Sunday, October 29, 2006

St Ali, South Melbourne

Two things trace their origins to Yemen: coffee; and the bin Laden family. Yes, that's right, we have an Islamic Sufi to thank for our favorite morning brew. His name was Abu'l Hasan 'Ali ibn Umar al-Shadhiliyya. He's the patron saint of coffee-growers, coffee-house proprietors and coffee-drinkers. And now there's a cafe named after him... St Ali, 12-18 Yarra Place, South Melbourne, Tel +61 3 9686 2990. They roast their own beans.

They also serve organic eggs. Any way, as long as it's poached. You can have poached, poached or poached. Indeed, there are only 3 variations. Poached with "grilled" mushrooms and "roquette" pesto. Poached with prosciutto, ricotta, spinach and roast chilli tomato. Or jusy plain poached. With nothing. Except toast. And they charge you $2 to make any change to this dizzying array of options.

Lucky for me the poached with mushies sounded OK. But it wasn't much better than OK. It was just good. Toast smeared with a tasty pesto. A scattering of shrivelled mushies. And a couple of soft-poached eggs.

The strength of this place is supposed to be its coffee, and my latte was very good. But, being picky, my cappucino was a bit over-filled with milk, and had only a very thin layer of froth.

St Ali is a very cool venue, with a spacious designer industrial look and feel, with clever use of recycled materials. They've even managed to weave a couple of outdoor spaces into what seems to be a former factory space.

I'm not sure if there are any Yemeni dishes, but you can get Egyptian Breakfast Beans... spiced fava beans with a tahini yoghurt and citrus dressing served on pide.

14/20 "fresh roasted"



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just dined there this morning - I will give them due credit for their coffee but their food wasn't to die for, all ingredients fresh and combined in an attempt to excite the palate, yet there was just something missing. Like salt.
Worth a 2nd try though!

4/5/08 17:03  
Blogger Unknown said...

They seem to have improved a lot in the past few years from what I heard, or perhaps i haven't tried better ones but I think their breakfast is awesome - the poached egg salad with bacon, french toast with maple and poached peaches, and amazing-looking plate of corn fritters) and their coffee is absolute divine. I would rate it a lot higher. If you go there on the weekends, expect a long line to get your table!

11/12/09 11:16  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wasn't expecting much of this place but visited with a large group (we had booked thankfully). The staff were attentive and gave us plenty of space when needed.

The coffee's were great (but didn't stay hot enough). The food was........ three days later I am still thinking about it and figuring out how quick i can get back!

Had the Mexican Cousin - corn fritters, haloumi, poached eggs, and it was delicious. Kept eating despite being full because it seemed such a waste. Everything else looked good too.

Long queues as we left which would drive me nuts but it's probably worth it!

22/12/09 12:42  

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