I hadn’t been to St Ali before which to some might seem unusual since I’m always hanging around South Melbourne in the weekend. I guess for me, it was one of those places where I’d like the fury of hype to wane a little before I checked it out on my own. It’s one thing to start up a new hipster establishment, it’s another to maintain quality and interest in your business to attract a returning following.
I must say I was rather let down by the furnishing of the place. It appears really cluttered and messy. There is nothing wrong with the minimalist style of re-fitting an old building, but the ‘chaos approach’ makes the place look like a page out of old Fitzroy. Mind you, we are in South Melbourne.
I strolled up at 2.45pm, and with late lunch crowd was just leaving, the place was less than half filled. Promptly led to our seats right in front of the cashier/pastries, my order for the cold drip was immediately rung in. I was disappointed when it was served in run-of-the-mill canteen glasses. Further dismay was due to the coffee being slightly chilled rather than cold. I have been experimenting with cold press recently and I have discovered first hand that for cold coffee, the temperature is critical because the aroma and flavour profile changes dramatically. Still, the blend was palatable, but by no means impressive. It was good.
Their sweet bites looked attractive in the glass counter (not to mention the pretty lady behind!), the pavlova pillows dainty and the walnut meringue was enticing. However, I couldn’t pass up on the chance for some lemon cheesecake. IF ONLY it had been served to me. 20mins after I put in my request for it, no one had even gone close to retrieving one from the display. Also, when we were having our orders taken and after I had placed mine, my brother had his menu whipped from him before he was done reading through it.. I mean, come on.. seriously? Are you so keen on not having your customers appreciate your menu? Or were you disappointed that we were not there for more than just coffee? Maybe you’d like to put up a sign that says ‘minimum orders $20pp’?