Monday, 18 April 2011

St Ali, Farringdon

Nothing like starting off your weekend with a flat white and a Mexican.

And now we can. No need to be shy about it. Because one of my favourite Melbourne coffee shops has just hit London. St Ali has opened a new outpost in Farringdon. *High fives the computer screen, moonwalks backwards across living room, does the Risky Business dance on the coach*.

St Ali is said to be named after "the patron saint of coffee", Ali ibn Umar al-Shadhili, the man who first introduced coffee beans to the Muslim mystics. They make some of the best coffee in Melbourne, where the competition is hot, and now they're doing it in style in London.

My flat white was seriously good. I don't even know what blend it was, so enthusiastic was I to wallow in the smooth, coffee, heavenly goodness that I last tasted in South Melbourne. There was no time for inquisitive banter. TPG had a rich and pure drip filter coffee which was well worth the wait.

But, best of all, the Mexican has come to town. The Mexican, oh the Mexican. The Mexican is, my friends - crispy corn fritters, creamy, salty halloumi, sweet sliced tomato, sour kasundi and 2 poached eggs. Happy, happy days.

Another serve of poached eggs came with 4 large pieces of thick sourdough (too much for even us to eat) and 2 runny poached eggs - bargainous value at £5, while I think the Mexican was about £9. (This probably better value than most breakfasts in Melbourne these days).

The interior at St Ali in Farringdon is along the same lines as the industrial, hollowed out factory look in South Melbourne, although slightly more polished and newbie looking - and I don't like it quite as much. But it's a huge space (the bathrooms are bigger than my flat) with high ceilings, big impressive looking coffee machines and a chunky wooden communal table in the window. The stools there are at an annoying, knee hitting height, and it's a bit dark inside, but otherwise it's all good.

This part of town is becoming quite the foodie hub, with Bistrot Bruno Loubet across the road and St John and Vinoteca around the corner. As far as breakfasts and coffee goes, St Ali can hold its head high amongst them.

St Ali, 27 Clerkenwell Road, Farringdon, EC1M 5RN (Tel: 0778 011 2631)

St Ali on Urbanspoon


  1. Looks fab, can't wait to try it! I'll be working in that area soon, looking forward to all the foodie spots! Will it stand up to Caravan...?

  2. That dish does look delicious but am wondering...what's Mexican about the Mexican?!

  3. Coffee has a patron saint? :)

    That Mexican looks peachy.

  4. The Mexican looks fantastic, but I agree, with Su-Lin, it doesnt seem very "Mexican" Does look tasty though

  5. The Perfect Trough - Aah, big question. Actually, I STILL haven't tried Caravan, although have heard good things.

    Su-Lin and London Lady - I think it's probably the presence of the almighty corn.

    Meemalee - It was news to me too, but I'm running with it!

  6. AH! I was talking toa Melbournian Irealnd based coffee roaster about these guys and was determined to go down! Now, I am going today :)

  7. Oh my, The Hungry One is going to be THRILLED. That latte art is off the chain.

  8. Ah you made it - knew it wouldn't take you long. So excited about having St Ali in London.

  9. Niamh - I hope you enjoyed your taste of Melbourne in London!

    Tori - Ha!

    Gourmet Chick - As soon as you reminded me, I could think of nothing else - was perfect antidote to dealing with rude Hatton Garden man around the corner that morning.

  10. What a superb write up, must check this place out pronto.

  11. Great review. To answer the comments from your other commenter, apparently the Mexican Cousin is called that because one of the owners has an actual Mexican Cousin who came up with the recipe idea. I wrote a review too, but just of the coffee at: Now I'm off to read your reviews of Kaffine and Tapped & Packed.


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