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Review: 332 Manhattan

Michelle Brotohusodo

Sometime last year, there was a list making the rounds on the internet on how to open your own very trendy restaurant. This included such things as ‘make sure none of your furniture matches’, ‘expose all of the electrics and plumbing’, and ‘chuck some old books and some weird ornaments around the place’. I have nothing against such places—a lot of them serve great food and have a great atmosphere—but you can get a bit tired of every new café seeming to follow the list. So I was pleased to find that one of the latest additions to Canberra’s café scene, 332 Manhattan, has not.

Manhattan Exterior

332 Manhattan, Canberra’s newest cafe.

 

332 Manhattan takes its name from the building in which it’s situated. My friend lives in the building, and said the café had been busy from day one, which she thought was unusual for a new place. With that kind of buzz, we thought we should check it out, so we used it as an excuse to catch up for a Sunday breakfast (day seven).

Walking in, we noticed that it had a comfy, modern feel, with nice clean lines and lovely wood panelling along the counters. The colour scheme made it feel warm and inviting.

Manhattan Wood

Funky wood panelling in 332 Manhattan

 

As it was a cold morning, we chose a table at the back to be as far away as possible from the door. We then realised this was a bit dangerous, as 332 Manhattan sells a range of items, not just food and drink, and we were right next to the main haul. There were shelves filled with cookbooks, Keepcups (reusable coffee cups), Bison pottery beautifully displayed with camphor laurel bread boards, and more. Around the store were more goodies from locals, such as muesli from The Muesli Bar and chocolate from Lindsay and Edmunds and Little Monster.

Beautiful breadboards and Bison pottery for sale

Beautiful breadboards and Bison pottery for sale

As we sat and perused the menu, my friend observed that the windows were floor to ceiling, which was nice, as you could get the view without being outside and freezing. That said, the staff had the doors wide open at one point and it was quite cold even sitting as far away as we were, so I’m hoping they won’t do that in winter.

There was a decent range of dishes to choose from, both sweet and savoury, and I had a lot of trouble deciding what to order. I finally settled on the frittata, along with a freshly squeezed orange juice, and my friend chose the house beans and poached eggs, while her boyfriend decided to try the baked eggs.

My juice arrived first, along with my friend’s mug-sized latte (made with Lonsdale St Roasters coffee). We all let out a little exclamation at the sight of the juice. While it was just in a simple bottle, it looked really nice. And it also tasted really, really good. It’s not often people get drink envy over juice, but in this case my friends did. However, they were very pleased with their lattes, which they said had a nice flavour. My friend also said she liked that it was in a mug, because you could actually wrap your hands around it (the mug, not the coffee—that would hurt and be messy). And it was only $4, which is a pretty good price.

Fresh OJ and a Lonsdale St Roasters latte

Fresh OJ and a Lonsdale St Roasters latte

Then our food arrived. I was quite pleased with my frittata, which consisted of three eggs with ham, roasted potatoes, and pecorino cheese. A dish like this can be very heavy and stodgy, but this was fresh and, while filling, I didn’t feel bloated full—just nicely full.

Three egg frittata with ham, roasted potatoes and pecorino cheese

Three egg frittata with ham, roasted potatoes and pecorino cheese

My friend was also happy with her house beans and poached eggs, which had a lot of flavour (I tried some of it), with a rich tomato-y sauce. The eggs were also poached just right. It turned out that dish also came with sausage, which was fine for my friend, but we noted that this wasn’t stated on the menu, so if you were vegetarian you might have been in for a bit of a surprise.

House beans and poached eggs

House beans and poached eggs

As for my friend’s boyfriend’s baked eggs, which came with cherry tomatoes, bacon, mushrooms and melted double brie (yes, double), this was a bit of a surprise. I was expecting to see everything baked together, but this was all separated. That said, it looked pretty delicious, and there was a generous amount of bacon, which can never be a bad thing! My friend’s boyfriend thought the double brie with the bacon was a bit much (I think he felt his arteries clogging up), but I love brie and bacon so I thought it would have been fine—I’ll have to try it for myself next time.

Manhattan B&E

Baked eggs with cherry tomatoes, bacon, mushrooms and double (!) brie

 

I somehow didn’t notice until later that there were also a decent range of pastries and sweets on offer (must have been tired and hungry when I was ordering, I’m not a morning person), but I was a bit too full to fit anything in after my breakfast. I’ll just use it as another excuse to go back.

I really liked 332 Manhattan, and I’m looking forward to trying out not only the other breakfast options, but the pastries and lunch as well.

The essentials

The place: 332 Manhattan
Where: Unit 332, 240 Bunda Street, Civic
When: Monday 7am – 4pm, Tuesday to Friday 7am – 9pm, Saturday 8am – 9pm, Sunday 8am – 4pm.
Food: Breakfast, lunch, dinner, pastries.
Drinks: Coffee, tea, juice
Contact: Call (02) 6248 8771 or visit the Facebook page

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Michelle Brotohusodo

Michelle moved to Canberra vowing to stay for two years, tops. 10 years later, she’s a bona fide Canberra convert. When she’s not working in her day job as a public servant, she’s enjoying Canberra’s culinary delights or finding fun things to do/see in and around town. More about the Author

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