Manchester Food and Drink Festival has revealed the first part of its programme as a number of events go on sale ahead of this Autumn’s foodie celebration.
MFDF, the country’s biggest urban food event, is taking place from 26th September – 7th October. It is one of the city’s best-loved and most established festivals, and for the first time the central, outdoor “Festival Hub” is happening in Manchester’s iconic Cathedral Gardens, creating an entirely new festival experience right in the heart of one of the city’s most picturesque public spaces.
This new Festival Hub destination will create a more village-like, greenfield-style Festival site, which will be home to the “Dining Dome”. A bigger epicentre for the Festival’s impressive programme of phenomenal foodie events at the Hub, the new-look Dining Dome will form the centrepiece of this exciting new location on Cathedral Gardens. It will be surrounded by a great variety of bespoke booze offerings including a gin bar hosted by J.J. Whitley, a premium spirits range inspired by the British countryside, and Lamb and Watt natural range of premium mixers. The J.J. Whitley gin range includes London Dry Gin, Elderflower Gin, Nettle Gin, Violet Gin and Pink Cherry Gin which will all be available at the Festival Gin Bar.
There will also be a huge local craft beer bar serving up the very best beers from the region’s incredible brewery and micro-brewery scene – from Beatnikz to Black Jack – as well as a new wine bar.
Camden Town Brewery will also be ‘here with the beer’ at the Festival Hub, pouring fresh beers from their shipping container bar including Camden Hells Lager, Pale Ale and Show Off Juicy Lager. As the Festival’s Official Lager Partner there’ll be plenty of beer activity happening throughout including tastings and samplings plus all their beers will be available on the main, gigantic craft beer bar too.
The new Festival Hub will also be home to an artisan market bringing some of the most exceptional food and drink producers together for a gastro shopping experience, plus as ever, an expertly curated collection of the finest street food heroes around.
The City Life stage will feature an eclectic mix of Manchester’s best talent, plus there’ll be chef demos, a cider fest and a whole host of other fantastic foodies popping up throughout the 11 day Festival Hub celebrations.
The Dining Dome Events at Cathedral Gardens
Thursday 26th September
7.30pm @ MFDF Dining Dome, Festival Hub, Cathedral Gardens £45
Bistrotheque is set to come to the city this July, and, while still currently based in the capital, they’ve already organised their Manchester Food and Drink Festival appearance via an incredible Dining Dome banquet designed to showcase the outstanding Bistrotheque experience. Diners can expect excellent, uncomplicated food, drink and service delivered with good taste and a dollop of fun! A special MFDF menu will be created by Chef Director Blaine Duffy and include arrival cocktails, three courses, a quality wine pairing and digestif.
Friday 27th September
An Evening with Simon Shaw
7.30pm @ The Dining Dome, Festival Hub, Cathedral Gardens £55
One of Manchester’s most innovative, exciting and respected chefs will be hosting an intimate evening in the Dining Dome as he brings together a specially curated collection of his most renowned dishes from across his acclaimed restaurant brands El Gato Negro and Canto. Guests will be taken on a journey through Simon’s authentic and attentive cookery style via some exquisite dishes from across the world with Spanish and Portuguese influences throughout, and all inspired by Simon’s love of travel. Each course will be paired with a specially selected wine, and tickets also include a drinks reception.
Tuesday 1st October
Roots and Future – A Tasting Menu by Francisco Martinez of Fazenda Group in Aid of Action Against Hunger
7.30pm at The Dining Dome, Festival Hub, Cathedral Gardens £50
Fazenda’s Executive Chef Fran Martinez will return to The Dome (after a sell-out extravaganza last year) with an exclusive eight-course tasting menu which celebrates the cultural diversity of Fazenda’s roots through Argentinian & Brazilian cuisines. Paired with exquisite South American wines & cocktails, each dish in this culinary journey fuses tradition with innovation, offering an amalgamation of these two countries’ finest ingredients and flavours. All proceeds from the evening will be donated to Fazenda’s group charity, Action Against Hunger.
