I didn’t used to like coffee as much as I do now. The aroma, the bitterness, the subtle sweetness that dances on the taste buds has me craving from head to toe. What makes the whole coffee drinking experience even more unbearably good is the coffee art. I can’t resist pretty things, the prettier the better. Every time I order a coffee, I eagerly wait for what might be on top of that rich beautiful coffee blend like a child waiting for her candy to be unwrapped. I’m in love with coffee art, so much so that I wanted to do a coffee making course.
As soon as I saw that Manchester Press in Melbourne CBD has unique coffee art, I couldn’t wait to go. It wasn’t the usual rosetta and heart variety but even better with cute faces and animals. How exciting is that? Two weeks ago I was finally able to go and I couldn’t wait.
Situated in a typical Melbourne lane way surrounded by red bricks, Manchester Press is the perfect hideout for a coffee or lunch, although I wouldn’t say it would be all that quick due to the long queues.
What fascinated me about the interior were the huge drawings on the walls and the even bigger bowling pin.
I was also fascinated with the books on the wall near where we were seated – a little room by itself. Although this area was a bit darker than the rest, we were able to quietly observe the surroundings and enjoy our meal without interruption. It was like a VIP room.
It was inevitable that coffees were ordered and this time we got 4 in total. When they arrived, 2 had cute pirate faces and two had rosettas. My cappuccino had a skinny pirate’s face with long curly hair and a very pointy chin, while Arch’s cappuccino had a similar facial structure but was fatter. This one must have swallowed a lot of coffee before making it onto the cup.
Yuye ordered a latte while Sat also ordered a cappuccino. I’m sure the barista was trying to say that he or she can not only make cool faces that everyone adores, they can also do perfect and gorgeous rosettas.
Although the coffee art was fantastic, unfortunately I found the coffees to be just average. Not bad by any means but wasn’t as strong or aromatic as I would have liked.
For those of you who have been there or heard about the place, it’s probably no surprise that they only serve bagels. Unfortunate for us as we arrived at Manchester Press at around 2pm, we were told before ordering that 3 or 4 of the main options on the menu were already unavailable. That really made our decisions difficult because most of the dishes we wanted to order were gone! After some thought, I decided to order a fruit and nut bagel with mixed berry mascarpone, strawberries and pistachio dust ($12). Prices I thought were reasonable although portion sizes were average.
My bagel was unimpressive, bluntly put, as I thought it was quite one dimensional with just the taste of slightly sweet mascarpone and strawberries. The mascarpone wasn’t sweet enough (coming from a non-sweet tooth) but Yuye thought the sweetness was not too bad. It all comes down to personal preference I suppose.
Yuye had to order the pastrami, dill, cream cheese, cherry tomatoes, roquette and pickles for $12 as the salmon bagel was unavailable. He actually liked my bagel over this one as it was quite plain and uninteresting, although I thought this one was better as it had more taste and I enjoyed it with the pickles and pastrami.
Arch’s chorizo, cheese, capsicum, tomato and tomato relish bagel ($13) was a bit too sweet for me as it tasted essentially of the tomato relish but Arch liked it that way. I did get to steal all of his cherry tomatoes because he doesn’t like them. All the more for me!
Sat ordered the hummus, beetroot, tomato, roquette and pine nuts bagel for $12 which tasted as expected but nothing too spectacular and portion wasn’t that large (despite what it looks like because it was topped with a lot of roquette).
Compared to the HUGE bagel we got at Las Chicas which was absolutely beautiful, Manchester Press’ bagels were like snacks. It is understandable though that due to the small kitchen size, it makes more sense to make cold bagels that only require assembly and no cooking. It also gives them more time to concentrate on the coffees. And for the price, the portion sizes were acceptable. So if you’re after a large, substantial and warm meal, I suggest go somewhere else. If you just want a coffee with beautiful coffee art or a small bagel that’s not too heavy, this is the place for you.
Question time: Have any of you taken a barista course or contemplated taking one? Do you own a coffee machine at home and have you attempted coffee art before?
Phone: (03) 9600 4054
8 Rankins Lane, Melbourne VIC 3000