Melbourne Visit: Part 2
Nerd’s I have a confession, I went to Melbourne in winter this year and had some amazing coffee and café experiences. Sorry I’ve been so slack.
While I don't write much about other cities I thought I’d put up some from our Southern city.
Whole experience (cafe + coffee): 31/40
Another café, another alleyway with of cause, an unmarked café entrance.
Remembering back to one of the last cafes I went to in Melbourne I’m writing about it because it is really worth the visit.
Manchester Press, found down when I believe is Rankin Lane, just off Little Bourke Street (that’s the best directions I can give), is a café that has clearly hit the big time. UrbanSpoon rankings are high, bloggers have over reviewed the place to death (yours truly adding to the mess) and Broadsheet, Good Food Guide and by the looks of it Lonely Planet all raving about the place. If there was a standard bearer of the Melbourne Café scene this would have to be one.
Walking in from a rain shower at 2:30 in the afternoon, Nerd2 and I were greeted with a room heaving with people. By the look of the clientele a mix between inner city workers grabbing a late afternoon caffeine hit and tourists, lots of tourists (like me!).
Described by Broadsheet as a “surprisingly spacious and tranquil” and “the kind of place you could be perfectly comfortable spreading out an entire newspaper”… I’m not sure they came, but on this wet winters afternoon, if I’d spread about a newspaper (even a crap tabloid size newspaper – SMH, AGE I’m looking at you) I would have it in the face of the guy next to me.
Staff on our arrival tried their best and with great skill, quickly found an edge of a table for Nerd2 and I to perch on (we naturally looked very cool in doing so). Once seated I ordered a long black, Nerd 2 a tea.
The first thing your note about Manchester Press is the impressive bagel menu; I seem to remember ordering one and love it. The second thing your notice is that this space is bloody fantastic. Manchester Press is exactly how I’d make an artsy alleyway café look, to a T.
Lean back (making sure you don’t fall into guy next to you) and admire the street art across the walls, the sculptures on top of things, those huge light fittings and the random collection of tables. Again it’s enough to make this Sydney Nerd quite envious.
The coffee was soon with us. The long black had a delightful cheery floral roasted aroma to it with caramel undertones that solidified the aroma.
Taste wise I found it to be a solid well balanced drink. While floral in the aroma, in the taste it had some initial earthiness to it. This earthiness was followed through with a long sweet, nutty caramel aftertaste, just great mix.
Letting it sit, the acidic flavors of the bespoke 8oz roast, that were there initially started to become quite mellow, the caramel taking over the show.
Nerd2 and I lingered a while here, enough for me to get a macchiato, which came with some super stylish latte art. Again a very fresh, sweet, complex experience.
Overall, if you don’t mind the crush and a bit of a wait, the café is well worth the trip. The staff are uber cool hipsters, but still helpful. The space is killer the art and what not impactful and the 8oz coffee which they run through their espresso machines is a roast I’d like here in Sydney. My only advice – if you’re here in winter avoid the seat near the door (if you can) it gets bloody cold.
1. Coffee score
Style (look and feel): 8/10
Experience (taste and smell): 9/10
Coffee total: 17/20
2. Cafe score
Style (what’s it feel like): American subway
Whole experience (coffee + cafe): 31/40