Regarded as one of Melbourne’s finest coffee roasters and cafés, ST. ALi has opened its doors in Jakarta to kick-start their global expansion. This time ‘round, ST. ALi is placed on the trusted hands of the good guys from Common Grounds Roastery, to which Matt Perger, the 2011 Australian Barista Champion and the head coffee connoisseur of ST. ALi regarded as “The most ST. ALi-esque café in Jakarta. So it’s really a no brainer,” said the barista to Manual Jakarta.
The fast-moving coffee and brunch culture that is currently blanketing Jakarta is also one of the reasons behind why this metropolis is chosen to be ST. ALi’s first flagship outside their native Australia. Aston Utan, one of the founders of Common Grounds added, “The Jakarta market is ready for something like this. A lot of people already know about the brand; the excitement is already there.”
Playing to their strength, ST. ALi Jakarta stays true to their origin and continues to embrace specialty coffee and brunch culture they are so well known for. “We are trying to stay true to the original ST. ALi. We are not trying to change anything because people demand what they have there (Melbourne). We’re not trying to customise to the Indonesian taste,” said Aston.
The whole team went to great lengths to give Jakartans the full ST. ALi treatment and get it “as close as we can get” to the mother ship. The original ST. ALi team has even flown all the way from Melbourne to oversee the whole process as well as taking the Jakartan team under their wings to teach and prepare them the “Melburnian” way of doing things.
Starting with the coffee, their milk-based espresso is made with Orthodox Blend (ST. ALi house blend that consists of 60% beans from Guática, Colombia and 40% beans from Raiha, Brazil), which gives off a “chocolatey” taste and dried fruits tasting notes. Whereas the black coffee is based on Sterling Blend (60% beans from Popayan, Colombia and 40% beans from Antigua, Guatemala) that surprisingly carries fruity and floral notes with a hint of sweet spice.
At the moment, the kitchen domain is managed under the personal command of ST. ALi Melbourne’s very own chef, Mark Richardson, to ensure the Melbourne-style brunch culture is introduced in the most appropriate way possible. “We bring 80% of the menu they have there. The food is prepared and cooked the same way with the same ingredients,” said Aston.
Diners would be wise to opt for ST. ALi’s signature dishes and brunch classics like the famous My Mexican Cousin (corn fritters served with poached egg, salsa, spicy tomato purée and green salad on the side), Koo Koo Ca Choo (crispy potato hash served with mushroom duxelle, poached egg, shaved Emmental cheese, chlorophyll and a dash of truffle vinaigrette) and the famous ST. ALi’s steak sandwich (you’ll find out why they’re called the world famous all right). What’s more, they will rotate their offerings seasonally to keep up with those of ST. ALi Melbourne’s so that Jakartans wouldn’t miss a thing.
ST. ALi Jakarta also keeps it casual where its espresso-based coffee counter faced the semi-outdoor area. Here, coffee comes with the perks of people-watching – fast-paced white-collar executives, young mums, creative professionals and even celebrities. No doubt Common Grounds could breathe easy knowing that they have done justice to the esteemed name of ST. ALi.