Salvatore Malatesta’s name is synonymous with good coffee.
The owner of St Ali in South Melbourne, as well as Sensory Lab and many other coffee ventures is an undisputed king of coffee in Australia. Although it may be more appropriate to call him the patron saint of coffee….
St Ali is named after Ali ibn Umar al-Shadhili, an Islamic scholar who is who is credited with being the patron saint of coffee.
Malatesta explains “St Ali was the first micro-roaster direct trade specialty coffee house in Melbourne. We pioneered the third wave movement and we have matched the DNA with paddock to plate transparency.”
So, given his coffee royalty status – what are Malatesta’s tips for making the perfect coffee?
“In-season beans. Light to medium roasts profiles. Ground fresh. Pure water and some love.”
If you go to St Ali don’t forget about the food, which almost rivals the coffee for quality and taste!
“The menu starts with an idea or a new take on a classic dish, then we add the dish as a special, and tweak it until I’m happy. If the dish is a success, we put it on the menu,” explains Hearnden.
“We have really good suppliers; Burd Eggs for our beautiful free range eggs, Fresh Generation for fruit and vegetables, Ocean Made for seafood, Gamekeepers for meat and Andrew’s Choice for our bacon and sausages.
“I work closely with the suppliers and we talk every day about what’s good at the market. To me the most important things are seasonality and providence.”
The menu changes four times a year with the seasons, but Hearnden says that the “My Mexican Cousin” dish is the most popular on the menu.
“It has a cult following. It was put on the menu by Benjamin Cooper when he was at St Ali (now the executive chef at Chin Chin) about six years a go and hasn’t come off since.”
12-18 Yarra Pl,
South Melbourne VIC 3205