Manchester Press, Rankins Lane, Melbourne

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?

Manchester Press
Phone: (03) 9600 4054
8 Rankins Lane, Melbourne VIC 3000

Manchester Press on Urbanspoon

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15 comments… add one
  • anna June 22, 2012, 3:50 pm

    i have never seen such adorable coffee art! it is always disappointing though when something looks beautiful but tastes average. i would love to take a barista course, as i love coffee. i’ve wished i had that training in the past when job hunting!

    • Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake June 23, 2012, 6:00 pm

      Yes it was a bit but at least I got to see the coffee art for myself. 🙂 I really want to do the course though, so I can do my own coffee art. 🙂

  • Choc Chip Uru June 22, 2012, 9:33 pm

    I am loving the coffee art, it is so gorgeous 😀
    A beautiful cafe review my friend!

    Choc Chip Uru

    • Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake June 23, 2012, 6:01 pm

      Thanks Uru! The coffee art was great like I expected, just wish the food was a bit better. :S

  • tastyfoodsnaps June 23, 2012, 1:50 am

    I would love that bagel!! I love mascarpone <33

    • Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake June 23, 2012, 6:01 pm

      It wasn’t as good as it looked unfortunately, or so I thought. It’s not that heavy though which some people might like. 🙂

  • yummychunklet June 23, 2012, 5:39 am

    Great images!

  • Charles June 23, 2012, 7:02 am

    Those coffees look so cute, but I’ve never really understood the point of coffee art – I guess because they don’t really do it in France. I think I’d feel bad about drinking such a cute thing 😀

    Those bagels look pretty tasty – the price isn’t too bad either.

    • Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake June 23, 2012, 6:04 pm

      It is quite a waste to drink it when it’s so pretty. 😛 But it’s becoming such a prevalent thing here it feels weird to not see coffee art! They even had a barista competition here in Melbourne recently where the coffee art and coffee taste were judged. 😀

  • Ming @sweetandsourfork June 24, 2012, 4:42 pm

    Such beautiful photos, as usual of course! I’m not sure I get the hype about manchester press though, it’s just sort of cheap bagels that taste sort of nice.

  • Daisy@Nevertoosweet June 25, 2012, 11:38 pm

    A shame about your bagel 🙁 because last time I went to Manchester Press I really liked it ~ and really liked their coffees ~ my partner wants to do a barista course but lol i’m not willing to pay unless he’s SERIOUS about it!

    • Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake June 26, 2012, 11:37 pm

      Yeah I’m not too sure what it is about Manchester Press that makes them so popular…maybe my taste is different to other people? Either way I thought there’s better places to go for coffee and brunch. :S

  • Brendan September 29, 2012, 10:04 pm

    I think the appeal of the place is that it’s hard to find a decent sized coffee/brunch place in the CBD with the modern seven seeds/st. ali/proud mary styling that is more prevalent in the inner suburbs.

    Still, I went for the first time last week and loved the Chorizo bagel. My macchiato was pretty damn good as well, though my ability to judge coffee by taste is inversely proportionate to how badly I need the drug that it contains.

  • art courses melbourne June 19, 2013, 8:58 pm

    Coffee art is so amazing, I really like it.


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