Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Divine Experiences @ St Ali

Sorry guys - this post is more about the food at St Ali than the coffee at St Ali... Just putting it out there right at the start so that all you coffee-fanatics aren't disappointed when you reach the end of it and realise that I've mentioned the coffee a grand total of THREE times. (Yup, it's been mentioned twice already in this paragraph - so expect one final mention later-on in this post, i.e. 2 + 1 = 3 :p)

So I'd never eaten at St Ali until 2 months ago when my housemates and I decided to try it out after our forage through the South Melbourne market. I'd never wanted to eat at St Ali before because I'd heard that the food was generally overpriced and overrated. Harsh.

But boy oh boy was I in for a surprise! It turned out that they had revamped their WHOLE menu and I found my eyes glazing over from the divine descriptions of each item on offer. Did I want a "My Mexican Cousin" or a "63 Degrees Above (Not Below)" or "The Full Spanglish"? So much to try, but so little stomach space... (Did I hear someone say "first world problems"?)

Sigh. Life is tough sometimes.

So after some serious life/death contemplation, I decided to give the 63 degrees dish a go. Eggs cooked at 63 degrees for 63 minutes, sprinkled with "migas" (crispy fried bread), topped with cauliflower puree, white truffle oil and candied prosciutto. It was like I'd died and gone to heaven. Seriously. The white truffle oil and prosciutto were the icing on the cake for this dish. I was one happy person :)

My housemate's mom, who had joined us for brunch, ordered the syphon coffee - I must say, for a person who really isn't into this whole scene, it's a pretty cool concept. Watching how it was brewed and passed through the filter using a siphon made me really miss my chemistry lab classes. Nerd much?

63 Degrees Above (Not Below) - how precise...
So good was my experience that 2 months ago that I vowed to return to try the other dishes on the menu. And so I did, a few weeks later. This time I ordered the "My Mexican Cousin" with St Ali's home-made chorizo on the side. Warning: this is one massive meal - small bird-sized eaters like me will definitely be better of sharing it with another person. If the 63 degrees eggs had taken me to heaven, this meal was the god of all gods. I cannot remember being more blown away... (Except that time when the crazy Melbourne wind literally blew me away..)

Secret recipe corn fritters - so light and fluffy and corny (they are made of corn after all) on the inside and crispy deep-fried goodness on the outside. The beauty of it almost brought me to tears.. Topped with fresh tomato, salad leaves, grilled haloumi & kasundi (tomato relish) with poached eggs, and not forgetting the awesome chorizo on the side. Guys, if you only have one chance to check-out St Ali, THIS is the dish you want to be ordering. Trust me - you won't regret it.

My Mexican Cousin
The service was your regular hipster-style experience (i.e. more cool than warm). The ambience was great - giant warehouse, lots of natural sunlight, lively brunch crowd - you really can't ask for more.

Defs worth checking out. Mind you, expect to be around $25 poorer at the end of it.

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