by James Ridenour
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St Ali

For years now St Ali has quietly been conquering Melbourne’s coffee and cafe world.  Tucked away on an unassuming lane-way in South Melbourne is an old warehouse conversion that is one of Melbourne’s most well known and  popular cafes.  The ambiance is casual with second hand tables and massive old posters adorning the cavernous interior of the warehouse.   The cafe is eclectic in every sense  and this is matched on the menu.  St Ali is a bit of an off beat and quirky experience and perhaps this is one of the factors of its huge success.

The cafe’s is always busy, especially on weekends so be prepared for a wait.   One of the main reasons for this is the coffee is perfectly balanced and wonderfully consistent.  This is no doubt because St Ali is also a coffee roaster.  They supply no only their own beans but also their sister cafes St Ali North, Sensory Lab and Liar Liar as well.  Owner Salvatore has even gone to the extent of buying a 20 hectare coffee plantation in Columbia not only to supply his operation with quality coffee but also to educate and train his team.

The menu at St Ali is diverse and interesting with a large variety of quality breakfast and lunch choices to accompany the main attraction, coffee.  There are also several great choices for vegetarians.  St Ali does my favourite egg dish whimsically called My Mexican Cousin.  The dish consists of a secret recipe for corn fritters, poached eggs, savoury chutney and grilled halumi.  It’s one of the best breakfasts you can have in Melbourne.  Some other favourites are the jerk chicken, the brekkie burger with the lot and smoked salmon gnocchi.

Salvatore has been conquering the Melbourne coffee scene with a formula that clearly works, consistently great food and coffee served by a quirky and fun team.

I highly recommend you discover the legend that is St Ali.  Tell Salvatore James sent you!

St Ali is located at 12 – 18 Yarra Place, South Melbourne and can be contacted on 03 9686 2990 or on Twitter @ST_ALI ‎


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