There comes an important time in any man’s life when your attitude to a relationship changes; this isn’t the first kiss, the introduction to their parents or even your wedding day. It’s actually the first day you share your food with your partner. As a young, naive boy I was always worried about someone stealing my share of food, I lived my life in the shadow of Joey Tribbiani’s ‘Joey doesn’t share food’ mentality; going out for Tapas was like the war on oil. Until one day there was an epiphany; what if she doesn’t like the dish? What if she gets full before me? What if she orders better than me? This was the day I started sharing food, and all was going well until St Ali.
I have a soft spot for St Ali as it’s one of the first places I ate at when arriving in Melbourne. It’s trendy warehouse feel, booming atmosphere and pioneering coffee (which they roast themselves) add up to a great experience.
In the spirit of sharing I ordered the Koo Coo Ca Choo – Crispy potato hash, mushroom duxelle, poached eggs, aged cheddar, stuffed flat mushrooms & truffle vinaigrette. As you will see this was a master-piece, for a moment I felt like I was in a bad chocolate commercial, mmm-ing and arrr-ing, reminiscent of a bad night in a hotel with paper thin walls in Echuca (different story, another time perhaps). The mushroom duxelle was beautifully rich (probably too rich for a lot of people I must admit) and the eggs were oozing all over my hash, I was on top of the world for half a dish… until it was whipped away and..
Jax’s Corn Fritters, halloumi, kasundi and poached eggs was slapped in front of me. This is the problem with sharing; you have to share the good times and bad times and roll with your partners orders. This was that time, the very first time. The halloumi was good, the kasundi was delicious, light and fresh but the main event could have caused arguments. The ‘secret recipe’ corn fritters were stodgy, lacked flavour and there were too many for that consistency. After the second dish I was disappointed, I used to be able to eat what I liked in the days of a six pack and muscle definition, I walked out of St Ali feeling and looking like a pregnant Middle Park mother.
All in all, the coffee was incredible but the dishes were poles apart and not particularly cheap when compared with other similar cafe spots;
Price – 5.5
Quality – 7
Atmosphere – 9