monkey, Pomona Island Brewery, Bollington Brewery, Brightside, Blackedge, Thirst Class, Stubborn Mule, Bank Top and Silver Street.
The Franklin and Sons Gin and Tonic bar will serve a menu of G&Ts each made using their 100% natural tonics paired with different flavours of Finders Gin.
Taking place at Halle St Peters in Ancoats, the Wine and Fizz Fest will give attendees the chance to taste their way through dozens of wines from independent drinks retailers and producers from across the region including Decent Drop, Grape to Grain, Le Social and UKiYO Republic.
As well as tasting wines, guests can book into tutored masterclasses and buy bottles to take home. There will be live music for each of the three sessions and food will be provided by Cafe Cotton. Tickets cost £12.50 – book here.
As part of the Festival Fringe, there are various supper clubs, dining events and tastings taking place throughout the 10 days of MFDF.
This includes a collaboration between Ancoats restaurant Elnecot with natural wine suppliers It’s Alive on Tuesday 21 September,
It feels like a very apt time to celebrate the food and drink industry. Much has changed since the event last took place in September 2019, and so the awards will celebrate those who have worked hard to achieve great things in food and drink over the last two years.
The MFDF Awards Ceremony takes place on Monday 27 September where the winners of the awards in the various categories will be announced.
There’s still time to vote for your favourites in each of the categories. Voting closes at midnight on 20 September. Vote here.
The Manchester Food and Drink Festival is taking place from 16 to 27 September. For more information and to book tickets for various events, visit: foodanddrinkfestival.com.
Two new restaurant and bar concepts have opened in burgeoning city centre neighbourhood, Kampus.
Restaurant Tine and wine bar Le Social have taken over the Bungalow which, if you haven’t been down to Kampus yet, is a building on stilts across from Canal Street. This collaboration is the latest in a series of residences taking place in the Kampus Bungalow, which has previously hosted pop ups from Isca Wines and Summer Beer Thing.
Both Tine and Le Social will occupy the space throughout August and September, Le Social operating the bar outside and Tine running the restaurant upstairs in the Bungalow itself.
Le Social has an impressive selection of organic and natural wines, beers, spirits and non-alcoholic options. They also have a bar snack menu including nibbles like Manchego cheese, olives, mini saucissons and spiced mixed nuts.
This will be the first time Le Social has had a full bar set up. Started during lockdown while owner Jerome was put on furlough from his job as an alcohol sales rep, Le Social has been operated out of one of the containers at Pollard Yard.
Throughout August and September, Jerome has curated a series of events planned throughout his stay, including DJS, street food takeovers and brunch events. When we were down there were three performers roaming the space, including a leotard-clad hula hoop dancer.
Le Social is open from 4-10 on Thursday and Friday and 12 till late on Saturdays and Sundays. For more information visit Le Social’s Instagram page.
Tine was first set up by chefs Josh and James as a pop up in Blossom Street Social in February 2020.
Josh said: “We set up Tine as we thought Manchester has a big lack of local Mancunian chef run restaurants, so we got together with the focus on finding the best products in the UK and some from Ireland. I’m from an Irish family and James has Irish heritage also which relates to our name. In English it means the tip of a fork or deer antler and in Irish means a fire or blaze as we intend to cook on wood embers in a really refined way.
“We set up tine in February 2020, two weeks before Covid hit, which obviously hurt us massively in every aspect and worked around government restrictions as a pop up at blossom street social wine bar until November 2020. We’re now at Kampus trying to restart our brand and hopefully get one step closer to opening a permanent restaurant.”
Josh has been chef for 10 years, training with Michelin-starred Simon Rogan. He worked at Where The Light Gets In in Stockport before becoming Senior Sous Chef at Mana for the first year. James has worked as a chef for 15 years, notably working as Aiden Byrne’s Senior Sous Chef for 6 years at Manchester House.
The multi-course menu will change based on the produce available. When we visited the first course was an oyster sat on top of a wild plum. A perfect mouthful, it was salty-sweet and as fresh as anything.
