Thursday, October 18, 2012

Cumulus Inc, Manchester Press + Earl Canteen, Melbourne

If there's one thing that Melbourne has over Sydney in spades its the plethora of amazing cafes, bars + restaurants located right smack bang in the middle of the city. Sydney has some good places to eat and things are improving due to the advent of the 'small bar', plus we have a rockin' Chinatown - but our offering of CBD eating places is dwarfed but what Melbourne has on offer.  Down every Melbourne street, laneway, alley, in every nook and cranny is somewhere to feed your hunger or quench your thirst. My Melbourne eating wishlist is testament to this - when I printed it out it was nearly an entire A4 page long.

Cumulus Inc.

Cumulus Inc. is probably one of the most popular brunch spots in Melbourne's CBD from what I can tell. Located on Flinders Lane (a street that has about 1000 awesome places to eat) it's been crowded every single time we've ever walked past.  Lucky for us we're in Melbourne on a Friday and when we rock up for brunch at 11am the place is pretty empty.

We kick things off with a coffee - a skinny cappuccino for The Boy as per usual. I decide that I need to become more sophisticated in my coffee drinking so order a "long macchiato ". Yikes, talk about STRONG! I needed two sugars to get this baby down. I guess sophistication is just not my thing.

The Boy continues his big breakfast tradition and orders the The Full English ($18.00) – a large plate resplendent with (free range) farmhouse slab bacon, blood sausage on toast, fried eggs and smoked tomato. He says it was wonderful and really enjoyed the blood sausage (he's obviously more sophisticated than me). I snuck a bit of bacon - very nice!

My sardines on toast ($15.00) is a lesson in restraint. It's fairly petit compared to The Boy's breakfast extravaganza, but it forces me to slow down and enjoy each mouthful rather than inhaling my meal like I usually do. Oink. The sardines come on sourdough toast with tomato, fennel and capers.  I also order an OJ - to help wash away my earlier macchiato-madness

Of course, a holiday brunch isn't complete without something sweet to finish things off with.  The dainty little Madeleines ($2.50) served with tart, yet sweet lemon curd are the perfect note to end on.

Cumulus Inc is at 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne.  Phone them on 03 9650 1445 (although they only take bookings for groups - everyone is just "take your chances".

Cumulus Inc. on Urbanspoon

Earl Canteen

Although we've litereally only just finished brunch we make a slow beeline towards the other end of town for lunch. I have a big wishlist and there is NO time to waste.  I was expecting EARL Canteen to be tucked away in a laneway, but we finding it hiding in the courtyard of a huge city highrise (just under Movida Aqui). What a great lunch spot these office-drones have at their doorstep. Jealous.

What attracted me to Earl Canteen was what seems to attract me to most places these days - their great ethically sourced meat. The menu board states loud + proud that their meat is free-range, so there's no need to ask the waitstaff 20 questions (not that I ever do that of course).

There was A LOT to tempt on Earl's simple menu board, but at the end of the day neither The Boy nor I could go past our beloved Roast Pork. The crunchy roll is bursting with two thick pieces of crispy skin free range pork belly (LOOK AT THAT CRACKLING PEOPLE!!!), apple, cabbage & fennel coleslaw and wilted silverbeet ($13.50).

Although we were both full to bursting there was a serious debate at our table about going halvies in the delicious sounding Roast free-range chicken roll served with crushed peas, bacon, marmalade and POTATO CRISPS!  Next time.

Earl Canteen is at 500 Bourke Street, Melbourne.  Phone them on (03) 9600 1995.

EARL Canteen on Urbanspoon

Manchester Press

Manchester Press is tucked way down a narrow graffiti-strewn laneway. It's a mammoth cafe space that inhabits an old printing factory. Once again The Boy and I are gobsmacked at how such fantastic eateries just pop up in the most unlikely places. It all seems so organic in Melbourne - in Sydney these sort of things seem to be a bit more...contrived.

The space is HUGE yet 10 minutes after we arrive there's a queue of people out the door waiting for a table. The fit out is best desribed as "shabby-industrial" with quirky little details like an illumated robot over the espresso machine and a rather large bowling pin trying to hide away in a corner. I love the large drawings that hang on nearly every piece of clear wall.

I decide to go back to my roots and order a Skinny Cappuccino...The Boy copies me and orders the same.

There's not much else on the menu here asides from bagels...there's a few granola or fruit salad type things but bagels are the main event people. I've really not seen such a dizzing array of bagels on offer outside of a New York deli - it's fantastic. I love the idea of a cafe doing one thing, but doing it REALLY well.

The Boy opts for the BLAT (bacon, lettuce, avocado + tomato) and it's a rather large affair. He seems perplexed about how to best get it in his mouth, but squashing the huge slab of avacado makes it an easier feat to accomplish.  The promise of dill cream cheese sold me on the open pastrami bagel. The only thing that would've made my breakfast perfect would've been an onion bagel - but I probably need to go back to NYC for that.

Manchester Press is at 8 Rankins Lane. The have the MOST LOVELY staff so go and enjoy a tops bagel and a coffee. You won't regret it. 

Manchester Press on Urbanspoon


  1. I haven't had a chance to try the "must-visit" restaurants & cafes in Melbourne yet, but it's good to know there's more focus on ethical/organic/sustainable food over there.

  2. I LOOOOOVE Earl Canteen, I wish I'd had a chance to visit the other two places but there's just so much choice!
    Love the new layout by the way :)

  3. I love Melbourne so much this makes me miss it! But Sydney is slowly getting better :)

  4. So much good stuff Mel! Makes me want to go to Melbourne!

  5. Luuuurved Cumulus. Best coffee of my life!

  6. WOW! You have found two really great places!! I love everything in the images YUMMY!

    I particularly liked the idea of serving lemon curd with the Madelines, I always feel that Madelines need something a little more, this would be lush!

  7. All of these places have made it on my melbourne to go list. I haven't been to melbourne in nearly 2 years and my list just keeps growing. You've definitely found some gems.



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