Like the discovery of most commodities, coffee was highly prized, mostly misunderstood and appreciated for its medicinal purposes. We’re talking about the 15th century, here. Fast-forward a few hundred years past the Y2K and you’ll see the beginnings of the ST. ALi Family in South Melbourne in 2005 placing a strong ethos on quality beans and unique brewing methods.
Yes, we take our coffee very seriously- serious enough to be named one of the most pretentious things ever in a Buzzfeed listicle in 2013.
But, that’s not all we’re known for. Head Barista, Matt Perger placed first in the World Coffee & Good Spirits Championship in 2014; Second in the 2013 World Barista Championship for his redial, rethink on filter coffee- a paradigm shift in the category- as well as winning first place in the 2012 World Brewer’s Cup.
Matt Perger and his coffee disciples or boy band counterparts have toured all over the globe starring in pop-up cafes, master classes and merchandise signings.
We thought that café food could be more than just some avocado on toast… and serious coffee deserves serious food.
This has not gone unnoticed: in 2013 St ALi won ‘Best Food Cafe’ in Melbourne from The Age Good Cafe Guide.
Today, we have Executive Chef Andrew Hearnden in charge of the pans. Inspired by the likes of Alain Ducasse, Tom Aikens, the Roux brothers and Fergus Henderson, Hearnden has headed up kitchens in some of Melbourne’s finest – from Entrecote City, to the much-loved Gills Diner. A native Kiwi, Hearnden did his time in London at The Orange, Great Eastern Dining Room and The Botanist on Sloane Square and more.
After years spent supping at St ALi on Sunday mornings, he finally decided to join the team:
“I spent over six years of my career in London kitchens, so I know how to put on a great breakfast. Upholding St ALi’s reputation of pleasing customers, while producing high quality meals at seemingly light speed has been an exciting challenge, but one I am totally up for. You’ll be seeing more exciting menu developments in the future so watch this space.”
With Hearnden at the helm, food is no second fiddle; he has turned up the heat to create a truly inspired, hybrid restaurant-café menu.
Things may be a little left of centre at ST. ALi, but never done by halves.