While in the Yarra Ranges, I took the opportunity to visit a true gentleman of Melbourne’s coffee scene, Sonam Sherpa, at his outer eastern cafe Manna Lane. Many will know Sonam from cafes such as Shopfront in Collingwood, and Phase One Coffee in Brunswick. Earlier this year he teamed up with friends Tyla and Bryden, and took his passion for coffee and provenance of produce out to Mooroolbark. It’s situated over 30kms east of Melbourne city, but having a family property on which much of the kitchens ingredients are grown, does help fulfil the dream. The name, Manna Lane, pays homage to the laneway the café is located on, where an Australia eucalypt, Manna gum grows. It’s a tranquil area, surrounded by tall trees, and fresh mountain air. With the new outdoor furniture arriving this month, Manna Lane will truly be a peaceful retreat for Melbourne foodies. Inside you’ll find a compact space, with a clean white brick walls, lots of greenery (including fresh herbs and microgreens growing at the front window), and bench seating that runs along the main wall, and is upholstered in a tartan wool fabric.
They wanted to keep things simple, and let the produce speak for itself, which is exactly what the paddock to plate menu does. Its “Honest food”, full of flavor and nourishing goodness. Breakfast is served all day, and includes Corn Fritters with poached egg, paprika yoghurt, chutney, and sumac; Smoked Trout scramble served with pickled fennel and dill on toast; Croque Madame with aioli, cornichon, and pickled onions; French Toast with caramelised banana and lemon mascarpone; and the Breakfast Burger with bacon streak or mushroom, with scrambled eggs and a manna lane sweet spice relish. Hearty lunch options include the Manna Cheese Burger with 160g beef patty; the roasted mushroom burger with babaganoush and avocado; and the Manna Spuds aka. Thrice cooked potatoes with aioli and chives.
Coffee is sourced from Wood & Co, who are a small roastery that focuses on quality and not quantity. That’s precisely who you get with their coffee- a quality cup. I usually prefer a single origin for my long black, but from past experience with their Twin Peaks blend, I confidently requested this seasonal blend. Its currently made up of 50% Colombian El Miridiano and 50% Ethiopian Konga, and is best described as having sugarcane sweetness, hints of cranberry, and a creamy milk chocolate body.
9/79b Brice Ave
Mooroolbark VIC 3138