Next, we had Dayboat Ikejime Sea Bass which had been brought up from Cornwall, having only been caught the day before. The fish was lightly cured and served on top of a creamy smoked yolk which formed the sauce of the dish, and topped with fresh orange tomatoes and lemon rind.
The meat course was Hogget loin, two thick slices of lamb with perfectly crisped fat and juicy pink middle. Hogget is a lamb that has been aged for a year or two which means that the meat has a fuller flavour than that of lamb but not as strong as mutton. It was served with a rich pumpkin seed stew and a side of fermented potato bread (a nod to the pair’s Irish heritage).
Dessert was green strawberry which had been pickled (so it tasted almost like lychee) and served with a walnut parfait and frozen Eccles cake.
Finally, we had cheese to finish – a soft Connage cheese, topped with thin slices of fresh pear and served in a crisp cracker cup.
The menu is as refined as you’d expect from a pair with these credentials and each dish isn’t quite like anything I’ve eaten before.
Tine is open Thursday to Sunday until the end of September. To book visit: tinemcr.com.
Late night ramen joint CBRB and Chorlton cocktail bar Henry C have come together to announce a brand new restaurant and bar concept – a French-style bistro in the old Bock Biere Cafe site.
Ten Tib Lane is a three-storey restaurant and bar which aims to ‘push the boundaries of Manchester’s food and drink scene’.
The venue looks casual and cosy with a muted colour palette, dark wood floors, terracotta walls, a tiled bar, leather seats and rich velvet booths.
The EATMCR team were chatting other day about the distinct lack of French restaurants in Manchester. While French gastronomy is renowned the world over and was even added to the UNESCO list of “intangible cultural heritage” in 2010, it seems to have fallen out of favour with UK restaurants who are favouring other cuisines over the traditional French cookery.
That’s not to say there aren’t some great independent French restaurants in Manchester like 63 Degrees in the Northern Quarter and Man Bites Frog in Chorlton. However, when you compare it to the number of Italian, Spanish or even Japanese restaurants in the city, the French are lagging far behind.
An absolute Francophile myself, I think this is a real shame, so I’m excited to see a venue bringing a fresh and forward-thinking take on the cuisine. The food and drink menus at 10 Tib Lane will be constantly evolving, with a focus on seasonal, homegrown and locally sourced ingredients.
There will be small plates such as lamb rump, braised broad beans, saffron aioli and rosti; a ‘Club Sandwich’ made with chicken, truffle, smoked bacon and celeriac; and carefully thought out vegetarian options like potato and chive financier, ginger, sweet potato aligot.
The chef behind the menu is Alex Shaw of Volta, who has previously been awarded Chef of the Year by the Manchester Food and Drink Festival and Restaurant of the Year at the City Life awards.
For drinks, there is a refined cocktail menu, including both well known drinks and more progressive additions.
Examples include the understated Whisky and Soda, which consists of milk washed Chivas 12y whisky, Chivas Mizanura blend whisky, burnt caramel vanilla and citric acid.
There’s also Le Mastrou which has Lilliet Blanc vermouth, Cacao Blanc liqueur and olive oil-washed Plymouth gin – a technique which consists of infusing (or “fat-washing”) gin with olive oil. It looks and feels like a martini, but it’s light, chocolatey and sweet.
Unfortunately the news of the new opening was coupled with the announcement that CBRB will be ‘laying low’ for a bit. The team has decided to take a break due to the increasing pressure from Covid guidelines and the test and trace system.
A post on CBRB’s Instagram read: “The toll the past couple of weeks has taken on our team is immeasurable. The uncertainty caused by test and trace, combined with behind the scenes issues of a struggling supply chain and goods shortages nationwide… you get the picture.”
Talking about the launch, Ben Gretton, who launched CBRB in 2018, said: “We wanted to create a high end experience, but without any of the stuffiness that usually comes with that. We want to be a place people come for a nice bottle of wine and a few oysters after an afternoon of shopping, as much as for a special date night or anniversary spot or just a place for a few afternoon cocktails and a couple of light plates. It really is a place for everyone and we’ve worked hard to create a relaxed vibe that isn’t trying too hard, it’s just a cool place to be.”
