The Seeds of the Allotment
How Manchester’s best-loved plant-based food restaurant came to be
Sowing the seeds
Matt Nutter, Head Chef and owner of The Allotment, has an incredible creative streak for food and flavours. He now owns one of the most successful specialist restaurants in Manchester with his fiancé, Siobhan. But where did it all begin?
Matt’s pop-up shop in Nooch, a Wigan wholefood retailer, gained a great reputation with the locals that was backed up by a top review from The Wigan Reporter in 2015. His pop-up attracted foodies and bloggers from far and wide to taste his seven course taster menus, catering to 16 people a night.
The pop-ups were a successful driver for Matt’s business, making appearances in Wigan, Huddersfield, Chorlton and Bolton.
Five months in, the taster menus were so popular that Matt and Siobhan turned their full attention to their plant-based foods business, taking the plunge to leave their jobs and cultivate their passion full-time, setting up in Liverpool’s Purple Carrot.
“Liverpool was crying out for good plant based food, and from what we see it still is!”
In August 2017, Matt and Siobhan welcomed a baby into the world and four days later The Allotment was born.
Matt’s hard work was attracting attention from the public and press. The restaurant won The Best restaurant in Britain from The Times and Skinny Magazine’s Restaurant of the year 2017 just five months after opening. Later that year, Matt was awarded Chef of the Year 2017 and his creations earned Vegetarian Offering of the Year 2017 from Manchester Food and Drink Festival as well as City Life’s City life Restaurant of the year 2018.
Matt worked at The Allotment tirelessly, determined to raise his family and pursue his passion to protect and nurture The Allotment while Siobhan took care of new-born Patrick. He became the only chef in the restaurant, and maintained consistently high standards while feeding a full house of hungry mouths every day.
But with his new son at home, Matt couldn’t keep the restaurant open into the evening. Limiting The Allotment’s opening hours as a way of dealing with the pressures has been a short-term answer providing a small respite for Matt and Siobhan. He needed to take more people under his wing, but he couldn’t do that without investment.
Budding in Manchester
That’s when Matt met restauranteur, Anthony Sheridan, already the owner of Barca Bar, The Mitre Hotel and The Black Lion, all successful bars and restaurants in Manchester. Anthony was looking for a new venture. Manchester has a long history of vegetarians and vegans - it’s where the vegetarian society was formed in the early 19th Century, and it’s now home to some of the country’s best meat-free restaurants.
Anthony saw that the trend isn’t going away, and more people than ever are choosing nutritious and cruelty-free plant-based options. He was impressed by Matt’s flair and his ability to make plant-based food that not only tastes good, but better than meat. The Allotment’s popularity and the many rave reviews and accolades that Matt had amassed inspired Anthony to invest.
In August of 2018, Anthony approached them with a vision, it was the missing piece of the jigsaw and a new leaf in the story of the Allotment that Matt calls “version 4.0.”