12-18 Yarra Place
South Melbourne Vic 3205
I’m almost ashamed to admit that the last time I found myself at this highly regarded micro roaster was over two years ago and really I can’t say much has changed. The coffee is as good as ever and continues to set the standard across town. I’m by no means a coffee aficionado, but the brew here is some of the best you’ll get. To their credit, it seems like everyone wants in on the action with a significant number of cafes proudly stocking the St Ali blend.
For those that are yet to visit, this really is the quintessential hipster café. Located in a well preserved old industrial property, it looks just as it did when it operated as a warehouse. It’s raw, rustic and full of character. There’s no fancy artwork or expensive furnishings in sight, just a stack of mismatched recycled tables and retro chairs that could have come from any 1970s home.
Complementing their exceptional coffee is a really strong food offering. The current menu is modern and inventive with a great balance between sweet and savoury dishes, albeit a bit on the pricier side. They cover all of the bases – burgers, fritters and eggs but all have a unique spin.
We decided to try two contrasting dishes, the buttermilk pancakes (with salted caramel, oreo crumb, madagascan vanilla bean cream and chocolate mint leaves) and the grains and carrot salad (pearl barley, wild rice, grains, seeds from kapai puku, carrots; roasted, raw and mashed, with leaves and green olives). The salad was every bit healthy and delicious. It was seasoned/dressed really well making it very flavoursome without compromising on nutritional value.
The pancakes were big and fluffy and tasted great when paired with the caramel and crumb. The only downside was that there wasn’t very much caramel, so once it was gone the pancakes were a bit on the dry side.
If you are yet to visit St Ali, there is no better time than the present to visit a cafe that is deserving of its long term success and should not be overlooked in favour of the latest fads in the market.