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"If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world." – J.R.R. Tolkien

Tag Archives: Manchester Press

Pie in the Sky

As I’ve said previously, I rarely travel very far out of the city but rules are made to be broken. This particular trip was my first out to the Dandenong Ranges, so after a beautiful morning of sight-seeing, we were off to try what was reputed to the best pies in Melbourne.

Pie in the Sky is a noisy yet homely little cafe that has a steady stream of what appeared to be both locals and tourists alike. The pie-menu was certainly diverse, with an additional range of pastries and sweets on offer, just to tempt you.

That’s only the take-away menu mind you – there’s a few extra optional available for dining in, and the pies come with optional sides of chips and salad. With all that choice it took us a while to decide what we wanted.

I wasn’t particularly in the mood for meat as it turned out, so I settled on their award-winning Fetta pie – a combination spinach, cheese, rice and fetta.

Fetta Pie

Fetta Pie

The pie wasn’t especially spinach-y or cheese-y, which set it apart from most of the other vegetarian pies I’ve consumed in the past. The rice was certainly and interesting and tasty touch, and I didn’t feel too guilty eating it (even though logically the pasty would have been butter-laden, but we’ll ignore that).

My companion, in somewhat of a nod to the city I grew up in, ordered a Beef & Burgundy Pie Floater.

Beef & Burgundy Pie Floater

For those of you who weren’t aware, the ‘floater’ refers to a pie in a soup of mashed peas and ham, and Adelaide is renowned for their pie floaters with a permanent pie cart set-up in the city center. When done well, the soup perfectly offsets the pie, enhancing its meatiness and soaking up some of the oiliness.

Unfortunately, this was not voted the best pie floater in Victoria by my companion, and in hindsight, he may have been better off getting just a regular pie. It was worth a try though, and the pie itself was deemed quite passable.

It’s a bit a trip just to get a decent pie, but if you’re ever in the area and feel like something filling, you can’t really go wrong with a pie.

Pie in the Sky
43 Olinda-Monbulk Rd, Olinda
Mon-Fri 10am-430pm, Sat 10am-5pm, Sun 930am-5pm

Pie in the Sky on Urbanspoon

Cafe de Kikaku

A good friend was down in Melbourne for the Easter holidays, so we decided to catch up over dinner. Seeing as he is a very laid-back guy, it was up to me to decide on a dinner venue. I’m not one to pass up trying a new restaurant, so off to Docklands we headed.

After a little bit of a search, I decided on Cafe de Kikaku. A tiny little cafe that serves Pan-Asian cuisine (which is what exactly?), it was eerily quiet on a Wednesday night. Not to worry, the cafe itself was warm and welcoming.

Cafe de Kikaku

Cafe de Kikaku

We started off with some ‘Tea of the Day’ (Haru Poro Poro) while we decided on our meal.

Haru Poro Poro

The food itself was delicious and filling. The salt and pepper squid was crunchy without being greasy and seasoned just right.

Salt and Pepper Squid

The ox-tongue was slightly spicy and very delectable and not over-cooked as can sometimes happen. Both dishes came with salad, and the ox-tongue came with a side of rice.

Ox-tongue

We both left very happy, not only because of the food, but because of the very friendly service. I would love to come here during lunch-hour, but it’s just slightly too far away from work to be viable. I dinners in Docklands are going to become a lot more popular with my friends soon though.

Cafe de Kikaku
20 Waterview Walk, Docklands
Mon-Fri 12-230pm, 6-930pm

Cafe de KIKAKU on Urbanspoon

Manchester Press

I’ve been hearing a lot of buzz lately about the 3-week young cafe with the somewhat misleading name of ‘Manchester Press’ that had just opened up in a small alleyway off Little Bourke St. I popped my head in early Friday morning to check out the place, and was surprised to find a rather airy, if sleepy, little joint just around the corner from the contrastingly cramped Brother Baba Budan. Though I already had a coffee in my hand, I was assured by the waiter that the coffee that they served were nothing short of perfect. He explained that the owners operated a coffee roasting facility in Queensland, with the intention of opening another here in Melbourne.

With my curiosity suitably piqued, I dragged my co-workers down during our lunch break. The sight that greeted us was decidedly busier than it had been in the morning, so we ended up in a little alcove with four seats and a glass table that was probably too low to be entirely comfortable. The staff however, were on the whole very friendly (I mean, who can resist that grin!).

Manchester Press

After a bit of indecision (“just two lattes, actually, add a chai latte, no, make that another latte, and maybe a decaf cappuccino”) we ordered our coffees. They promptly arrived, and to our amusement, were decorated with coffee art that had that little extra bit of personality.

My happy coffee!

Did I mention that the waiter honestly wasn’t lying when he said the coffee was perfect? This could well turn my small caffeine addiction into something major. I might even end up ordering a large take-away coffee even when eating in just so I don’t feel guilty about buying two coffees.

But I’m getting a little off topic. The menu, while not extensive, didn’t fail to impress. The options were bagels, bagels and more bagels, but for someone who often gets a bagel craving, this isn’t a bad thing. Finally, three bagels were ordered:

Chorizo, cheese, capsicum, tomato and tomato chutney

Salmon, dill, cream cheese and capers

Goat's cheese, pesto, cherry tomato, roquette and capsicum

Don’t they just look amazing? There was plenty of talk of ‘next time I think I’ll try that one’ around the table so no-one can argue that they didn’t taste damn amazing. We discovered though that eating bagels with a knife and fork doesn’t work well with a low table, and that once they’re picked up, the pesky hole in the middle is a sneaky path of escape for the toppings. Ah, the things you learn about life over lunch, and may there be plenty more lunches (and maybe breakfasts too) here.

[Update – 5th May 2011: I’ve been back a few times recently and have been a little disappointed that their menu hasn’t changed at all. Somehow, I thought that this place would naturally have a seasonal menu seeing as their range is so limited, but it looks like this hasn’t happened yet, if indeed it ever will. The food and coffee are still amazing, and there’s definitely something to be said for a cafe that has you smiling every time you walk through the entrance.]

Manchester Press
8 Rankins Lane, Melbourne
Mon-Fri 7am-5pm, Sat 9am-5pm

Manchester Press on Urbanspoon

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