Foodies flocked to the city center to celebrate one of the country’s most beloved dishes.
The Manchester Food and Drink Festival hosts ‘Manchester’s biggest chippy tea’ last night at Cathedral Gardens.
Marking the midpoint of the annual festival, which was postponed last year due to Covid, the special night was held with a number of different stands serving their take on the British classic.
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Festival director Alexa Stratton-Powell said: “You can’t beat a chippy tea in the Northwest.
“We have a lot of different events at the festival, some are upscale and some are informal, and that’s what we wanted for tonight – for everyone in town to come together for some chippy tea.
“The main thing is to support local businesses – there are amazing traders all over Manchester and I just wanted to give them a platform.
“After the year we’ve had, it feels good to have this – the whole reason behind the festival is to support hospitality, which has been one of the industries hardest hit by the pandemic, and I believes there is a greater need than ever to provide a platform. “
Traders tonight include Great Ancoats Street restaurant, Street Urchin, which served its unique version of seafood, including squid or mackerel tempura, as well as fresh oysters.
The restaurant opened in 2019 and has battled the pandemic to build loyalty, with the festival giving more people the chance to try its food.
Owner Rachel Choudhary, who runs the restaurant with her husband Kevin, said: “It’s nice to be outside, out of the restaurant and see some sunshine.
“It’s completely different being in a restaurant – we’re really a sit-down table service place and it’s just a lot more laid back.”
He is joined in the lineup by Ancoats-based Hip Hop Chip Shop, which serves its popular street food over the classic dish of fish and chips.
For lovers of traditional fish and chips, Anchors from Didsbury is on the menu.
The old restaurant has become a take-out in containment, the food court is now transformed into a new bar, and the festival is a new experience for the family team.
Chis Brumby, son of owners Len and Veronica, said: “We’ve never done anything like this before. We had to refresh everything here, but it was really good.”
A vegan offering is available at Ardwick-based JJ’s Vish and Chips, with ‘tofish’ on the menu – made with tofu and a nori leaf to give it that traditional fishy flavor.
The company only started in January as a delivery only, but plans to open its first store in Levenshulme soon.
Ella Stewart, Supervisor, said: “It works really well. It’s nice to have customers who have been vegans for a while, and they say they haven’t eaten fish and chips in years. “
For dessert, A Few Scoops – which only launched in May – offers a range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic ice creams, with flavors including Vimto as a nod to the cans of pop on sale at Chippy.
Customers soak up the atmosphere since the doors open at 5 p.m.
Rachel Welsh came to the festival after working with Paul Harrison, the couple both living near the event.
She said, “I had Hip Hop Chip Shop chips, Paul had Street Urchin, that was lovely.
“It’s very nice to be here – I think it’s better that it’s also outside, because it feels safer.”
Manchester’s ‘biggest chippy tea’ continues tonight, with the festival running through September 27 at Cathedral Gardens.
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