St Ali hits London – the latest chapter in London’s coffee renaissance

Slayer

Slayer: photography by Glenn Watson | http://coffeephotography.com

Well. We’ve been enjoying the revolution in the London coffee scene for a while now. The bar, in terms of coffee quality and cafe experience has been raised time and time again by the likes of Lantana, Kaffeine, Dose Espresso, Tapped and Packed, Penny University, Prufrock, Notes, Music and Coffee and others. We have also enjoyed coffee from a great range of roasteries. Monmouth once dominated the independent scene but now the excellent Square Mile is prolific although we can also enjoy coffee from a range of other roasteries – notably Hasbean from the Midlands and Union Hand Roasted.

Well. St ALi is the next step for this London scene. The famed Melbourne restaurant/cafe/roaster has now opened up a branch in Clerkenwell in London with fairly little publicity but a huge murmuring and twittering on the coffee scene. And it’s clear from the onset just how much thought, design, sweat and money has been put into this venture. Make no mistake – this is destined to be a great place to be!  This is a new addition to the scene on so many levels. Here are just a few outstanding points:

  • late opening – opening from early morning to late at night – not the first place in London to do this but a feature which allows people a different social option in the evening
  • roastery (two roasters!)  in house – again, not the only place to do this but the quality is very high. The emphasis is on bright, freshly roasted beans and St ALi develop relationships with a number of coffee producers. It has already proved an addition in terms of the variety of great beans available in London
  • Tim Styles. Formerly of Square Mile. Tim knows his stuff.
  • quality restaurant food. OK, from what I’ve had so far, it’s at it’s best at breakfast and brunch dishes although the lunch and dinner options are not to be sniffed at – a very tasty addition to Clerkenwell (hardly an area short on food options)
  • living green wall – first one I’ve seen inside a restaurant! These things are very expensive to install and maintain so it shows the intention of St ALi in London very clearly!
  • emphasis on the brew bar – a lot of people are going to be introduced to siphons, V60 pourovers and other methods here, I can tell! A huge rectangular bar dominates the ground floor.
  • cold drip coffee
  • – I’ve not had these in London before

  • Two espresso machines (one on each level) – including the first Slayer in the UK
  • The design  aesthetic
  • – quite a stunning place to visit and so different from other UK venues

Salad Wall at ST. ALi

Green Wall: photography by Glenn Watson | http://coffeephotography.com

So I’d recommend this place for the very friendly and knowledgeable staff, the great coffee (there really is an emphasis on freshly roasted beans here and coffees often have a bright, zesty quality associated with that), the food and the decor/design/atmosphere. I’ve enjoyed piccolos, flat whites, espressos (single origin and the ‘Champion’ blend, a ‘Magic’ (like a double ristretto short latte’), cold drip coffee and a Rwandan Buf syphon. I’m also brewing some of the Rwandan beans at home using an aeropress with some fabulous results. Oh and some great beer!
27 Clerkenwell Road (by the junction with St John Street) EC1M 5RN open daily Tube: Farringdon
Postscript: have to say that the launch party was a blast!

St ALi Cold Brewing

Cold Brew Drip Filter, Coopers Pale Ale, Champagne and Oysters: photography by Glenn Watson | http://coffeephotography.com

Slayer Packing Crate

Slayer Packing Crate: photography by Glenn Watson | http://coffeephotography.com

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