22 June 2019 by Neil Sowerby

MANCHESTER International Festival has announced the full food and drink line-up for Festival Square and it’s a work of art in itself.

Throughout this year’s festival (Friday July 5-Sunday July 22) that hub in Albert Square will  be place to check out an exciting free programme of live music, DJs, special events and to pick up Festival info and tickets. But it’s worth a visit just for the eclectic street food offering available from noon until late. 

Honest Crust The finest sourdough, wood-fired pizzas and summer salads from these Mackie Mayor and Altrincham Market favourites. Our topping tip? The one with Trealy Farm salami, tomato, mozzarella and basil. Watch out too for a special MIF collaboration pizza with Ramsbottom Spanish specialists Levanter that features romesco, chickpea, spinach, egg and Mahòn cheese. @honestcrustsourdoughpizza

Kala Gary Usher’s new King Street bistro Kala is making the short journey to showcase signature treats such as ToM-rated truffle and parmesan chips (above); chickpea panisse, harissa yoghurt and rocket; beetroot and goat’s cheese salad with sticky walnuts; braised pork shoulder, salsa verde with Israeli couscous; and dark chocolate mousse with salted caramel and honeycomb. @kala_bistro_manchester

Manjit's Kitchen Indian veggie and vegan snacks, all inspired by Manjit's grandmother's recipes. The award-winning team (Best Street Food at BBC Food and Farming Awards) will be serving up their much loved chilli paneer wrap as well as bhel puri, bhajis and their Mumbai burger, Vada Pav. @manjitskitchenuk

Firebird Hope Originally a favourite at food and drink destination Hatch, and now a resident at one of Manchester’s hottest venues, YES, Firebird Hope serve up tasty free-range chicken, and vegan ‘chckn’ burgers. They’ll be creating a special Festival Square menu with free-range chicken thigh and homemade seitan. @_firebird_hope

All the above will be based inside a unique structure – The Barn, a covered space with rustic wooden beams.

Idle Hands Coffee These indie coffee experts (and Manchester Food and Drink Awards Coffee Shop of the Year nominees) will be hosting MIF’s first full-time coffee residency. They'll be serving up fresh coffee every day and espresso martinis by night using their own home-made coffee liqueur. The team's famous tray bakes and vegan cherry pie will also be on the menu. @idlehandscoffee 

Ginger’s Comfort Emporium Inventive ices will be served up from creator Claire Kelsey’s trademark van. Ice cream crusader Claire has also whipped up some special MIF19 inspired flavours drawing on her favourite Director David Lynch, whose work is one of the festival highlights… Look out for Bob’s Big Boy Chocolate Shake with Blue Velvet Cake. @gingerscomfort

Paul Heathcote & Friends The legendary Lancashire chef and and long-time MIF catering collaborator, has curated a series of Supper Clubs and Lazy Lunches in Festival Square’s intimate Glass House.

At the Lazy Lunches four of the finest chefs in the North West are teaming up to create and cook an exclusive MIF menu of four fantastic courses, all served over a relaxed two-and-a-half-hour setting on Saturday, July 13, Sunday 14 and Saturday 20, starting at 12.30pm. The chef dream team is Paul himself; Steven Doherty, first Briton to become head chef of a three-Michelin-star restaurant at Le Gavroche;Mary- Ellen McTague, once of Aumbry, latterly at The Creameries Chorlton; and Great British Menu-winning Adam Reid, chef-patron at the French (Sat 13 & Sun 14 only). 

The hugely popular Supper Clubs are returning too, with six acclaimed chefs cooking exclusive menus in the Glass House on Festival Square, including Mark Birchall, whose Moor Hall has just been named Best Restaurant in the UK at the National Restaurant Awards. Both Lazy Lunches and Supper Clubs are sold out. 

A heady combination of culture and street food can raise a thirst, so step forward Festival Square's official drinks supplier, local family brewery JW Lees.

They are also collaborating with Manchester Gin to create an exclusive Festival Brew. This beer is inspired by the complex flavour profiles of the gin. Result a citrusy pale ale which captures the signature botanicals. It will be on sale at JW Lees MIF Bar throughout the Festival. @jwleesbrewery

The bar will also be serving another special beer brewed as part of MIF’s commission, Drunk Pandemic. It bears the off-putting title, Chim↑Pom Craft: Asiatic Cholera. The Manchester cholera epidemic of the 1830s is the unlikely inspiration for the first UK project by Japanese art collective Chim↑Pom.  At a time when thousands were buried in huge cholera pits around what is now Victoria Station and Angel Meadows, the people of Manchester were advised to drink only beer to avoid the infected water. Chim↑Pom are building a temporary brewery in the tunnels beneath Victoria Station and holding tours of this secret venue as well as special events and more to be revealed.

Manchester International Festival runs from July 4-21. For more information visit mif.co.uk.