Wednesday, September 21, 2011

St. Ali, Clerkenwell: A breakfast/brunch place that I would travel for

I’ve been waiting and waiting and waiting to go to St. Ali since I heard about it. What was I waiting for? I was waiting for my awesome group of girls to head there with me. Trying to set a date is not easy with one who travels extensively for work and the others busy with plans and holidays. We finally stick our heads in and decided on a date.

Baked goodies

St. Ali is not the easiest place to get to but on that fateful morning, the sun was smiling with its sunny rays as I made my way there. I was greeted with the warmness of the wood décor and the big island right in the centre where pastries are arranged on one side waiting enticingly to be eaten.

I found my friends and we started checking out the menu while catching up. I have to say it was negotiation time as we were deciding on what we fancies and ensuring that we have as many variety to try as possible. There were so many in the menu that I wanted to try that it was quite tough to decide.


Chilled coffee

In the end, decisions were made and we placed out orders. Of course we had to order some coffee at St. Ali and chilled coffee and cappuccinos were ordered. They were good.

Our food started arriving and we started to tuck in.

Dutch oven house braised beans on sourdough toast, salted ricotta lemon mint and a poached egg £6.75

LB ordered this as I only got a taste but it was given the thumbs up and very filling indeed.

corn fritters
Mexican cousin £9.25

The Mexican Cousin includes corn fritters, baby spinach, haloumi cheese that has been grilled with a poached egg. I love corn fritters, at least the type that I eat in Sydney. Light and crunchy with the taste of corn still prominently shining. This version from St. Ali is called Mexican Cousin for a reason. It was unctuous, heavy and starchy which wasn’t to my liking.

Usual Suspects

The Usual Suspects £4.50 (+ mushrooms £2.5 + chorizo £3.5)

Ahh, what can the usual suspects be? It was eggs cooked to your liking for which I got scrambled eggs which comes with sourdough toast and tomato kasundi. I added in mushrooms and chorizo too.

This is everything you want from a breakfast/brunch. Light creamy fluffy eggs, the toast were perfect and the tomato kasundi was just so tasty. Mushrooms and chorizo were cooked well and I happily tucked in.

Banana bread
Banana Bread £4.75

The absolute star was the Banana bread. Sydneysiders are crazy about their banana breads and I missed ordering that for breakfast in the morning. It was best toasted with that thin layer of sugar which caramelises. Sweet and rich, I love it. The banana bread here was light which is different to the usual heavy rich banana bread that is made with overripe bananas. The banana in this was most likely slightly under-ripe or only just ripe to give the lightness. A spread of date and orange jam on the banana bread, which had the texture of chutney and was sweet and savoury at the same time. Topped with a dollop of espresso mascarpone and brittle snaps.

The whole things works and it was like heaven in my mouth. The lightness of the bread, the slight hint of espresso in the mascarpone that just melts in your mouth. Add a swipe of the jam and it was another explosion of different flavours and textures that just combines so beautifully. I was dreaming about this for days after.

I dreamt about it so much that when Sam decided to head there, I couldn’t help heading there again even though I would only have a quick one hour before I had to head off. Filtered coffee was ordered this time which I tried and it was good.

Usual suspects

The Banana bread was ordered which brought me to cloud nine again. Ordered the Usual Suspects but with grilled kippers this time. I was slightly apprehensive when I saw the abundance of bones sticking out but actually, it was soft enough to crunch through and eat.

Pink Firs

We also ordered the Pink Firs after being recommended it. We were wondering what in the world are Pink Firs. It turned out to be potatoes! Potato lovers would love this. I am not a potato fan so this was OK for me. The chipotle mayonnaise was good though.

I left satisfied and full with a smile on my face once again.

Will I recommend: Yes
Will I come back: Yes
Have I had better: No

St. Ali, 26 Clerkenwell Road London EC1M 5HH

St Ali on Urbanspoon


  1. Does look amazing! Feel like I need to go ASAP!

    - WK

  2. Gosh, that Banana bread looks like the bomb. Have tried to stop by here a couple of weekends, but the queue made me turn away and ended up at Modern Pantry instead. I think I will queue and wait next time round!!


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