When you think of South Melbourne and coffee, your mind probably jumps straight to St. Ali. An institution for coffee lovers, St Ali also serves up brunch dishes with inventive names. We came here for a lazy Sunday brunch and will share the dishes that we ordered.
We were in a meaty mood and ordered their ‘Up seven creek without a paddle’ steak sandwich which came served ‘open’ and with smoked onions, garlic mayo, baby beetroot, gruyere and salad. The sliced beef had great flavour, but was a little chewy, but fortunately the moist creaminess from the garlic mayo balanced this out. To be honest, the deconstructed nature of the dish made it a little awkward to eat as each element was quite chunky, but the flavours worked well together.
Extra points if you pick the reference of the name of this dish – the Koo Koo Ca Choo. This dish starts with a potato hash that is topped with wild and cultivated mushrooms, poached eggs, shaved gruyere, chlorophyll and drizzled with a truffled vinaigrette. This dish was a touch disappointing, I love potato hash’s, but this hash didn’t have that crunch that I love biting into and was a little soggy – I’m not sure if this was due to the sauces that were used on top, but either way, I would have enjoyed it a lot more if it had some crispiness to provide with dish with some texture contrast. Once again, the flavours of the dish went well together.
Because we were in a bit of a dessert mood, we also ordered a raspberry tart to end with. This was a very enjoyable tart, the pastry was nice and buttery, and the chocolate ganache was rich and decadent. I also like how they had gone to the trouble of piping the fresh raspberries with jam to transform them into little parcels of sweetness! This was a delightful way to end the meal and one of the better cafe pastries we’ve tried.
Overall, we thought that St. Ali was a bit underwhelming. The dishes were nice enough, but just didn’t really stand out. The raspberry tart was delicious though! We may come back one day to give it another go and try some different dishes.