10 English Street
Essendon Fields Vic
La Manna Direct has most definitely achieved ‘institution’ status in the North Western suburbs of Melbourne. This huge one stop shop, situated at Essendon Airport has made a name for itself as the go to for high quality produce. Stocking fresh and great quality locally grown fruit and vegetables, every cut of meat you can think of (seriously, everything from standard beef mince, to goat and rabbit), a large array of imported Mediterranean foods, a massive delicatessen, an amazing bakery (stocking the best Nutella cheesecake I’ve ever eaten), a yogurt bar, a bottle shop, standard groceries and last but not least a fantastic café. There isn’t a person that I know in the area that hasn’t either shopped or enjoyed a meal at La Manna.
Brought to us by the La Manna family (of La Manna Banana fame. Sing it with me now ‘la Manna banana, la ma na na na, la manna banana, make those bodies sing!! I know I know, you’re welcome), their main focus has been to deliver a high quality product with great personalised service, both of which they’ve achieved. Their service is honestly second to none. On one occasion I was shopping with my son in the stroller and struggling to hold my very full basket of groceries, when one of their amazing staff spotted me, walked over with a trolley and offered to push it around for me. Dead set!! Then to top it off, he loaded up the conveyor belt at the check out and then loaded my car. This isn’t an isolated event, there have been atleast five other times where someone has either loaded up the conveyor or taken groceries to my car. Seriously, I mean it when I say their service is second to none. Clearly half of the West feels the same way, visit on any day of the week and you’ll find the place full of shoppers and dinners.
Being located in a huge warehouse on an airstrip doesn’t really sound like the best spot for a café and sure, it looks more like a cafeteria than a hip Melbourne eatery, but the La Manna café hits all of the right buttons. Offering an extensive menu, which is heavily geared towards those looking for a superfood hit (acai bowls, chia porridge and the likes), but at the same time still manages to satisfy those of us that aren’t to keen on the grainy stuff. I’ve grabbed food from the café on a number of occasions, but it’s always been something I can eat on the run (foccacias and wraps), so this week I decided to take half an hour out of my grocery shop and sit in to enjoy a meal.
As I expected they were insanely busy, there was huge queue of people waiting to order food and there wasn’t a free table in site, but as is usually the case the queue moved quickly and the tables turned over just as fast. I’m not big on the super healthy stuff, so I opted for a steak sandwich (because in my head it’s healthier than a burger) and it was absolutely delicious! It had a great quality minute steak that was so incredibly tender it just about melted in my mouth. The steak was topped with a piece of crispy bacon, jarlsberg cheese and caramelised onion all of which tasted great and made for an awesome steak sandwich that I just about inhaled. It was a decent portion size, but it was so good, I could have easily gone another.
So if you’re not from the area and think it’s too far away, I strongly recommend you make the trip out west and visit La Manna. You’ll get everything you need (and more), plus a great feed all in the one spot.