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Tuesday, 29 January 2013

St Ali North

In Melbourne's coffee scene, there are two venues that come up a LOT (plus many, many more - this being Melbourne and all): Proud Mary, which I am privileged to live near, and St Ali, which until recently, meant a trip south of the river. It was therefore very exciting to hear that St Ali recently decided to bank on its good name and open a second venue in North Carlton, aptly named St Ali North (815 Nicholson Street).

Bike parking

It's easy to find - Velo Cycles sits on the Park Street bike path, just where it crosses Nicholson Street, and St Ali North is behind the bike shop. I imagine all those serious northside cyclists are a huge untapped market - and the northside locals will bolster the success of St Ali North.

After our large Saturday night drinking sesh at Ferdydurke, my housemate and I dragged my hungover sister and her friend out for a recovery breakfast. We got a park right outside (despite this being the busiest I've ever seen Park Street - there must be a hot new place in the neighbourhood or something) and picked our way through hipster bodies on the grass and vintage bicycles to the entrance. Flagging down a clipboard-wielding manager, we put our names down for a table and relocated to the grass to wait. There are several outdoor umbrellas strategically planted around the place, made with the coolest fabric: a green leafy pattern with thinned sections that create an arty shadow effect. With the umbrellas, sunshine, and state we were all in, it was pretty difficult to get up again. But the promise of COFFEE was a lure too great to resist.

Waiting pew

Outdoor umbrella


We were shown to a table in the light, bright, clean and spacious interior, where surprisingly a few tables were unclaimed (perhaps they'd all *just* been cleared for new customers? or maybe St Ali purposely ups the cool ante by making you wait). A funky blue geometric pattern decorates the central counter, which houses two massive coffee machines. The overall interior design looks like it's aiming for ultra modern mixed with kinda antiquey:

Main counter

Exterior post office boxes

I had a beautiful single origin coffee. All the coffees ordered by our table featured different latte art patterns. Quality AND attractive. Tick!

The food was excellent and definitely hit the hangover spot. There was a slight glitch with one dish we received (an tiny errant lettuce bug), but nothing major, and it was dealt with quickly and smoothly, by way of an apology and the dish being taken off our bill.

Poached eggs with avocado and salmon

Mexican eggs

Scrambled eggs, avo and bacon

Weird beetroot juice thing with awesome swizzle stick

I also really like it when cafes serve demerara sugar. It looks like glitter (my favourite)!

Demerara sugar

We sat around for a while after we finished our meals, unsure about the bill situation. Turns out you rock up to the counter and pay when you're ready.

This is a classy joint that will undoubtedly match the popularity and success of its south-side sibling. I will definitely be back.

Laneway opposite St Ali North

St Ali North on Urbanspoon