Manchester Press, Melbourne CBD

Hidden down a dingy alley is Manchester Press, one of Melbourne’s many funky and hip cafes which is known for their bagels. The alleyway looks pretty dodgy and if it wasn’t for the small crowd of people outside, I probably would have walked right past it. Today I arrive at 11:30am on a Sunday morning and there’s a 15 minute wait for my party of two, not too bad compared with the more popular places.

When we’re finally seated, we’re given a little figurine which sits on the window sill to symbolise our table number – cute! The place is surprisingly big inside and decked out in an artistic fashion; there’s artwork lining the walls, a giant bowling pin in one corner and paint splattered on the floor. It looks like it could have been a toy workshop in a past life.

Hot Chocolate – $4

I start off the meal with a hot chocolate. I’m quite impressed by the lion the barista is able to create on the froth, I’ve never seen anything like it. Although appetising, my hot chocolate is disappointingly not hot. Instead it is only lukewarm, it’s a shame the milk wasn’t hotter.

Chorizo, cheese, roast capsicum, sliced tomato and tomato relish – $12

Prior to this visit, I had never really liked bagels. I had bad experiences in Sydney and New York, finding bagels to be hard and dry so I never ate them again. However, Manchester Press is known for their bagels so I decided to give bagels another go here. There’s a range of open and closed toasted bagels on wholemeal, plain, sesame seed or poppy seed. I opted for the open toasted chorizo on a plain bagel and boy was it tasty! The chorizo was spicy and the relish added a lot of flavour. The bagel itself was soft and warm and complimented the fillings very well. There is also a light side salad which helps combat the tingling feeling left on my tongue from the spicy chorizo. It’s a bit weird to have such spicy food at brunch but nevertheless delicious.

BLT with homemade basil mayonnaise and fresh avocado – $12

My friend opted for the closed toasted BLT bagel with added avocado. It sits very tall and is extremely difficult to eat neatly. The bagel itself is very tasty; it is fresh, soft and warm with a lot of sesame flavour. There’s a lot of avocado (as visible in the photo above) and basil mayonnaise which brings all the elements of the bagel together. Towards the end we find ourselves eating just the bagel with the basil mayonnaise because it tastes so darn good – creamy with basil flavours enveloped throughout! A great choice for brunch.

The table next to us ordered a smoked salmon and avocado salad which was enormous with generous servings of smoked salmon. We contemplated ordering another dish because it looked so good but were too full. I guess that will have to wait until next time.

Overall, Manchester Press is an awesome cafe and I wish Sydney had more places like this. It’s hidden but still conveniently near the heart of the city, whilst serving up delicious food in funky scene. It has given me new hope in bagels and hopefully I can find similarly tasty ones elsewhere. A must visit cafe for anyone in Melbourne.

Manchester Press
8 Rankins Lane, Melbourne, VIC
Ph:  (03) 9600 4054

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