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A huge outdoor food and drink festival on May Bank Holiday weekend has been announced

‘Kantina Weekender is an opportunity to finally come back together and share in the joy of food and drink’

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escapetofreightisland / Instagram

The team behind Escape to Freight Island over at Depot Mayfield have announced a brand-new food and drink festival for 2021: Kantina Weekender.

With vaccines being rolled out across the country at rapid speed, we’re all hoping that by the time summer comes around things will be a bit more back to normal, and we can start enjoying the things we love again.

The guys at Freight Island are optimistic we will be able to enjoy some cracking food and drink, with Kantina Weekender set to run from Friday May 28th to Monday 31st at Depot Mayfield.

Escape to Freight Island is a new, vast industrial fairground of food, drink, music and entertainment, and was the standout success in Covid safe hospitality last year.

Home to some of Manchester’s most loved restaurants and bars, Freight Island is made-up of a grand Ticket Hall, a covered outside courtyard and a brand-new Pavilion – filled to the brim with plants, creating a calm, green, oasis in the city.

Jody Hartley / Escape to Freight Island

Kantina Weekender’s lineup will include incredible local food and craft-beers, as well as new-world wines and liquors, and will feature some Manchester favourites collaborating to serve up mouthwatering dishes.

Mary-Ellen McTague from Creameries in Chorlton will pair with Great Northern Pies; Gary Usher from Elite Bistros will partner with Forever Changes; Tast of King Street and Baratxuri will join grill forces; and Pippy Eats will partner with Mi+Pho for noodle heaven.

The lineup also includes Stosie Madi from Parkers Arms, and the legendary Simon Martin from Manchester’s first Michelin Star restaurant in 41 years, Mana.

Joining them will be Sam Buckley from Stockport-based Where The Light Gets In, which recently became one of only 23 businesses in the UK and Ireland to receive a ‘green’ Michelin Star – an accolade which celebrates sustainability.

Sam said: “I’m absolutely delighted to finally be cooking at Escape to Freight Island. It’s an incredible space in the heart of the city and Kantina Weekender will be a great return for food fans across the country.”


As for drinks, Pomona Island will team up with Lervig and Northern Monk, and Deya and Camden Town Brewery will complete the beer offering. On the wine side, Charlie Miller from the Laughing Heart and Dom the Som aka Dynamite MC will join other special guest wine experts.

During Kantina Weekender, Escape to Freight Island will host a packed roster of live entertainment, exclusive talks on stage, satellite events, wine tasting and a guaranteed feast for all.

The charity partner for the event will be Eat Well MCR, a Manchester collective made up of hospitality professionals and volunteers from all sectors delivering meals to people facing challenging circumstances in Greater Manchester – a percentage will be included on to bills with the choice to opt-out.

Dan Morris, managing director of Escape To Freight Island said: “Kantina Weekender is an opportunity to finally come back together and share in the joy of food and drink.

“We are very proud to be able to showcase the talents of the Escape To Freight Island residents whilst they collaborate with some of the UK’s most prestigious chefs, brewers, bartenders and all round hospitality heroes. Manchester’s food and drink scene is a special one and we can’t wait to celebrate it.”

Tickets will set you back £35 per person, and this is fully redeemable as credit to spend at Kantina Weekender – you can find more info here.

What's On

Manchester’s ‘biggest beer garden’ is now taking walk-ins

Just in time for the weekend!

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@escapetofreightisland / Instagram

Just to make that Friday feeling a little sweeter, Manchester’s biggest beer garden is now accepting walk-ins.

It’s no secret that the whole ‘bookings-only’ system that many venues have been adopting across not only Manchester but the whole country is less than ideal – long gone are spontaneous trips and day seshes in the pub; strategically planning your impulsive pint is now a sad reality of post-lockdown Britain. 

So this news really couldn’t have come at a better time – the sun is shining, Manchester has gone longer than a week without any rain, and England are playing Scotland in the Euros tonight.

@escapetofreightisland / Instagram

Life. Is. Marvellous. 

Escape to Freight Island, the venue to boast Manchester’s biggest beer garden, has announced that its doors are now open to walk-ins, just in time for the weekend and Father’s Day on Sunday (you haven’t forgotten, have you?)

Since opening after the pandemic, the Depot Mayfield-based food and drinks hub has operated a strict ‘bookings only’ system under the ‘Safe + Social Manifesto’, a plan committed to maintaining a safe environment for everyone amid the Covid-19 outbreak.

