Last night, the Manchester Food and Drink awards took place with 16 award winners announced across the Greater Manchester region.
Each of the shortlists was created by the MFDF judging panel in advance, before being put to a public vote.
Usually, there is also a “mystery shopping” element to the awards where judges also go and visit venues in person – but this did not take place this year due to the pandemic.
At the closing finale to a record-breaking year for MFDF, more than 450 nominees from the region’s hospitality industry came together at The Ticket Hall at Freight Island to celebrate as this year’s winners were announced.
Keep reading to discover who took home what.
Awards categories and nominations:
Restaurant of the Year
Shortlisted: The Sparrows, Adam Reid at The French, Baratxuri, Erst, Hawksmoor, Mana, Street Urchin, Where The Light Gets In
Newcomer of the Year
Sponsored by the Manchester Evening News
Shortlisted: District, Open Kitchen MCR, Osma, Pho Cue, Schofield’s Bar, Society, The Moor, Ramona
Bar of the Year
Winner: Albert’s Schloss
Shortlisted: Henry C, Kiosk, Schofield’s Bar, Speak In Code, The Blues Kitchen, The Jane Eyre, Three Little Words, Albert’s Schloss
Chef of the Year
Winner: Rachel Stockley, Baratxuri
Shortlisted: Adam Reid (The French), Eddie Shepherd (The Walled Gardens), Mary-Ellen McTague (The Creameries), Patrick Withington (Erst), Sam Buckley (WTLGI), Simon Martin (Mana), Terry Huang (Umezushi), Rachel Stockley (Baratxuri)
Pub or craft ale bar of the Year
Winner: Edinburgh Castle
Shortlisted: Beatnikz Republic, Cob and Coal, Heaton Hops, Nordie, Reasons to be Cheerful, Society, Stalybridge Buffet Bar
Artisan food producer of the Year
Winner: Pollen Bakery
Shortlisted: Manchester Smokehouse, Bread Flower, Companio Bakery, Holy Grain Sourdough, Gooey, Just Natas, Lily’s Deli, Pollen Bakery
Pop up / Project of the Year
Winner: Escape to Freight Island
Shortlisted: Eat Well MCR, Grub, Homeground, Kampus Summer Guest Events, Platt Fields Market, Homeground, One Central, MIF Festival, Escape to Freight Island
Neighbourhood venue of the Year
Sponsored by the Roomzzz Aparthotels
Shortlisted: Bar San Juan, Levanter, Erst, The Fisherman’s Tale, Porta, Oystercatcher, Stretford Food Hall, Lily’s
Food Trader of the Year
Winner: Wholesome Junkies
Shortlisted: Abeja Tapas Bar, Archchi’s, Gooey, Honest Crust, Pico’s Tacos, Maison Breizh, Tender Cow, Wholesome Junkies
Affordable Eats of the Year
Shortlisted: Abeja Tapas Bar, Chapati Cafe, Ca Phe Viet, Little Yeti, Lily’s, Mi & Pho, Platt Fields Market Garden, Rudy’s Pizza
Coffee Shop of the Year
Shortlisted: Another Heart to Feed, Ancoat’s Coffee, Ezra & Gil, Grindsmith, Grapefruit, Just Between Friends, Pollen Bakery, Federal
Foodie Neighbourhood of the Year
Shortlisted: Heaton Moor, Prestwich, Ramsbottom, Sale, Stockport, Stretford, Urmston, Altrincham
Veggie / Vegan Offering of the Year
Shortlisted: Eddie Shepherd, Four Side Pizza, Herbivorous, Lily’s, Sanskruti, Wholesome Junkies, Vertigo, Bundobust
Independent Drinks Producer of the Year
Winner: Manchester Gin
Shortlisted: Bundobust, Cloudwater Brewery, Diablesse, Hip Pop (formerly Booch & Brew), Northern Monkey, Steep Soda, Pomona Island, Manchester Gin
Food and Drink Retailer of the Year
Winner: Store Group
Shortlisted: The Butcher’s Quarter, Bernie’s Grocery Store, Grape to Grain, Isca Wines, Out of the Blue, Unicorn Grocery, Wandering Palate
Outstanding Achievement Award
Winner: Mital Morar (Store Group)
Feature image – MFDF
Ancoats restaurant publicly exposes ‘angry influencer’ after spat over free meal
A restaurant in Ancoats has publicly exposed an influencer (twice…) who tried to ask for a free meal in exchange for exposure.
