St. Ali. The coffee Mecca of Melbourne.
And I don't drink coffee (or I would literally be destroying my house from bouncing off all the walls...).
But fortunately, there is something for everybody at St. Ali, in it's inconspicuous laneway location in South Yarra. You really wouldn't have a clue if you had passed it unless you were looking for it, with the only sign of it's location being a tiny little square sign with the St. Ali logo stuck up over the door.
I rarely find myself in South Melbourne, but with a Crowdmass voucher expiring, I dragged mum down for brunch with me.
St. Ali is heart-achingly hip. There's something about the slightly worn down looking space with it's eclectic collection of mismatched tables and chairs that just knows it's very smugly, but effortlessly hip. It's definitely very Melbourne.
It's quite more spacious than I expected it to be, yet there are little pockets were tables are hidden and various sitting areas, making wherever you sit, quite private and comfortable.
Naturally, mum being the coffee drinker between the two of us, mum had to have a latte. We were seated in a spot where we could discreetly eyeball the barista as he worked his magic. It was quite something as you could see the care that went into making the coffee, every cup had freshly poured milk and a new clean jug, and the way he poured the milk into the cups...was surprisingly elegant!
As a result, mum loved her coffee, she even had a second one. Which doesn't usually ever happen!
I on the other hand, went with my usual chai latte. Phwoar. If I thought the one at Lux Foundry was good, my mind was absolutely blown away with this one. I don't know what chai tea they use, but it was delicious and mixed with absolutely perfect milk. Like, I don't kid. I've never had frothed milk this silky and smooth. I sincerely wish I had the vocabulary to express exactly who much I loved this, but I unfortunately fall quite flat. Just go have it guys. Seriously.
Got mum to wear one of my rings to show how much she loved her coffee...mum and I both have a penchant for brightly coloured nails, she usually goes for just one colour where I always do two.
Waiting for food....
Mum ordered 'The Darkside'. The name makes me laugh a bit, whilst it does have Star Wars references, Brad's twitter is also "Darkside_Molko", teehee (now go stalk him (but don't tell him it was me!)).
The dish was a beautiful artistry of wild mushroom sauteed in roast garlic and basil butter with raddiccio, artichokes, rocket, dukkah marscapone and a poached egg served on sourdough. I mean, just look at it! Isn't it just one of the most beautiful breakfast dishes you've ever seen in your life?
Mum enjoyed the dish, but says it didn't really 'wow' her as much as she was hoping. And was maaaybe a little bit on the lean side. But for presentation, it definitely gets 10 out of 10 for me!
Being an egg and a corn fritter fiend, I couldn't go past the "My Mexican Cousin". 'Secret recipe' corn fritters, baby spinach, haloumi and kasundi with poached eggs (or fried eggs if that's how you prefer them). These were certainly not like any other corn fritters I've ever seen, but man, they were tasty. Absolutely insanely crunchy on the outside yet the inside contrasted that and was quite a bit softer and fluffier. Whilst not the typical corn fritter, I still enjoyed them, they were a bit doughier than I'm used to, but I loved the assortment of herbs and generous heaping of corn kernels in them. These went perfectly with the haloumi and poached eggs which happily bled their yolks all over everything for me. Something quite different, but I did very much enjoy them!
After our meal, as we were running low on coffee beans at home, mum decided to give their beans a try. We were given the 'Chompy' blend as mum wanted something rich and hearty. She later reported that their beans were some of the best they had and that the aroma and flavour were so much richer than beans she had just bought from the supermarket.
It really makes a difference folks!
So frankly, I'm a little heart broken that I don't live closer or spend more time in South Melbourne, I am smitten with their chai latte and love their quirky menu, covering everything and somewhat without being too cumbersome with choices. Suppose Brad hasn't been here yet so may just have to drag him back with me...