I was hoping for a beacon of light in a dark place from Manchester Press. A bagel oasis in an otherwise bagel desert of this lost continent. We rocked up, on the brink of slightly hungover starvation, around 2:05 on a rainy Saturday afternoon, and maybe that was a mistake. We were confronted with a harsh reality: a line for bagels that actually rivals that on a Saturday morning at Bagel Boss.
We got seats at the bar after waiting about 25 minutes in the rain outside and decided on the reuben on sesame and the B.L.A.T. on poppy. Tracking down a server was another task, though. Harder than choosing from some delicious sounding sandwich options. We managed to flag one down, and although he looked a bit bewildered, it seemed like we were in business.
Until the bagels showed up with the wrong seeds per sandwich. :(
No worries really, because we planned to share each one. What killed me most in Manchester Press was watching so many weirdos use forks and knives to eat their bagels. Seriously weird. I cannot bring myself to use a fork and knife on a bagel, unless it's halved and hiding under an eggs benedict situation with gooey yolk and delicious hollandaise... I'm daydreaming off subject.
We chopped these bad boys in half and got to it. The reuben was a delicious mess of creamy thousand island, swiss, sauerkraut, tomato (why?) and two thick slices of pastrami. I mean, I'm definitely biased towards NYC pastrami, and this wasn't that. But was it a good sandwich? Yes.
I love how Aussies have turned B.L.T.s into B.L.A.T.s. It makes for a weird sounding acronym if you sound it out, but the addition of avocado it just what a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich needs to turn up the "I'm full" factor. This one was tasty and definitely enhanced by the addition of a cranberry, plum and chili relish. That was a nice touch.
The bagels themselves were OK actually. They weren't the best, but I've certainly had worse, even in the States. They weren't Bagel Boss or H+H, but they weren't Dunkin' Donuts either. The sesame even had just a bit of a crunch to the crust, which was unexpected and enjoyable. Did I ever tell you about the time I left a shoe (one shoe, black creeper style with leopard accents) at H+H on the UES and they put it in a brown bag and saved it for me until I could get a friend to bizarrely go and retrieve it? Yeah, that happened.
We both enjoyed our sandwiches and coffees ($33 k? That's what we're dealing with here. Two slices of pastrami on that sandwich for $13 or something. And that's reasonable for Melbourne.) and I guess I'd say Manchester Press lived up to its hype. I wouldn't want to wait 25 minutes in the rain again for it, though. Maybe if it was sunny and warm out I'd wait again. Maybe.
Manchester Press: 8 Rankins Lane, Melbourne, Vic. 3000. (03) 9600 4054