7 October 2018 by Neil Sowerby

IT was the year when Adam Reid at The French re-established itself at the forefront of the Manchester dining scene. Four AA rosettes, No.13 in the Good Food Guide Top 50 and cause of widespread exasperation when a justified Michelin star didn’t come its way.

Consolation came in the form of a double whammy at the 21st Manchester Food and Drink Awards, scooping Restaurant of The Year and Premium and Fine Dining Venue of the Year. And could there have been a more spectacular Gala Dinner venue for Manchester-born Adam to collect his awards – Gorton Monastery (pictured) 

Ramsbottom’s Spanish/Basque duo, Levanter and Baratxuri also continued their serial gong gathering. Co-owner Joe Botham accepted the Casual Restaurant of the Year award for Levanter, while his chef at Baratxuri, Rachel Stockley won Chef of the Year afater a year in which her efforts made its new Comedor dining room an essential foodie destination. Last year the tiny pintxos bar won both Best Casual and Out of Town, after Levanter won that same category (then called Best Neighbourhood Restaurant) the previous year.

There was also a double triumph for Chorlton’s groundbreaking The Creameries (Best Newcomer and Sustainable Award) while Port Street Beer House winning the refreshed category of Pub/Beer Bar of The Year confirmed the craft beer switch away from traditional pubs. Experimental hideaway Science and Industry winning Bar of the Year also trumpeted the excellence of the city’s cutting edge cocktail scene.

The shortlisted venues across 18 categories were nominated for an award by the MFDF judging panel, comprised of the region’s leading food and drink experts and critics. The public then voted for their favourites via the website www.foodanddrinkfestival/awards.  The public votes were combined with scores from the judging panel obtained via 'mystery shopping' visits.

The dinner, hosted by the BBC’s Becky Want and XS Radio’s Matty White (above), was the culmination of the most successful Manchester Food and Drink Festival yet, attracting record visitor numbers to the free Festival Hub on Albert Square. 

The Gala Dinner was attended by the foremost talent in the hospitality industry as well as a plethora of celebs including Coronation Street’s Sair Kahn, Mikey North and Victoria Ekanoye,; The Smiths’ Mike Joyce, XS Radio’s Clint Boon and acclaimed actor Ian Puleston-Davies. 

Festival Founding Director Phil Jones said: “The 21st MFDF was a fabulous success this year. The awards are the culmination of the event and really celebrate the food and drink talent that is thriving within the Greater Manchester scene. All the categories were very strong this year and reflect the high standards that are abundant in the city’s hospitality industry.  The winners should be immensely proud, as should the nominees”

And the winners are...

RESTAURANT OF THE YEAR (sponsored by Caterer.com)

Winner: Adam Reid at The French

Shortlisted: Adam Reid at The French, The Rabbit in the Moon, Where The Light Gets In, Umezushi, Sugo, Levanter. Last year’s winner: Bundobust.


Winner: Adam Reid at The French

Shortlisted: Adam Reid at The French, The Rabbit in Moon, Where The Light Gets In, Umezushi, Hawksmoor, Grafene, Last year’s winner: El Gato Negro.

CASUAL RESTAURANT OF THE YEAR (sponsored by Manchester Confidential)

Winner: Levanter, Ramsbottom

Shortlisted: Bundobust, Sugo, Porta, Albert’s Schloss, Elnecot, Levanter, Last year’s winner: Baratxuri.

CHEF OF THE YEAR (sponsored by Stephenson's)

Winner: Rachel Stockley, Baratxuri

Shortlisted: Adam Reid (The French), Sam Buckley (Where The Light Gets In), Richard Sharples (Hispi), Ben Mounsey (Grafene), Omar Rodriguez Marrero (Umezushi), Rachel Stockley (Baratxuri). Last year’s winner: Matthew Nutter (Allotment Vegan Restaurant)

NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR (sponsored by the Manchester Evening News)

Winner: The Creameries, Chorlton

Shortlisted: Elnecot, WOOD, 20 Stories, Randall and Aubin, The Creameries, Blanchflower. Last year’s winner: Where The Light Gets In.

AFFORDABLE EATS VENUE OF THE YEAR (sponsored by Taste of Manchester)

Winner: Mi and Pho

Shortlisted: Lupo Caffé Italiano, Platzki, Eat New York, Lord of the Pies, Mi and Pho, Fusion Lab. Last year’s winner: Rudy’s Pizza. 

COFFEE SHOP/TEA SHOP OF THE YEAR (sponsored by Gorton Monastery)

Winner: Pot Kettle Black

Shortlisted: Ancoats Coffee, Idle Hands, Takk, Pot Kettle Black, Ezra and Gil, Fig and Sparrow. Last year’s winner: Trove. 

BAR OF THE YEAR (sponsored by Double Dutch)

Winner: Science and Industry

Shortlisted: Cottonopolis, Science and Industry, Hawksmoor, Flok, Albert’s Schloss, The Patron. Last year’s winner: The Refuge. 

FRONT OF HOUSE TEAM OF THE YEAR (sponsored by Boutinot Wines)

Winner: 20 Stories

Shortlisted: Piccolino, WOOD, 20 Stories, The Rabbit in the Moon, Adam Reid at The French, Hispi. Last year’s winner: Hawksmoor.

PUB/BEER BAR OF THE YEAR (sponsored by Carlsberg)

Winner: Port Street Beer House

Shortlisted: Stalybridge Station Buffet Bar, Café Beermoth, Trackside Bar, Heaton Hops, The Bay Horse Tavern, Port Street Beer House. Last year’s winner: Marble Arch, Manchester.

VEGETARIAN OFFERING (sponsored by Quorn)

Winner: Lily’s, Ashton-under-Lyne

Shortlisted: Bundobust, Indian Tiffin Room, Lily’s, Chaat Cart, Elnecot, Amma’s Canteen. Last year’s winner: The Allotment Vegan Restaurant.

OUT OF TOWN VENUE OF THE YEAR (sponsored by R. Noone & Sons)

Winner: Where The Light Gets In, Stockport

Shortlisted: Where The Light Gets In, The Allotment Vegan Restaurant, Sugo, Porta, Levanter, The Creameries. Last year’s winner: Baratxuri.

POP-UP, EVENT OR PROJECT (sponsored by Manchester's Finest)

Winner: Hatch

Shortlisted: Hatch,Ancoats Food Assembly, Into the Gathering Dusk, Hyssop, Manchester Beer Week, Stockport Foodie Friday. Last year’s winner: GRUB.

FOOD AND DRINK RETAILER OF THE YEAR (sponsored by XS Manchester)

Winner: Pollen Bakery

Shortlisted: Pollen, Lunya. Epicerie Ludo, Salvi’s, Mettrick’s Butchers, Grape to Grain. Last year’s winner: Ancoats General Store.

STREET FOOD TRADER OF THE YEAR (sponsored by the Butcher's Quarter)

Winner: Oh Mei Dumplings

Shortlisted: Firebird Hope, Yadda Yadda, Oh Mei Dumplings, Nasi Lemak, Wholesome Junkies, El Marchador Tacos. Last year’s winner: Hip Hop Chip Shop. 


Winner: Marble

Shortlisted: Beatnikz Republic, Wander Beyond, Pomona Island Brew Co, Runaway, Marble, Track Brewing. Last year’s winner: Cloudwater.


Winner: Jeremy Roberts

Last year’s winners: Joel Wilkinson and Adelaide Winters of Trof Group.


Winner: The Creameries, Chorlton