We heard much about St. Ali in South Melbourne, and finally decided to have brunch at this ‘holy’ place. St. Ali is located along the narrow street of Yarra Pl, mashed between graffiti-d warehouses and shop lots that looked abandoned (?). When we arrived, there were many people waiting along the shaded side of the street. There wasn’t any sign of St. Ali but we saw the address 12 -18, and people leaving and entering it. If it wasn’t daylight, this street may looked like part of a red-light district …
We waited for about 15 minutes before our names were called.
Service was excellent. A staff came to take drinks order as soon as we had settled down. We had Flat White ($4 each), and as usual a Babyccino ($0.5) for Lil’ M.. The coffee was quite good here, comparable to our favourite at Market Lane Coffee. Ms. L. actually prefer St. Ali‘s coffee now. We (, actually I) took awhile deciding on what to eat. The menu was fancy though.
Straight away, Ms. L. went for the corn fritters, My Mexican Cousin - secret recipe corn fritters, baby spinach, haloumi and kasundi with poached eggs ($17.5). We added a side – Avocado and Feta Mash ($4.5) for Lil’ M.. We saw most tables having the corn fritters. It was delicious! The way the fritters were made was different than the ones we’d tried. Ms. L. mentioned that it was comparable to Mart 130‘s. The St. Ali‘s version came with two eggs (none at Mart 130)!
This was one of the rare trips that I messed-up my order! I actually went for a salad (for brunch ? are you kidding me!?) – My Body is My Temple – raw beef salad with kholrabi, diakon, carrot with fish sauce, lime juice, coriander and sesame seed ($19.5). It was a good raw beef salad, very Asian, but wasn’t my kind of taste. Fortunately, Ms. L. passed over some of her fritters …
Despite the noisy atmosphere in this warehouse, brunch was great for Ms. L. and Lil’ M.. I shall let Ms. L. order for me when we return here (surely will!) for the corn fritters.
There were two little dramas that happened after paying for this meal. Firstly, I was charged $1 for credit surcharge though I actually paid with saving. I went back to St. Ali and the cashier gave me back a dollar. It was strange that the item charged for $1 was a ‘Single Origin 250g Open’ (?). After getting back in the car, I took a glance at the receipt again and saw that our corn fritters – My Mexican Cousin was charged $19.5 instead of the menu price of $17.5. I went back to St. Ali again and questioned the cashier. At first he said he’ll call his manager – but then he said “I trust you” and gave me $2 (?) Hmmm, well, it’s just $2 for me, but imagine the number of orders for My Mexican Cousin … no wonder this place is doing well! Anyways, do check what you are paying for here. (I went back to check St. Ali‘s website for their Dec 2011 – Jan 2012 menu and the My Mexican Cousin was $17.5)