Sophie Robson, co-owner of Chorlton’s Henry C, added: “We’ve been customers in each other venues for years and have total respect for how we approach the industry, so when we saw the venue and the opportunity it gave us, it was a no brainer to do it together. We all believe in honest service, incredible food and drink and that’s what 10 Tib Lane is about.”
Ten Tib Lane opens on Thursday 29 July. To book a table visit 10tiblane.com and stay up to date by following their Instagram here.
The matches, which will be hosted on 25 and 28 July and 5 and 10 August, will also have a full programme of entertainment, food and drink for visitors to enjoy.
The Hundred is a new, shorter, more fast-paced format of cricket where only 100 balls are bowled for each team. Each game lasts less than three hours, as opposed to Test cricket matches which can last three, four or even five days.
This competition will see the Manchester Originals compete against seven other teams from across the country in men’s and women’s competitions.
For the matches at Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester will take on Birmingham Phoenix on 25 July, Northern Superchargers on 28 July, Southern Brave on 5 August and London Spirit on 10 August. There will be women’s and men’s fixtures at all events.
At each event there will be a live set from a different band. BBC 6 Music has collaborated on the line up which includes Wigan band The Lathums for the first event, followed by The Orielles, Porij and, finally, Everything Everything. The matches will all be hosted by BBC Radio Manchester DJ Roesh.
Now, the food. We’ve teamed up with Manchester Originals to curate the line up of independent food traders who will be dishing up the goods at each of the four events.
Crunched Tacos will also be there for the last three fixtures, serving their hard shell tacos. And A Few Scoops will be there serving their alcohol-infused ice cream, sorbets and ice pops from their baby pink tuk tuk.
Overall, it looks set to be a pretty cracking day out. Outdoors, watching some sport, some live music and digging into some delicious food. Lovely.
Tickets for Manchester Originals home fixtures available here.
I don’t know if it’s because we’re all severely holiday deficient at the moment but wandering around Manchester in this weather (if you squint ever so slightly), we could just be abroad.
And what’s the best holiday activity? Correct. Eating and drinking everything in sight.
So let’s go. Here are some of our favourite things to get in Manchester in the sun – including some suggestions from you lot.
Ok, first up in this heat, it’s got to be ice cream. And for somewhere as notoriously rainy as Manchester, we’ve got a pretty great selection of places to get a few scoops of the cold stuff.
Serving at both their Ducie Street and Hatch sites, Gooey‘s cereal milk soft serve is the perfect heatwave snack. It’s like a 99 from your local ice cream van with an added dose of nostalgia. It’s made by local ice cream maker Rogue Ice Cream and is quite frankly, delicious.
Also doing soft serve at the moment are Siop Shop who have been dolloping maple soft serve onto their donuts at their Tib Street shop. Lovely.
Across the road, the newly opened Lazy Sundae on Tib Street serves a range of scoops inspired by their owners travels including Mango Mochi, Matca and Earl Grey Biscoff. There’s also bubble tea, soufflé pancakes and pineapple bao buns filled with milk tea ice cream.
Talking of ice cream sandwiches, Nell’s has got their own version, made using Cheshire Farm Ice Cream sandwiched between Nell’s signature cookies. Choose from salted caramel, cookies and cream, red velvet and vegan chocolate. Find them at Common and The Beagle.
Also on that ice cream sandwich hype are Sicilian NQ serve scoops of classic Italian gelato wedged inside a sweet brioche bun. Flavours include pistachio, chocolate, stracciatella, vanilla, strawberry and more.
For more classic Italian gelato, head over to Taste It on Blackfriars Road in Salford run by Italian husband and wife team Simona and Gianfranco. The flavours change daily and include Bronte Pistachio DOP, Ricotta and Pears, and Espresso, as well as a range of vegan gelato and sorbet.
In my opinion, the key to food in the sun is that when you close your eyes, you need to feel like you’re abroad. You need to trick your taste buds into believing you’re in Italy, Spain, Mexico or whichever cuisine/destination you choose.