Lucky Ramen, a tiny spot on Blossom Street that has had queues forming for its noodle soups and Asian brunches, has become embroiled in a spat with an unnamed social media star.
It all started yesterday when the restaurant went public with a message it had received, which was requesting a complimentary brunch in exchange for a post on Instagram.
Lucky Ramen shared the message and wrote that they were ‘thrilled you appreciate our food’ but that the team ‘appreciate paying customers even more’.
They described it as ‘another thrilling DM from a blue tick superstar asking for a free feast in exchange for an Insta post’.
Which was already dramatic enough, but the influencer in question has been quite cross that Lucky Ramen in Ancoats has taken a swipe at them publicly.
It appears they’ve followed up with a much less polite message, saying the independent business is ‘bang out of order’ for trying to expose them.
The influencer asked: “So you think people like us don’t deserve to eat for FREE???”
They argued that they were trying to promote the restaurant for free, offering ‘time, labour, effort and positive energy’ in exchange for the free meal as compensation.
The unnamed user then said: “Your arrogance makes me sick. Haha very funny, you got a couple of giggles but we’re the ones that are laughing.
“We go where we want, eat what we want and lastly – it’s all for free! WHOS LAUGHING NOW???”
Of course, Lucky Ramen hasn’t left that message in the DMs either, once again sharing screenshots on its Instagram page.
And they’ve chosen to smack the influencer with pure sarcasm in retaliation…
They wrote: “Dear angry influencer. Okay, aaalright… you got us! We’re truly sorry for attempting to uncover your behind-the-scenes tactics yesterday and, you know, us trying to make a living and sh*t.
“But hold on, the new message we just got deserves more than a standing ovation!
“This follow-up DM is a total game-changer, and guess what? We’re now rolling out the red carpet for all the free meals you desire. And that’s not all – our chefs are ready to part ways with their Crocs and Birkenstocks, throwing them in as an extra bonus for your tender love and labour! Even my dad’s medal of honour from the Japan war is up for grabs – he’s feeling generous the old geezer, and he’s even contemplating wheeling in his new eco-friendly hybrid wheelchair for you!
“Just hit us up with another DM, let us know when you’re swinging by to collect your well-deserved goodies, and don’t forget to leave a glowing 5-star review on both Google and TripAdvisor.
“We appreciate your understanding and, once again, sorry for the “inconvenience” we caused.
“Bon appétit + Arigato-the-f*ck-outta-here.”
Will the influencer reply again? Someone pass the popcorn.
‘Dangerous’ disqualified driver jailed after crashing into funfair in Wigan
A “dangerous” disqualified driver has been handed jail time after crashing into a funfair in Wigan last year.
Jordan O’Reilly, from Platt Bridge in Wigan, has been sentenced after pleading guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving, driving while disqualified, driving without insurance, perverting the course of justice, and failing to provide a specimen.
The 21-year-old was given three years behind bars following a trial at Bolton Crown Court yesterday (29 February).
O’Reilly’s sentencing comes after he crashed his vehicle into a funfair in Wigan while trying to evade a police pursuit back in October 2023.
#JAILED I A disqualified driver who led police on a chase and crashed into a crowded funfair in #Wigan has been jailed for 3 years
After failing to stop for a Greater Manchester Police (GMP) patrol, O’Reilly then drove in excess of the speed limit and overtook a number of vehicles, all before proceeding to abandon his own moving vehicle to escape.
The vehicle O’Reilly abandoned then carried on moving, and shockingly, ended up colliding with two members of the public at the funfair – with one woman sadly left with “serious injuries” as a result.
But thanks to the help of members of the public, O’Reilly was identified as the driver and later arrested by police.
A ‘dangerous’ disqualified driver has been jailed after crashing into funfair in Wigan / Credit: GMP
After he was released on bail, it was established that he had attempted to engage others into assisting him in evading prosecution.
Speaking following O’Reilly’s sentencing this week, PC Wood, of GMP Transport Unit, commented: “O’Reilly’s disregard to his driving disqualification and actions behind the wheel that day were reckless and dangerous, and he put countless people at risk of harm. The injuries caused to the victim show the consequences dangerous driving has on other people.
“GMP would like to thank the members of the public who ensured that O’Reilly faced justice for his actions.”
PC Wood also took a moment to remind the Greater Manchester public that if they know someone who is driving whist dangerously, or while disqualified or unfit to be doing so, then they should report it to GMP.