With all this rain that has been happening this week I really don’t know if we will be having a real Sydney summer after all! My ideal climate is about 25-26 degrees Celcius – the perfect temperature for lounging in a beer garden, going for a bushwalk, outdoor cafe dining, or a sunbathe at the beach. However I’ve found myself reminiscing this week of typical Sydney summer days of 30 degrees – and find it difficult to believe that it was about a month ago during my weekend to Melbourne that it was their one sunny weekend in a long time and it had actually hit 30 on my last day there.
I had checked out before leaving for breakfast, and I can say that I had a fairly ridiculous time trying to stuff all of my Melbourne purchases into my bag, as I had already packed everything fairly snugly as I hadn’t been anticipating doing any shopping. The shopping consisted predominantly of gifts for friends and supplies for myself from The Essential Ingredient in Prahan, which included passion fruit essence and raspberry essence from France, a new polyflex piping bag as I’ve been making so many macarons lately, and chocolates from Ganache Chocolates. I had also visited Darren Purchese’s Sweet Studio on Chapel Street the day before, but knowing the capacity of my suitcase, had had to restrain myself to only buying what I could stuff inside my stomach right then and there. If you do head down, I highly recommend a visit. Darren Purchese is a Melbournian pastry wizard with his knack for devising varying textures.
Anyway, with one amazing Melbourne breakfast down at The Hardware Societe, it was tempting to do a return visit on my last day but I knew with the plethora of cosy, trendy and hipster cafes dotted and hidden around the CBD that I really needed to go out exploring. I had seen some Melbourne food bloggers post photos from Manchester Press, and so it was on my last morning in Melbourne that I trekked up the main Elizabeth Street to seek it out.
Once you peer down enough graffitied alleys in Melbourne, they all tend to look the same and you actually start walking down them, thinking there may be a cafe down there, when in fact it’s just a loading zone or a dead end. We were lucky in this instance though, as there was a member of the cafe staff standing outside who confirmed that we were indeed at the right place.
Manchester Press has a very industrial-vibe inside it, with the low-hanging, rather glary lights for that hour of the morning, bare minimalistic walls and metal grilles here and there. It actually reminded me somewhat of Sydney’s Reuben Hills cafe in Surry Hills.
We were directed to one of the free communal tables, and I was charmed by the little table centrepiece of succulents and a…um..plastic dinosaur toy.
There’s various cakes in the counter window for sale, and some looked suspiciously similar to the cakes that I had seen the morning before at The Hardware Societe. It made me wonder if they buy cakes from the same supplier…
While I had seen that they were very well-known for their latte art, I couldn’t stomach a coffee at that hour of the morning and needed to re-hydrate and detox with a pot of green tea, while Fashion Obsessed Girl went for the lemongrass (both $4). While both arrived in the proper way with separate strainers, my green tea had been made with boiling hot water – and anyone with basic tea-making skills knows that green tea really can’t be made with water that hot.
The breakfast menu was interestingly showcasing different types of bagels with different sweet and savoury toppings. I selected a toasted sesame bagel with Avocado, Fetta, Chilli & Mint Smash with Cherry Tomatoes, Roquette & Pine Nuts ($13).
The serving that arrived was simply huge – this photo only shows one half of the bagel and the enormous amount of avocado-feta mixture on top of it.
Getting a sesame bagel was the right choice – the sesame seeds added a deliciously fragrant crunch to the soft, chewy yet firm bagel. Now, I love avocado and feta, and the combination was amazing and well-seasoned. My problem was however that I could only finish one half of the bagel comfortably and knew I would struggle with the other half before I even started on it, so settled on just trying to eat as much avocado as I could in the end – as we all know how expensive avos are! I found it an overly-generous size; I imagine it would have to be eaten by two people.
Fashion Obsessed Girl helped me with some of it, but was going through her Beetroot and Chickpea with Mixed Leaves, Cherry Tomatoes, Red Onion & Feta Salad ($12).
Also a similarly generous large amount, it was fresh but just seemed to lack finesse and maybe thought of what ingredients would work together in this salad. We also suspect the beetroot was tinned.
I can’t say that either of us were particularly impressed by our breakfasts, but looking back at the menu with the pulled pork bagel, grilled blue cheese bagel and other combinations maybe it just wasn’t our day when it came to ordering. I’ll drop by the place again the next time I’m down in Melbourne and try their coffee.
But as for the Melbourne chronicles…I have one article left for next week and then that’s the end of the stories from this Melbourne trip! I will now be endeavouring to post two recipes and one review a week from next week onwards in anticipation of silly season as I know all of you love entertaining and have menus/picnics/parties to plan for upcoming get-togethers with your beloveds. Hopefully I can give you a couple of things to bookmark as I start testing out my own recipes. Over and out xx
8 Rankins Lane
Melbourne VIC 3000
(03) 9600 4054