A note to property developers and real estate marketers that insist on naming Canberra buildings after places on the other side of the world: Just stop it! If there is a recently completed building in Canberra with a more stupid name than Manhattan on the Park, I’ll eat my hat. Why? It’s out of context. Out of place. Out of style.
That said, 332 Manhattan, the café that opened this morning on the corner of this property has made the right decision, considering the landlords have emblazoned the word MANHATTAN across the awning directly above its door. And it is, after all, number 332 of this awkwardly named building.
But like a book that should not be judged by its cover, 332 Manhattan is not about pretending to be somewhere else, but rather, about supporting our city and our region and highlighting the best of local produce. Here you will find espresso coffee, supplied by Lonsdale Street Roasters, just a couple of blocks away. Tea is from Canberra tea-masters Adore, and chai comes from Queanbeyan based RealChai.
A range of Canberra region artisan food items are on display and available to take home, including chocolates from Little Monster Chocolate and Lindsey & Edmunds Fine Chocolates, conserves from Black Horse Fine Foods, honey from Canberra Urban Honey, and olive oil from Homeleigh Grove to name a few.
332 Manhattan’s marketing manager, Emma Batchelor, explains that it is part of their mission to support local businesses as much as they can. She has been instrumental in sourcing the local producers, making the café one of two outlets in Canberra to stock Bison Homewares, and commissioned local artist Lexi Keelan and photographer Kira Dowling to contribute to the fit-out.
Emma has also put in place a Baker in Residence program. She has approached a number of local bakers, both commercial and home based, and asked them to supply 332 Manahttan on a rotational basis. The items will change on an almost daily basis, and complement the in-house offer of the café.
Owners Tom and Dan Butt have brought together a kitchen team that is being guided in the early stages by well-known chef Paulo Milinesi from Black Fire, and the menu reflects his consultancy with a number of Italian themed dishes. Pasta features prominently with offerings like tortellini of goat’s cheese with wild mushrooms and pecorino, or spaghetti with pork belly, capers and spicy tomato sauce.
Sandwiches may be filled with oven-roasted tomatoes, zucchini and eggplant or prosciutto San Daniele, fresh mozzarella and rocket. Breakfast is a big part of the offer here, and includes parfait with fresh and dry fruits, toasted Canberra muesli with first milk yoghurt, or a number of egg offerings that include standards along with some unique creations.
Of Paulo’s involvement, Tom Butt had this to say: “We met Paulo through Rob Salafia (Salafia & Co) who did our fit-out. Rob is a partner at Black Fire, and he introduced us. We’ve been blown away by Paulo’s generosity, and it was amazing how much assistance they gave us.” Once more, this is testament to the way locals support locals in our community, and all the more reason to visit 332 Manhattan, a place with a name from the other side of the globe, but with its heart firmly entrenched at home.
332 Manhattan is open Tuesday to Saturday from 7am to 9.30pm, and Sunday to Monday from 7am to 4pm.