The Manchester Food and Drink Festival (MFDF) has today revealed the shortlists for the prestigious Manchester Food and Drink Festival Awards 2018.
Now in their 21st year, the awards aim to celebrate the innovative and high quality restaurants, bars and individuals who contribute to the hospitality industry in the region.
Reflecting Manchester’s ever-expanding and constantly evolving food and drink scene, the awards will be presented in 18 different categories, covering everything from premium and fine dining to affordable eats; from best newcomer and best vegetarian offering to street food trader of the year.
The winners will be decided by a combination of public votes and scores obtained by mystery shop visits from a judging panel comprising the region’s leading food and drink critics and experts. This year the awards will be held in the gothic surroundings of Gorton Monastery on 8th October.
Some restaurants have been shortlisted across several categories, including Adam Reid at The French, which is up for restaurant of the year, premium and fine dining restaurant of the year, and chef of the year.
The French is also nominated for front of house team of the year, which celebrates restaurants that go that extra mile in terms of service – where customers can rely on an experience that makes them feel special, from greeting to departure.
Other dining destinations with multiple nominations include Stockport’s Where The Light Gets In, which last year won newcomer of the year and is this year shortlisted in categories including restaurant of the year, premium and fine dining restaurant of the year, out of town venue of the year, and chef of the year for Sam Buckley.
The newcomer of the year recognises restaurants that have opened in the last year, and it’s been another bumper year.
There are the high-profile openings such as 20 Stories, Aiden Byrne’s glamorous restaurant with views in Spinningfields, and Randall & Aubin, the seafood restaurant which opened last year on Bridge Street following the success of its branch in London’s Soho.
Other restaurants shortlisted for best newcomer include Wood, MasterChef winner Simon Wood’s restaurant on First Street, which is also nominated for its friendly front of house team. Elencot in burgeoning Ancoats, The Creameries on Wilbraham Road, and Blanchflower in Altrincham (where we recently had a superb Sunday lunch) also get the nod.
It’s not all fine dining, either. Indian street food favourites Bundobust (which last year won the prestigious restaurant of the year award), Albert’s Schloss and Elnecott will compete with Levanter in Ramsbottom and Sugo and Porta in Altrincham for casual restaurant of the year. Bundobust and Elnecot are also shortlisted in the best vegetarian offering of the year category.
The affordable eats of the year category, last year won by Rudy’s Neapolitan Pizza, recognise the places where you can get a main meal and drink for under £10. Shortlisted venues include Polish restaurant Platzki as well as Lord of the Pies in Chorlton and Fusion Lab in the Arndale.
Fried chicken purveyors Firebird Hope based in the Hatch development are up for the street food award this year, alongside Yadda Yadda, Oh Mei Dumplings, Nasi Lemak, Wholesome Junkies (recently seen on BBC2’s Million Pound Menu series) and El Marchador Tacos.
Cafe Beermoth, Port Street Beerhouse, Bay Horse Tavern, Trackside Bar in Bolton and Heaton Hops in Stockport are nominated for pub/beer bar of the year, along with the unique Stalybridge Station Buffet Bar, an original Victorian train station buffet bar dating from 1885. The Marble Arch won the category last year.
In terms of bars, Cottonopolis, Science & Industry, sherry bar Flok, Hawksmoor (whose restaurant is also nominated in the premium and fine dining category), Albert’s Schloss and Patron will vie for the best bar title, won last year by The Refuge.
The awards cover food and drink retail as well as restaurants. Lunya, with its superb Spanish and Catalan deli in the Barton Arcade, is nominated for food and drink retailer of the year, along with Italian favourites Salvi’s in the Corn Exchange.
Other retail venues nominated include acclaimed bakery Pollen, Epicerie Ludo on Beech Road, Grape to Grain in Prestwich and Mettrick’s butchers in Glossop. Ancoats General Store picked up the title last year.
The full list of award nominations will be posted on the MFDF website from 27th June and the public can then vote for their favourites. Voting closes at midnight on Thursday 27th September.