For those who know Manchester Press – a classic Melbourne institution that couldn't get any more 'Melbourne' if it tried (I mean, it's a bagel joint dropped into a warehouse in a gritty laneway for goodness sake) – they know that, despite the generous number of options on the menu, a bagel is where it's at.
Here, you can take your choice from plain, poppyseed, rye and sesame (or GF), topped with an array of loosely New Yorker-style options. NY Lox is an obvious choice, and its salty, creamy smoked salmon is thankfully not of the disturbingly bright orange, intensely fishy, store-bought persuasion, as is so often the case.
The Melbourne standard Avo Smash isn't breaking records for the city's most inventive topping (a cherry tomato medley, feta and pumpkin seeds) but it's suitably tasty – especially when topped with a perfectly poached egg. It's not the shining star on the bagel menu, however.
That title belongs to the Philly Steak, which combines thinly sliced, briney roast beef with lashings of chipotle, mayo and cheesy goodness that meld together and ooze over the sides – rendering your plate a delicious receptacle for a makeshift dipping sauce. It's not going to win any awards for presentation, but damn, it's delicious. I just wish it came with more pickles.
They take their coffee seriously here – and, for a city that thrives on its obsession with finding the best cup in town, this is a pretty solid option. Manchester Press stock local sustainable coffee brand Ona, a spec