IT was the year Veganism and Stockport came of age at the Manchester Food and Drink Awards, climaxing the 20th annual Manchester Food and Drink Festival.
Restaurant of the Year went to city centre Bundobust for its inspired combination of plant-based Indian street food and craft beer, its Piccadilly basement setting reflecting the trend towards more casual dining.
Chef of the year is Matthew Nutter, a reward for his truly innovative transformation of vegan cuisine at Stockport’s equally casual Allotment, which also won in the Vegetarian Restaurant category.
Two minutes’ walk away from Allotment, Sam Buckley’s Where The Light Gets In scooped Best Newcomer after an amazing first few months which saw this challenging dining experience given five stars by both The Guardian and The Sunday Times.
Long before Stockport, Ramsbottom was flying the flag for culinary brilliance beyond Manchester city centre. Joe Botham, whose Levanter won Best Neighbourhood Restaurant in 2016, has been upping the game at the adjacent pintxos bar Baratxuri, installing a traditional Spanish oven in the new Comedor dining room. It has paid off with a double triumph this time – winning Casual Restaurant of the Year and Best Out of Town Venue.
Spanish food continues to dominate our dining expectations. Last year’s Best Newcomer El Gato Negro, in the city centre, is 2017 Premium and Fine Dining Venue of the Year. The rise of our beer scene shows no sign of losing its momentum either and it’s fitting that internationally acclaimed Cloudwater should be the winner of the new Best Brewery category.
Bar of the Year was the spectacular Refuge inside The Principal Hotel, whose equally spectacular Ballroom was the setting for the 2017 Awards, hosted by the BBC's Becky Want and Matt White of XS Radio and Fodder. Three new categories swelled the number of awards on offer to 20, reflecting the 20th anniversary of MFDF and the remarkable recent ascendancy of the city’s food and drink culture.
The dinner was the culmination of the most successful Festival yet, attracting more than 100,000 visitors to the free Festival Hub on Albert Square. Below is the full honours list:
Restaurant of The Year
Winner: Bundobust, Manchester
Shortlisted: Adam Reid at The French, The Rabbit in the Moon, Where The Light Gets In, Umezushi, Bundobust, Sugo (last year’s winner: Hawksmoor). Sponsored by caterer.com.
Premium and Fine Dining Venue of the Year
Winner: El Gato Negro, Manchester
Shortlisted: Adam Reid at The French, The Rabbit in the Moon, Where The Light Gets In, Umezushi, Hawksmoor,El Gato Negro (last year’s winner: The French). Sponsored by Bookatable.
Casual Restaurant of the Year
Winner: Baratxuri, Ramsbottom
Shortlisted: Bundobust, Rudys, Sugo, Baratxuri, Porta, Hispi (last year’s winner: Volta).
Newcomer of the Year
Winner: Where The Light Gets In, Stockport
Shortlisted: Bundobust, Where The Light Gets In, Hispi, Refuge, Porta, The Rabbit in the Moon (last year’s winner: El Gato Negro). Sponsored by the Manchester Evening News.
Chef of the Year
Winner: Matthew Nutter, Stockport
Shortlisted: Adam Reid, Sam Buckley, Luke Cockerill, Matt Nutter, Richard Sharples, Aiden Byrne (last year’s winner: Terry Huang).
Pub of the Year
Winner: Marble Arch, Manchester
Shortlisted: Blue Bell,Mounting Stone, Samuel Oldknow, The Magnet, Marble Arch, The Parlour (last year’s winner: Smithfield Tavern).
Food Pub of the Year
Winner: The Clarence, Bury
Shortlisted: White Hart, Bird at Birtle, Marble Arch, Hearth of the Ram, Oddfellows, The Clarence (last year’s winner: Eagle and Child). Sponsored by R Noone and Sons
Bar of the Year
Winner: The Refuge by Volta, Manchester
Shortlisted: The Refuge by Volta, Cottonopolis, Science and Industry, Common, Henry C’s, Salut (last year’s winner: Albert’s Schloss). Sponsored by Fever-Tree
Craft Ale Bar of the Year
Winner: Port Street Beer House, Manchester
Shortlisted: Cafe Beermoth, The Pilcrow, Cloudwater Barrel Store, Bock Biere Café, Port Street Beer House, Bundobust (last year’s winner: Heaton Hops).
Best Out of Town Venue of the Year
Winner: Baratxuri, Ramsbottom
Shortlisted: Hispi, Where The Light Gets In, The Allotment Vegan Restaurant, Sugo, Porta, Baratxuri (last year’s winner: Levanter).
Coffee Shop/Tea Shop of the Year
Winner: Trove, Levenshulme
Shortlisted: Another Heart to Feed, Ancoats Coffee,Trove, Idle Hands, Lupo Caffè Italiano, Takk (last year’s winner: Pot Kettle Black).
Affordable Eats Venue of the Year
Winner: Rudy’s Pizza, Manchester
Shortlisted: Lupo Caffè Italiano, Bundobust, Rudy’s Pizza, Pasta Factory, Seoul Kimchi, Fusion Lab (last year’s winner: Northern Soul Grilled Cheese). Sponsored by Just Eat.
Food and Drink Retailer of the Year
Winner: Ancoats General Store, Manchester
Shortlisted: Pollen Bakery, Reserve Wines, Lunya, Easy Fish Co, Ancoats General Store, Epicerie Ludo (last year’s winner: Salvi’s).
Vegetarian Offering of the Year
Winner: The Allotment Vegan Restaurant, Stockport
Shortlisted: Bundobust, The Allotment Vegan Restaurant, V Rev, Indian Tiffin Room,Manchester House, Sanskruti (new category).
Brewery of the Year
Winner: Cloudwater, Manchester
Shortlisted: Cloudwater, Blackjack, Runaway, Chorlton Brewing Co, Marble, Track (new category).
Pop Up, Event or Project of the Year
Winner: GRUB, Manchester
Shortlisted: GRUB, Not Just Soup,Real Junk Food, Scrancoats,Indie Man Beer Con,Makers Market (last year’s winner: Stockport Foodie Friday).
Front of House Team of the Year
Winner: Hawksmoor, Manchester
Shortlisted: Umezushi, Piccolino, Hawksmoor, Umezushi, Piccolino, Albert’s Schloss, Tattu, Iberica (ast year’s winner: The French). Sponsored by Springboard.
Best Street Food
Winner: Hip Hop Chip Shop, Manchester
Shortlisted: Hip Hop Chip Shop, Crab Otto Men,Dim Sum Su,Blue Caribou,Oh My Glaze (last year’s winner: Chaat Cart).
Best Sustainability Award
Evuna, Manchester and Knutsford (new category)
The Howard and Ruth Award for Outstanding Achievement
Joel and Adelaide Wilkinson (last year’s winner: John Slattery).