A friend introduced me to a new iPhone app on Friday. Consequently, ‘The Melbourne Coffee Review’ put me on a tram to South Melbourne in search of exceptional coffee. After following the appropriately pocket-sized Google map provided, we found ourselves down a graffiti adorned back street heading toward what looked like an old auto shop. When you walk into St Ali’s South Melbourne you can’t help but be slightly dazzled by the space it occupies. Bare concrete floors, recycled furniture and naked globes hanging from exposed beams, the industrial decor matches well with the open space of the converted warehouse. There is a choice of large communal tables, or for those who prefer it a little cosier, there are nooks and crannies that break up the space just enough to stop it from feeling like an old school canteen. The staff should be given plenty of tips for their upbeat and attentive service as they navigated their way around without so much as a pencil or pager.
As for the coffee we had come to sip, well it was all I had imagined. Brewed to perfection by the nimble and experienced hands of the St Ali baristas. Served at textbook temperature, in mugs you could comfortably wrap your hands around. Extra points goes to the use of Bonsoy soy milk, a rarity in most cafes. Although my friend was disappointed with her second cup, it still wasn’t enough to dampen our appreciation.
Although we were just there for the coffee, I did get a look at their menu which was extensive in it’s choice and flavour for breakfast and lunch. My friend did sample one of the cakes on display however, and the Lemon and Coconut slice was described as tasting like ‘lemon pancakes’. And she was right. Check out the menu for yourself.
The name St Ali is said to have come from Al-Shadhili. This so-called patron saint of coffee is supposed to have brought the first coffee to Mocha in Yemen after having discovered its medicinal qualities while in Ethiopia at the end of the 14th century. Wherever the name came from, it’s worth taking a visit down to St Ali for some of the best coffee in Melbourne.
12/18 Yarra Pl
(03) 9686 2990