Wednesday 2nd October
Comfort Food ‘Sounds’ Good – A Communal Feast by Adam Reid
7.30pm @ The Dining Dome, Festival Hub, Cathedral Gardens £35
MFDF’s 2018 Restaurant of the Year winner and recent star of BBC’s Great British Menu, Adam Reid is to create the ultimate communal, comfort food, festival feast, all inspired by his Great British Menu Dish‘Comfort Food ‘Sounds’ Good’.
Adam will depart from his signature fine-dining style to host an evening of social eating, and great British music at this laid-back gastro get together, all in the extraordinary setting of the Dining Dome. The dish is inspired by Adam’s love of food and music – both things, as he reported on the show, in which he finds comfort when things get tough. The dish is based on his Grandad’s recipe – the ultimate ‘hug in a bowl’. Adam swears by the combination of this perfectly pitched comfort food and the power of music to lift his spirits, and is going create the ultimate foodie event for the soul at this year’s MFDF. He invites guests to join him to feast on his version of chicken stew (crowns of Organic Rhug Estate Chicken, served with his elixir-like stew) alongside a playlist of Great British music (from The Beatles to the Arctic Monkeys & Oasis) for a Festival food celebration like no other. The feast will be complimented with specially curated cocktails.
Thursday 3rd October
An Evening With Paco Perez and Tast
7.30pm @ The Dining Dome, Festival Hub, Cathedral Gardens £45
Catalan cuisine experts Tast present an extraordinary evening in the Dining Dome as they host a three-course dinner designed, cooked and served by Tast’s Head Chef Miquel Villacrosa and the Michelin-starred Spanish cooking giant, Paco Perez. Paco is Tast’s world-famous Executive Chef. Based in Barcelona, he is flying in especially for the Manchester Food and Drink Festival and curating a more casual Tast dining occasion allowing guests to experience their acclaimed cuisine, cooked by the main man himself, in an extraordinary setting. Paco promises wonderful dishes inspired by the beautiful Catalan landscape: the sea and the mountains, the countryside and the cities. Guests will receive a glass of Cava on arrival, three-course menu and special MFDF cocktail.
Friday 4th October
The MFDF Curry Collective with Bundobust, Dishoom, Lily’s and Sanskruti
7.30pm @ The Dining Dome, Festival Hub, Cathedral Gardens £40
Fancy joining the ultimate curry club for the night? Well MFDF invite you to kick off your weekend with a curry night curated by the most exciting and revered names from Manchester’s excellent South Indian dining scene.
The banquet will be kicked off with Indian snacks from Gujarat street food legends Bundobust alongside an arrival cocktail created by their team. Experts too in the pairing of incredible craft beers with curry, Bundobust will be providing a carefully matched flight of brews to go with each course.
One of the hottest restaurant arrivals of the year, Bombay Dining Room Dishoom, are set to cook up their Manchester special dish Nalli Nihari Biryani for the evening, whilst two more incredible courses will come from a pair of the city’s most famous independent, suburban Indian restaurants – Lily’s in Ashton and Sanskruti in Withington. They will be serving up in the city centre for the first time especially for MFDF. Both have built up huge followings and garnered national rave reviews. This will be a chance to feast on their stunning home-cooked style Indian food as part of a genuinely authentic and extraordinary Friday night curry spectacle.
MFDF has announced a special event on sale in partnership with the Manchester Art Gallery, the first of many collaborations to be announced and taking place across the city this Festival is…
Saturday 5th October
The Art of Dining with Aiden Byrne at Manchester Art Gallery
7pm, Manchester Art Gallery £80
Aiden Byrne, owner and executive chef at Restaurant MCR will be teaming up with the art gallery curators to create the ultimate food and art feast.
Aiden’s event will celebrate the whole of the Art Gallery’s collection – not just focusing on one exhibition but the finest pieces in the gallery overall.
Aiden will be cooking a six-course tasting menu with each dish inspired by a different piece of art displayed in the gallery. As each course is served, guests will hear from the curators and Aiden who will guide them through the art and the dish.
4th & 5th October £15
MFDF WINE & FIZZ FESTIVAL Manchester Cathedral
The MFDF Wine and Fizz Festival will be a great big, fun-packed celebration of the most exciting and exclusive wines and fizz from around the world.
Although the wines will be serious, the event is set to be a light-hearted occasion providing a great day or evening out for anyone who loves wine – from the passionate enthusiast to the novice fizz fan.