The Manchester Food and Drink Festival (MFDF) is back, taking place in Albert Square until the 8th October. The 2018 festival is the 21st annual event and in the past it has drawn names such as Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsay, Fergus Henderson, Michel Roux, John Torode and even Bill Wyman!
This year has drawn one of my favourite chefs, Simon Wood, who you may have heard of as he was the former MasterChef champion. Simon owns restaurant ‘Wood’ which can be found at First Street in Manchester and I’ll soon be doing a blog on this place!
The ‘Food and drink village’ set up in Albert Square holds a variety of food stalls, bars and live music. But there is more to MFDF then just the village. As an example, you are able to book 3 course meals at some of Manchester’s favourite spots and even go to a 4 hour gin tasting session. I’ve included the link to the MFDF website at the bottom of this blog so you can view any events you may want to attend.
I’ll start with ‘Diamond Dogs’ who serve hot dogs, dirty fries and tater tots, all loaded with your favourite toppings.
Hot dogs available:
- Dog standard (Smoked pork hot dog with slow cooked buttered onion in a soft brioche roll) – Smoked Tofu dog as a veggie option – £5
- Chilli Cheese Dog (Hot dog topped with braised featherblade beef chilli, homemade nacho cheese sauce & jalapenos) – £7
- The Boss Dog (Hot dog topped with proper smoked pulled pork, BBQ sauce and homemade chipotle mustard) – £7
- The Duck Dog (Smoked pork hot dog topped with confit duck, peanut crumb, spring onion and hoi sin sauce) – £7.50
Dirty Fries available:
- Fries and garlic mayo – £3
- Fries and nacho cheese sauce – £4
- Fries, chilli beef and nacho cheese sauce – £6
- Fries, pulled pork and BBQ sauce – £6
- Fries with duck and hoi sin sauce – £6.50
Tater Tots (mini golden hash brown nuggets) available:
- Tater tots with parmesan and garlic salt – £4
- Tater tots and cheese sauce – £5
- Tater tots with hoisin duck and spring onion – £7
- Tater tots with beef chilli con carne and cheese sauce – £6
- Tater tots with pulled pork, BBQ sauce and crispy onions – £6
From all of the options, I decided to choose the Boss Dog and the tater tots with pulled pork, BBQ sauce and crispy onions.
I would definitely recommend the tater tots if you are going to try anything from Diamond Dogs. The tater tots were certainly the overall winner for me. The dog was great too, extremely messy as expected but I’m going to see if I can get back before the 8th to try ‘The Duck Dog’ as I was really close to getting this.
If you follow GRUB, you’ve probably come across ‘The Ottö-Men’, serving contemporary Ottoman and Mediterranean food.
The special of the day was:
- Gheimeh & Ottö Wada (Middle Eastern mixed lentil stew, with a dumpling of spinach, potato and chickpeas in a crispy persian batter and Manchester blackpea falafel) – £6.50
Ottö ‘Insane’ Wraps available:
- Musakhan chicken, falafel and halloumi – £8.50
- Falafel, halloumi or both – £7.50
Other than the special and wraps, there was mezze on offer:
- Your choice of mezze, served with ottö garnish, homemade sauces, locally baked khoubz and a cheeky pickle – 5 choice – £7.50 / 9 choice – £9.50
- Egyptian chicken
- MFDF falafel
- Ottö wada
- Golden broadbean hummus
- Bulgar mujadara
- Mousakha yogurtlia
- Esme salsa
- Ottö Karasik
- Ottö spiced halloumi
- Home roasted olives
Amy chose the Mezze option with 5 extras
Amy: “Both my mum and I love Mediterranean style cooking, so when we saw the Ottö-Men it was an easy choice. At first we considered sharing the mezze, but we opted for the Ottö-men ‘insane’ wrap with Egyptian chicken for my mum and I went for the 5 choice mezze. After trying both, I would fully recommend the mezze. I chose the hummus & flatbread, falafel, fried halloumi, Egyptian chicken and Ottö wada. My only complaint would be that although the chicken was really tasty it was quite fatty, so next time I would probably opt for a fully vegetarian option. However, the falafel was delicious so I would get a double portion next time and the same with the halloumi.”
If you thought we would be full by now, you’re wrong. Sweet options were yet to be tested.
Firstly, we wanted to try the freshly made churros on offer, which are also vegan friendly.
- Regular churros (6 churros and a pot of chocolate) – £4
- Large churros (9 churros and a pot of chocolate) – £6
Of course we went for the large portion. My only negative would be the portion size of the chocolate as I felt they could have been more generous with this. Despite this, the churros still tasted great!
We didn’t stop here either, crêpes were next. I won’t go through the sweet options as you can probably imagine what was on offer. However, I thought the savoury crêpe options were particularly interesting, including an eggs benedict, eggs florentine and pizza option.
This was the banoffee crêpe (Banana, toffee sauce, biscuit, milk chocolate and cream, with added white chocolate) – £6
I personally wouldn’t get cream again and I think the crêpe was slightly overdone too. So overall, I would recommend the churros for dessert.
I haven’t been able to cover everything here as it’d definitely take more than one visit to try everything. However, MFDF are kind enough to offer the following overviews of the remaining street food vendors: http://foodanddrinkfestival.com/festival-hub/street-food/
Please note the majority of options I have covered are due to change on the 3rd October. So if you want to get your hands on anything I have written about, you need to act quickly. Otherwise, follow the link above to see some of the upcoming street food vendors you’ll be able to try. I’m definitely going to be back after the 3rd to try some of the new options so I’ll keep you updated on my food channel @massey_eats.
Address: Albert Square, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M60 2LA
Open until: 8th October