The Fritto Misto from Salvi’s is just made for eating in the sun; a mix of battered calamari, prawns and courgette, served in a paper cone. While we’re at it, we’ll take one of their loaded apertivo boards which come with three types of mozzarella, cured meats, olives and bread. And an Aperol Spritz with that, thanks.
Another favourite among you lot was of course tapas. Specifically at an outdoor table at Bar San Juan in Chorlton or Porta in Salford – both stellar places to sit in the sun and nibble and drink to your heart’s content.
I don’t know about you, but if there’s one food the sun makes me crave, it’s seafood. All this week I’ve just been dreaming of sitting out on that terrace at Oystercatcher with half a dozen oysters and a glass of something cold. Absolute heaven.
Of course, they’ve got lots of other great seafood and fish dishes too, with a weekly changing seasonal menu. At the moment, there’s dishes like Moules Frites, Black Sea Bream and a seafood platter featuring sea bream, red tiger praws, mussels and squid.
Straddling the ice cream and iced coffee divide is the affogato, and you won’t find many better in Manchester than Rudy’s. Their version is a scoop of vanilla ice cream from Ginger’s Comfort Emporium with a shot of hot Italian Kimbo espresso poured over. You can also add a shot of Amaretto. Naughty.
Ginger’s also do their own version of an affogato at their ice cream bar on the first floor of Afflecks.
We also love the Vietnamese iced coffee from both Ca Phe Viet and Pho Cue – dark roasted coffee with condensed milk and topped up with ice. It’s rich, sweet and ice cold. While you’re at it, Vietnamese food is perfect for this weather.
We asked you what drinks you crave in the sun, and the responses were heavily in favour of Margaritas – classic margs, frozen margs, spicy margs, all the margs.
One of our favourites has to be the margaritas from Picos in Mackie Mayor. We went the other day and tried their new Passion Fruit Margarita – fruity, sharp and with a healthy dose of tequila, it’s sunshine in a glass.
Other firm favourites are the frozen Margaritas from Crazy Pedros. The classic is made with El Jimador tequila, Giffard Triple Sec and Supasawa or you can choose from a range of flavours: strawberry; peach and passion fruit; pineapple and pomegranate; watermelon and pink guava; and lychee and grapefruit.
At Ramona, which feels made for this weather, the margaritas have been catching our eye in a big way. They have a happy hour too. Every Thursday & Friday, all their Margaritas are a fiver.
We also spotted the Frozen Marg of the month at Southside Tequila Joint in Withington, a blue lemon sour margarita which comes served in a large glass, complete with a glow stick and Refresher bar – obviously.
With all of the above, obviously make sure you get the respective tacos or pizza from whichever place you’re ordering from. Those margs are strong stuff.
There’s nothing like a crisp, refreshing pint on a hot day. Sometimes, any pint will do, but here are some beers/places to go that we think are particularly great on a hot day.
At the moment, there’s probably nowhere better to have a drink in Manchester in the sun than Stevenson Square. You’ve got outdoor seating from Flok, Eastern Bloc, Hula and more. All primed and ready to pull your pints.
There are too many great beers and breweries to mention but here a couple of beers we’d recommend. From Seven Brothers brewery, there’s the Sabro IPA, which they describe as a “tidal wave of coconut and citrus flavours” and from Cloudwater, their classic pale ale called How Wonderful, it’s bright, juicy and a corker of a beer for a sunny day.
Fell in Chorlton has a cracking selection of beers too, they can be bought from the shop to takeaway or you can sit and drink them on the tables outside. There’s a changing selection of beers available. My personal favourites for this weather are the raspberry sour beer and the Paddler, which is a lemon iced tea Radler; light, zesty and almost too drinkable.
Have a great weekend!
It was supposed to get rainy over the weekend but it now looks set to stay dry, so plenty of opportunities to get out and enjoy some food and drink outdoors.
No time like the present though, eh? I’m parched, off to go find an ice cold Marg in the sun.
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