Manchester Press is one of my all time favourite cafes, and definitely the top bagel place in Melbourne in my opinion. It's located in Rankins Lane, off Little Bourke St between Elizabeth and Queen St. No matter what day of the week you go, it's always quite busy, so if you do plan on going, try to go before 11, so you don't have to wait too long for a table.
There's a casual atmosphere to Manchester Press, with a range of small tables as well as two larger communal tables. The decorations are of a more hipster, laid back style, with quirky drawings and a huge bowling pin in one corner. Service was good, with friendly staff; we were attended to as soon as we sat down with menus and water, and we didn't have to wait to order our food and drinks either.
One of the features of Manchester Press is the great variety of coffee art that they have on lattes and hot chocolates, as it is usually quite fancy and not just a typical leaf. The last couple of times that I've been there, this has been the case, but to my disappointment this time, we were all presented with the same coffee art of said leaf. One of my friends had actually commented to me as well that they didn't seem to have fancy coffee art anymore, which was a bit of a let down.
The ham, cheese and tomato bagel came with generous amounts of ham, though it would've been nice to have some more tomato in it. The bagel itself became a little dry at times because of this, but this was balanced out with the salad on the side, which consisted of salad greens, cucumber, red onion and cherry tomatoes, topped with a balsamic vinegar dressing.
The BLAT was topped with cranberry and chilli plum relish, and there was a good amount of bacon in the bagel, especially if you're a bacon fan. The half avocado on the top, complete with a knife holding it in place, was great visually, though it would've been better if it was actually cut up for us already, for ease of eating. There was so much on the bagel that it was difficult to cut it in half, and did become quite messy to eat. The relish also added to this, but it did have great flavours that balanced out the bagel nicely with its hint of sweetness.
A friend once asked me what brunch places I would suggest for the CBD area, and this was one that came to mind immediately. Bagels may not be your typical brunch option, but there are some really great varieties to choose from, even for vegetarians, so I would highly recommend it to everyone.