St Ali at Clerkenwell
For reasons that I can’t quite figure out, we’ve been heading out for breakfast more frequently this year compared to previous years. Perhaps it’s because we keep hearing about good breakfast places and obviously K and I simply cannot resist a good fry-up. That said, St Ali is NOT your typical ‘caff’ as such. There are no fry-ups here but the menu does have a good range of breakfast dishes with some sandwiches, fresh fruits, pastries and cakes thrown in.
On our visit with a friend, I fancied The Usual Suspects – eggs either poached, scrambled or fried on sourdough bread with homemade spiced tomato kasundi (Bengali mango pickle) with two lists of ‘add-ons’ of which I chose smoked salmon and sautéed spinach. Our friend had the same ‘suspects’ but with grilled haloumi whilst K had the French toast with smoked bacon, organic maple syrup and caramelised walnuts. All our dishes were generally well-cooked, my eggs were perfectly poached with a good ‘wobble’ and K was especially impressed with the smoky, chewy bacon rind.
The decor is laid-back with bare brick walls, a long wooden bench at the front and the staff seemed quite chilled out too. It’s a place to come for a relaxing and long brunch on a weekend. We arrived just after 10am on a Saturday and the place was already packed with young families and twenty-somethings catching up on a bit of gossip.
Apparently, St Ali hails from Melbourne and is said to have a pretty decent reputation down under, especially for its coffee. All the coffee bean roasting is done on site in a big roaster at the back of the ground floor dining area. The two flat whites I had were good – delivering on taste but unfortunately it doesn’t beat my favourite place for a flat white – Climpson and Sons on Broadway Market. The coffee simply has more body and aroma – just a matter of personal preference, is all.
Price for breakfast plates as above for three persons with 6 coffees, a muffin and service charge came to £47.42.
St Ali is located at 27 Clerkenwell Road EC1M 5RN which is just under 10 minutes walk from Farringdon station. Also round the corner from the top of St John Street.