But now that the world is starting to resemble a little normality again, the venue is starting to accept walk-ins.

@escapetofreightisland / Instagram

Freight Island boasts an impressive lineup, with a huge array of local food and drink vendors. 

Guests can swig on beers from Camden and Pomona Island, sip natural wines from Forever Changes, enjoy BBQ food from Baratuxri, pizza from Voodoo Rays, tacos from Madre, a selection of Italian dishes from Belzan Pasta Kitchen, delicious burgers from Patty Queen, Vietnamese delights from Mi & Pho, vegan offers from Plant Grill – and that doesn’t even scratch the surface.

So, if you’re fancying an evening (or an entire day) at this fabulous venue, you can now stroll on down without a booking – though, due to it’s popularity, walk-in space may be limited, so make sure you get down nice and early!

For more information, visit their website here.

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Legendary explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes to host special black tie event in Manchester

You won’t want to miss this…

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Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office / Flickr & Bowden Rooms / Facebook

For the first time ever in the North West, the legendary explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes will be hosting an intimate black tie event. 

The evening, hosted at Altrincham’s Bowdon Rooms, will give guests the opportunity to experience an authentic red carpet event with live entertainment and art installations showcasing Sir Ranulph’s many expeditions.

The Grand Edwardian Ballroom will also be serving a spectacular three course meal as guests enjoy live on stage entertainment and take part in an auction offering one of a kind pieces of memorabilia.

Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office / Flickr

Sir Ranulph himself will also be in attendance where he will be doing meet-and-greets and photographs.

The explorer is famed for leading twenty-two major expeditions to remote parts of the world, including both the South Pole and the North Pole. 

He is also the only man alive to have travelled around the Earth’s circumpolar surface, and was the first explorer to completely cross the Antarctic continent unsupported.

Since 1969, when he led the British Expedition on the White Nile, Sir Ranulph has been at the forefront of many groundbreaking exploratory expeditions.

Commonwealth Secretariat / Flickr

And, in 2009 at the age of sixty-five, the explorer climbed to the summit of Mount Everest. As a result, he became the oldest Briton ever to summit the tallest mountain in the world.

Tickets include a three course meal with dietary options available. For more information and to buy your tickets you can head here.

Located in Bowdon, Altrincham, The Bowdon Rooms is an example of stunning Edwardian architecture with Art Deco influences in the immaculate interior. 

Dating back to 1903, the award-winning venue is a great choice for exclusive events with its abundance of old style charm and grandeur, authentic character and beautiful features.

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A huge new ‘oriental grocery experience’ and sushi restaurant is coming to Chinatown

Manchester’s Chinatown is set to get an exciting new addition…

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Samuel May / Linkedin & Vinicius Benedit / Unsplash

A huge ‘oriental grocery experience’ and sushi restaurant has been given the go-ahead to set up shop in the heart of Manchester’s Chinatown. 

Now, the best part of going on holiday abroad is browsing the foreign supermarkets to see what weird and wonderful things they have on offer – and now, you’ll be able to do that right here in Manchester (though Fanta Lemon may not be included, sorry).

The Blue Whale Supermarket, which has stores dotted across not only the North West but the whole world, will be opening a 5,500 square foot high-end ‘oriental grocery experience,’ offering up fresh fruit, vegetables, fish and seafood, and a whole array of the wonderful foods and drinks from the other side of the world.

Samuel Mays / Linkedin

Shoppers can expect to find a selection of goods from countries like Japan, China, South Korea, Taiwan, and beyond.

The supermarket will also boast a sixty-cover sushi restaurant – details surrounding their dining experience have been kept tightly under wraps so far, but it is known that they will be using fresh ingredients directly from their shelves, so it’s bound to be a good one. 

A further description of the project on Skyscraper City read: “Excited to have completed on yet another leasehold site acquisition for a new brand to enter the market – Blue Whale Oriental supermarket @ St James Tower, Manchester. 

Louis Hansel / Unsplash

“From the team at Bon Pan Asian restaurants, Blue Whale will be a brand new circa 5,500 sq ft high end oriental grocery experience offering fresh fruit and veg, Fish and Seafood, with a large 60 cover Sushi restaurant counter under a new brand Aka Sushi.”

The application to fit out the supermarket and restaurant at Unit 1 Charlotte Street has been accepted according to the Manchester City Council website, so we can hopefully expect some exciting things very soon!

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