Want to get more involved in your city’s eating and drinking scene? The Real Junk Food Project at the Wonder Inn wants to build a whole restaurant from donations, while The Pilcrow is a volunteer-built “portable pub” that will move around NOMAville. The more cynical among you will note that these worthy community-based initiatives will allow the restauranteurs to take advantage of free labour and materials. (I’m launching a community-based writing and editing operation, if anyone wants to get involved please contact me for a list of essential supplies and preferred whiskey brands...) I think it depends whether they’re actually giving something back to the community and/or sharing the profits in some way. We shall see.
Do we have festival news? Of course we do. Festejar returns to Albert Square Sept 3-5 with Spanish food, wine and cultural events, followed swiftly by Manchester Food and Drink Festival 10-21 September, where you can try everything from Biospheric Project shroomburgers, churros and Ghanian food at the Festival Hub while enjoying live music on the CityLife stage. Other MFDF highlights include a £100 Simon Roganised tasting menu at The French, the always popular wine and beer festivals, and an appearance from Mexican cookery guru Thomasina Miers.
Speaking of Senora Miers, her Mexican chain Wahaca opens a restaurant 10 September in the Corn Exchange, which has already seen its first new arrival with The Cosy Club. A second Indian restaurant from Liverpool's Mowgli and another (another?) Byron Hamburgers open early September. Late September sees the arrival of Banyan from Yorkshire restaurant group Arc Inspirations and the expanded Salvi's and Tampopo. Early October brings Brazilian BBQ chain Cabana and Italian chain Vapiano. Yes, the place is going to have more chains than Mr. T. Still a couple of empty units and it’d be great to see them filled with independent operators, but we’re guessing price is the issue.
Elsewhere the Zanna Group, owners of Mughli, is taking over Superstore. The day-to-night joint on Tib Street will be their fourth restaurant and David Gale will be the chef with a menu described as "global brasserie." Home Sweet Home are opening a second location in the vast Great Northern unit vacated by Lucha Libre, which seems an odd choice for the NQ purveyors of twee comfort food. Let’s hope the next batch of Liverpool expansionists, including tapas stars Lunya (September) and cool tea and coffee shop LEAF (autumn) fare better than unlucky Lucha Libre; Manchester may seem like the next logical step for a Merseyside operator looking to branch out, but as restaurant markets go it’s a very different beast.
Hungry? See some great places to eat in Manchester.