• Michelin star heaven for Mana and four MFDF Awards too!

Michelin star heaven for Mana and four MFDF Awards too!

7 October 2019 by Neil Sowerby

IT’S the greatest Grand Slam in the history of the Manchester Food and Drink Awards (and this is the 22nd). Not only did Mana, open for less than a year in Ancoats, win Best Newcomer it also scooped Premium and Fine Dining Restaurant of the Year, overall Restaurant of the Year and Chef of the Year title for its creator, Simon Martin.

Oh and, in passing, earlier in the day they won Manchester's first Michelin star in 40 years! Simon is pictured below receiving his award at the awards ceremony at the Hurlingham Club, London. His brigade were out in force at the Gala Dinner for what turned into a procession of stage appearances.

Taste of Manchester is happy to be along for the meteoric rise. Early inside its 10 month existence we gave it a five star review and subsequent visits have been even more impressive. 

The rest of the 2019 awards were further testimony to the city’s vibrant food and drink scene. A total of 18 gongs were dished out in the spectacular surroundings of Gorton Monastery. 

There were two new categories – Artisan Drinks Producer of the Year and Vegan Offering of the Year. The Artisan Drinks award recognises the explosion of innovative and exciting independent drinks producers starting up right here in the region. Jen Wiggins and Seb Heeley’s Manchester Gin, who have just opened a stunning new distillery/bar/restaurant complex in the city centre, were deserved winners.

Vegan Offering of the Year has replaced MFDF’s previous Vegetarian Award. This revised category reflects Manchester’s commitment and dynamism in the plant-based eating scene (reflected in a full day takeover the Cathedral Gardens Hub). Inaugural winners Amma’s Canteen from Chorlton continued a rich Asian tradition in non meat/dairy cooking.

The rise of Ancoats is further mirrored in The Jane Eyre (below) winning Bar of the Year, Sugo Pasta Kitchen the Casual Restaurant category and Pollen Bakery Best Coffee House.

And the full list of winners is...

RESTAURANT OF THE YEAR (sponsored by Caterer.com)

Winner: Mana

Overall award chosen from the shortlists for Premium & Fine Dining and Casual Restaurant of the Year shortlists. Last year’s winner: Adam Reid at The French.


Winner: Mana

Shortlisted: Hawksmoor, Mana, restaurant MCR, Tast Catala, Umezushi, Where The Light Gets In. Last year’s winner: Adam Reid at The French.

CASUAL RESTAURANT OF THE YEAR (sponsored by Manchester Confidential)

Winner: Sugo Pasta Kitchen

Shortlisted: Bundobust, Canto, Cocktail Beer Ramen + Bun, Dishoom, Rudy’s Pizza, Sugo Pasta Kitchen. Last year’s winner: Levanter Fine Foods.

CHEF OF THE YEAR (sponsored by Stephenson's)

Winner: Simon Martin, Mana

Shortlisted: Sam Buckley (Where The Light Gets In), Aiden Byrne (restaurant MCR), Omar Rodriguez Marrero (Umezushi), Simon Martin (Mana), Adam Reid (The French), Miquel Villacrosa (Tast Catala). Last year’s winner: Rachel Stockley (Baratxuri)

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

Winner: Mana

Shortlisted: Dishoom, Erst, Kala Bistro, Mana, Tast Catala, The Fisherman’s Table. Last year’s winner: The Creameries, Chorlton.


Winner: Rudy’s Pizza, Peter Street

Shortlisted: Baratxuri, LIly’s Indian Vegetarian Cuisine, Rudy’s Pizza Ancoats, Siop Shop, The Spärrows, YES. Last year’s winner: Mi and Pho. 

COFFEE SHOP OF THE YEAR (sponsored by Gorton Monastery)

Winner: Pollen Bakery

Shortlisted: Ezra and Gil, Federal Cafe Bar, Pollen Bakery, Siop Shop, Trove Ancoats. Last year’s winner: Pot Kettle Black. 

BAR OF THE YEAR (sponsored by JJ Whitley)

Winner: The Jane Eyre

Shortlisted: Cocktail Beer Ramen + Bun, Hawksmoor, Henry C, Speak In Code, The Jane Eyre, YES. Last year’s winner: Science and Industry. 

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

Winner: Hawksmoor

Shortlisted: Adam Reid at The French, Dishoom, Erst, Hawksmoor, Mana, Tast Catala. Last year’s winner: 20 Stories.

PUB/BEER BAR OF THE YEAR (sponsored by Camden Town Brewery)

Winner: sandbar

Shortlisted: Bunbury’s, Cask Ancoats, Reasons To Be Cheerful, sandbar, The Flying Horse Hotel, The Magnet. Last year’s winner: Port Street Beer House.

VEGAN OFFERING OF THE YEAR (sponsored by R Noone and Son)

Winner: Amma’s Canteen, Chorlton

Shortlisted: Amma’s Canteen, Bundobust, Dishoom, Evelyn’s Café Bar, Foodwell, Plant Powered Sundays at GRUB. Last year’s winner (of vegetarian offer): Lily’s Ashton-under-Lyne.


Winner: Lily’s Indian Vegetarian, Ashton under Lyne

Shortlisted: Baratxuri, Lily’s Indian Vegetarian Cuisine, Porta Tapas Salford, The Creameries, The Fisherman’s Table, The Oystercatcher. Last year’s winner: Where The Light Gets In.

FOODIE EVENT OR PROJECT (sponsored by Taste of Manchester)

Winner: GRUB

Shortlisted: Auction Against Hunger, GRUB, Indy Man Beer Con, Festa Italiana, Stockport Foodie Friday, SURPLUS! @ Beer Nouveau. Last year’s winner: Hatch.

FOOD AND DRINK RETAILER OF THE YEAR (sponsored by Lamb and Watt)

Winner: Unicorn Grocery, Chorlton

Shortlisted: Lunya, HM Pasties, Out of the Blue, Taste IT, Unicorn Grocery, Wong Wong Bakery. Last year’s winner: Pollen Bakery.


Winner: Grandad’s Sausages

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


Winner: Manchester Gin

Shortlisted: Beatnikz Republic Brewing Co, Diablesse Rum, Manchester Gin, Manchester Union Lager Brewery Ltd, Steep Soda, Track Brewing Co. New category.


Winner: Thom Hetherington (Holden Media, NRB founder)

Last year’s winner: Jeremy Roberts.

SUSTAINABILITY AWARD (sponsored by Sustainable Restaurant Association).

Winner: Chancellors Hotel

Stars come out for the Awards

It was a star-studded Gala Dinner at Gorton Monastery. Presenting Foodie Event or Project of the Year was talented actor and jazz singer, also known as Coronation Street’s accountant Angie Appleton, Victoria Ekanoye. 

The Sustainability award was presented Sair Khan, who joined the cast of Coronation Street in June 2014 playing the role of Alya Nazir, recently seen swapping the cobbles for the jungle in I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here.  

Bar of the Year was presented by acclaimed actor/writer, Ian Puleston-Davies. After a long stint in Canada filming two series of Sky’s Tin Star, he is currently appearing in ITV drama, Confession, and also starring in Warner Bros latest smash hit TV series, Pennyworth. 

The shortlist was decided by the MFDF judging panel that includes the region's leading food and drink experts. The nominations for each category were posted on the MFDF website where the public voted for their favourite and those votes were combined with scores from the panel obtained via mystery visits.