Manchester Press: CBD, Melbourne

D61_19966After a full Saturday of food and exploring Phillip Island (the night ending in a very late visit to a Korean restaurant with far too much fried chicken), PM’s request was to go somewhere that we could just grab something small from.

I had often looked up places in the CBD for good coffee (since we try to stay as close to Southern Cross station as possible) and Manchester press often came up in my results. However, their main calling was bagels, which I thought wasn’t a substantial thing to have for brunch normally. It seemed like this would fit the bill, so the plan was to go there, get some bagels, then do some sightseeing before flying home.

Manchester Press occupies the site of an old printing press in the CBD and is located near Hardware Lane, where people often go to some of the other well-known places. There’s a helpful sign on the laneway the cafe is located on – provided you are coming from the right direction. We had passed it completely until I realised we went a few lanes too far.

Keep your eyes on the laneway graffiti!

I thought that we could simply do some takeaway, but once we had gotten there the waiting list wasn’t actually too bad and it looked like a nice cafe to sit in anyway, so PM was happy to wait a few minutes to get a seat. They’re just bagels, right? Even the open bagels and salads probably weren’t that huge a serving…

The interior is a one-level seating area with shared tables or private tables. The ceilings are high, wooden, and the space is decorateed with paint-stripped furnishings and chipped brick walls. The low hanging lights make for a pretty cozy and softly-lit venue. The service is pretty quick and the waitstaff are attentive. Their waiting list is cycled through, so you have to make sure you’re paying attention. One guy who was distracted on his phone missed his name being called out, but really if others are waiting behind you in line for a table at a cafe on a Sunday morning, you shouldn’t expect to have the waitstaff look for you.


Their coffee is a choice of blends or single origins, with the current selection a Black Betty blend, and damn it’s good. I was tempted to buy a bag for JB to take home, but there was no space in my bag for a pack of beans. Just another reason why Melbourne was winning points with me for their coffee. Verdict is still out with me on the best city, however.

So. On to the food. As I said before, we wanted something small. So PM in his love for sweet, small breakfasts on this particular day, opted for a honey and ricotta bagel. I, however, was tempted by this Oreo Smash that was on the list. Oreos are a huge vice of mine, so I absolutely had to go to this instead of a salmon bagel or something savoury.

Honey and Ricotta Bagel

PM was pretty happy with the bagel. It’s usually hard to get any feedback from him beyond a shrug and an “It’s ok”, but he was happy that it was something small and sweet, and he does like honey, after all. The ricotta was light and made for a very easy bite, and the honey paired really nicely with the plain, savoury bagel.

So remember how the goal was to get something small?

Oreo Smash

This baby, yeah. Not so small. The Oreo smash consists of a chocolate chip bagel, with what feels like a mountain of chocolate cream cheese smothering them with an Oreo on top. They are very generous with the toppings on bagels. A couple next to us had a smashed avocado bagel with probably the equivalent of 1-2 bagels here. Well worth the money spent here! This particular dish was extremely sweet, and probably could have done with a lot less cream cheese.

If you’re in the mood for a bagel, make sure you have room for a bit more here!

Manchester Press

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