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Scranchester: The MIF preview edition

Written by
Kate Feld

Guys! It’s nearly MIF time. You’ve all been training, right? Seriously, if you haven’t been practising holding an artisan hot dog in one hand whilst simultaneously queuing for beer, drinking the one you haven’t finished, waving to three people, avoiding two more and delivering a measured critique of this year’s Damon Albarn joint, there’s no hope for you. The programme’s not our concern, here we preview Festival Square. The bar’s Thwaites again (hmmm) with pints £3.80-£4.50, wines from Boutinot and the usual gin, Pimms etc. Heathcotes’ food offer in the glasshouse scales back to burgers and dogs after the fancier stuff didn’t sell. Honest Crust pizza take over what was the cocktail bar and the food truck roster includes new-to-us names Dead Flatbread and Stomping Ground. It’ll be open noon to late daily and don’t even think about stealing that deckchair. I saw it first.

This week saw the launch of The Kitchens, the yearlong street food competition/venue in Spinningfields, with six traders competing for a new restaurant space. Yakumama’s Latin American menu has the exotic factor and their choripan stuffed with chorizo and killer guac was pretty fierce. But Chaat Cart’s chicken kati roll was so delicious we were forced to dismantle it to see how it worked. And then there’s pork dorks Bangers and Bacon, mighty chicken sandwich slingers Mumma Schnitzel, the profoundly dope Hip Hop Chip Shop and… yes, Wholesome and Raw, whose in-no-way-cooked pad thai and juices could be a tougher sell. Overall, an inspiring group whose whacked-out obsessiveness about food will keep this corner of Spinningfields humming.

A new pub opening in the Northern Quarter isn’t news; three have opened while you were reading this sentence. But the revival of a defunct traditional pub by one of the city’s most robust new breweries is good news. Blackjack Brewery have resurrected grand old market boozer The Smithfield on Swan Street. There’s a big opening bash starting tonight at 6pm that's Thu 18 June if you're reading this tomorrow... (forecast: 100 percent chance of widespread and persistent beardage. Dress sensibly.) 

It’s summer, so we must have another festival to tell you about. We do! Levy Market’s running the Levenshulme Food and Drink Festival, happening now through 21 June. It encompasses picnics, supper clubs, foodie quizzes, food-themed concerts and even a tea dance. Ah, lovely. When’s the last time you went to a tea dance? If a coffee rave is more your kind of thing: Tim Burgess from The Charlatans is bringing his Tim Peaks Café to Albert’s Chop House during the Greater Manchester Fringe Festival July 11-12. It’s not a real café, more of a Twitter café with music and virtual coffee. Except here the coffee will be real. I think. 


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