What was once a printing business is now the embodiment of Melbourne style with a New York deli vibe. Manchester Press is one of city’s laneway legends, taking the very best of the Big Apple and giving it a modern Australian flourish to create a cafe that’s constantly full of coffee-loving corporates and locals who love to lunch.
From a couple of meters away, the raw warehouse proudly shares its origin story. The cafe was named after the printing press that occupied the space, and came complete with its original signage: a yellow and red painted poster on the exposed brick walls. Inside, the industrial feel continues with those same brick walls, vintage chairs and wooden accents, all of which contribute to the welcoming atmosphere of the space.
Manchester Press’ past owners, Issy Shaked and Nir Kalif, sold the venture to Chinese investor Bing Hu. Bing wanted to invest in his true passion – coffee – and after doing so he left the day-to-day operations to General Manager, Lee Skyrme. Lee has been a part of the business since its conception in 2011 and his exceptionally high standards and love of coffee are key to the cafe’s success.
Today, the kitchen is led by Joshua Manitta, who started out at Manchester Press as a kitchen hand and moved his way up to being responsible for the cafe’s effortlessly delicious menu. Diners benefit from Joshua’s determination and ongoing desire to serve tasty dishes.
Bagels are the main star here – there are more than 10 combinations to choose from, including bacon, maple and banana on a blueberry bagel, or the quintessential Melbourne breakfast: avocado lemon smash with Persian feta and microherbs. For those not so bagel-inclined, the light and fresh coconut and chia pudding has become an easy choice amongst the regulars.
Come midday, the closed bagels should be calling your name. The Reuben is one of the best on the block, with thick-cut smoked pastrami, swiss cheese, sauerkraut, Thousand Island dressing and pickles; while the 14-hour BBQ pulled pork will have you licking your lips well into the afternoon with Texas-style pulled pork soaked in BBQ sauce and topped with house-made slaw and pickles.
It wouldn’t be a CBD coffee spot without top quality beans and stellar baristas. Manchester Press serves up their own delicious house blend and an ever-changing single origin and filter roast by Bing and Lee’s good friends at Cartel Coffee Roasters and Wide Open Road. Their dedication to the blessed bean means it’s not just espresso on offer; cold drip and filter are also available as alternative brewing methods.
Manchester Press manages to feel like a piece of New York with a very Melbourne accent. The shopfront almost merges with the street art on the laneway walls and continues inside, where commissioned artwork by local artists Ghost Patrol and The Paper Beast adorn the walls.
Combining carefully crafted coffee and beautiful bagels, it’s the epitome of a Melbourne culinary experience. If that’s not enough to get you through the door, the smell of freshly brewed coffee down Rankins Lane should be excuse enough.