The Manse, Ingresso, First Love Coffee: three new cafes to try in Melbourne's CBD

The porchetta roll at Ingresso, part of the Next Hotel at 80 Collins.
The porchetta roll at Ingresso, part of the Next Hotel at 80 Collins. Photo: Supplied

If city workers power Melbourne's CBD, then coffee fuels those workers. And no doubt they will be pleased to find a crop of new cafes to help with the daily grind.

The team behind Rustica opened First Love Coffee on March 10 beneath the new Collins Arch apartment block. Open weekdays, it's their first venue devoted to, and named after, its specialty coffee range.

The salmon and green colour palette at First Love Coffee is inspired by raw coffee beans.
For Sofia Levin's Good Food story about new cafes opening in the Mel CBD, March 2021.

The salmon and green colour palette at First Love Coffee is inspired by raw coffee beans. Photo: Rebecca Newman

The elongated space, designed by Fiona Drago, is plucked straight from the pages of a design magazine, its colour palette inspired by raw coffee beans – with a standing bar at the window made from rose gum, and salmon terrazzo and green marble galore. There's a grab-and-go menu of brekkie rolls, bagels and healthy-option granola and chia cups, as well as sandwiches and salads for lunch.

Towards the top of the city, Axil Coffee Roasters is now brewing at Charter Hall's new $1.5 billion Wesley Place precinct, with a ground-level espresso bar in the recently completed tower and at The Manse cafe, set inside a heritage neo-gothic building built in 1859. Surrounded by glass towers, there's a substantial all-day menu for dine-in or takeaway, whether your appetite runs to ricotta hotcakes with passionfruit curd and meringue or a grilled porterhouse with shoestring fries and Paris butter.

Axil Coffee Roasters is now brewing at Charter Hall's new $1.5 billion Wesley Place precinct, both at The Manse cafe, inside a heritage neo-gothic building and in the adjacent tower.
Pic credit: Samara Clifford

The Manse cafe, part of the new $1.5 billion Wesley Place precinct in Lonsdale Street. Photo: Samara Clifford

Another piece in the 80 Collins precinct puzzle, teeny Ingresso opened quietly on March 1 alongside the discreet entrance of the new Next Hotel in Little Collins Street. There are three cosy booths indoors at which to enjoy Cartel coffee, house-made pastries, and kombucha on tap, plus outdoor seating for when spritz o'clock hits.

Ingresso is a teaser for La Madonna, from chefs Danny Natoli (Rina's, Neptune Food & Wine) and Adrian Li (Saigon Sally, Tokyo Tina). The anchor restaurant will open on the third floor of the 255-room Next Hotel just before Easter.

The menu will combine their Sicilian and Shanghai-Hong Kong heritage. The mixed marriage of flavours is already apparent on Ingresso's menu, where a mammoth porchetta roll (pictured top), the meat cooked with nectarines and garam marsala, sits alongside Hainanese Rooster Roll – poached chicken in a hot dog bun with cucumber, hot sauce and chilli.

First Love Coffee, open Mon-Fri 7am to 4pm at 447 Collins Street, Melbourne, firstlovecoffee.com.au

The Manse cafe, open Mon-Fri 7am-4pm at Wesley Place, 130 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne, wesleyplace.com.au

Ingresso, open daily 7am-8pm, 103 Little Collins Street, Melbourne, nexthotelmelbourne.com