ST. ALi – JAKARTA
Jakarta welcomes ST. ALi, one of Melbourne’s finest cafes, as they choose the Indonesian capital as their first Southeast Asian outpost.
THE JAKARTA coffee loving crowd got a first glimpse and taste of ST. ALi late 2014 when the Melbourne coffee kings swooped down on the city upon the invitation of Common Grounds. Little did we know that there was more than just coffee brewing.
So it was glad tidings for Jakartans to hear that specialty coffee shop ST. ALi had taken an interest with the city and it was through their partnership with Common Grounds, that they have recently opened their first ever branch outside of Australia.
Set amidst a corner of Setiabudi Building, ST. ALi’s appearance retains the original Melbournian feel with a semi alfresco concept overlooking the plaza, ready to cater up to a hundred patrons at a time.
There are two separate brewing bars here. The first one is the espresso bar where the much-loved La Marzocco machine takes residence, and the other one further inside is the Filter Bar where customers can see the baristas showing off their skills at manual brewing.
The early customers were actually very lucky to see ST. ALi’s very own Matt Perger in action. Matt as the Director of Coffee for ST. ALi, is also Australia’s two-time national barista champion and the runner up for World Barista Championship in 2013. Ben Morrow also visited Jakarta again to showcase his skills as latte art champion. Additionally, ST. ALi’s head barista – Lachlan Ward, is also appointed as the local manager here.
From the kitchen, the funky Chef Mark Richardson presents the best of Melbournian casual eats. From the hearty burgers, steak sandwiches, and the fusion of many genres found in Melbournian brunch fare; he also introduces exciting vegetarian dishes on the lineup.
Colombian finest coffee beans play an important role at ST. ALi. Their signature Colombia, Guatemala, and Brazil beans dominate the blends used for white and black coffee beverages. However on the long run, with Indonesia as its first home base in Asia, there are also plans to cooperate further with Indonesian coffee farmers for a local blend or some single origin or single estate coffees. For the pour-overs, ST. ALi prepares using single origins from Colombia’s El Illanito, Kenya’s Asali, and Ethiopia’s Yirgacheffe. This will certainly cater the palate of the emerging yet discerning coffee drinkers of Jakarta.
The opening of ST. ALi in Jakarta will surely challenges the competition and the existing local and international specialty coffee shops would certainly give their best to level up the game. In turn, it is our hope that not only us coffee aficionados who will get the benefits from this competition, but far beyond, the local farmers in rural Indonesia.
As the creative force behind ST. ALi Family, Salvatore Malatesta is that one guy who is responsible for the success of the specialty coffee world in Australia and Melbourne in particular. He is now a proud owner of over 88 F&B venues and also a World Barista Accredited judge.
His recipe for success actually comes from an actualization of his profound question that, being born to a half-Italian family who had a good relationship with coffee, he saw that no one appreciated coffee yet back in 1996. So he started his own café – Caffeine, and he fulfilled the gap needed for the public who actually, are the consumers of good coffee.
“In addition to our stand-alone coffee shops; ST. ALi Family now has a large roastery, a training facility run by Ross Quail (GM of Wholesale for ST. ALi), and an online store – all under the Sensory Lab”, explains Salvatore. “As for the coffee itself; we source the green beans from African countries such as Ethiopia, Kenya and Burundi; as well as from South America like Colombia, Brazil, Panama, Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Honduras.”
Under his management, ST. ALi has now been growing outside of Australia and that its reputation is known well throughout the country and internationally as well. Now as the continuation of their pop up café efforts and masterclasses held in London, Seoul, Milan, and Jakarta; ST. ALi opens its doors in Jakarta and readies itself to global domination.
“Next we will have Bali and another one in Jakarta. After that, we are heading to Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. Other than that, we are also preparing for Los Angeles”, shares Salvatore with his friendly huge grin that he shows everywhere he goes.
As one of ST. ALi’s most valued family members, the dashing Matt Perger shares with us a bit about his plans on introducing ST. ALi’s coffee to Indonesia.
“Mainly we are still using the blend from Colombian and Brazilian beans and we are importing it from Australia. However, we are also working with local roasters for our plan to use Indonesian coffee beans as well”, he shares.
“The challenge is to keep up with the standards that we have in Melbourne here. We have a very good system and precise methods. Also, everyone is really hungry for what we have here, so that we became busier than what we were expecting”, says Matt undeterred with the challenge and confidently smiles as he put it.
Quality control and his forte in maintaining the consistency as well as the scientific calculations of how coffee should be presented earn him the no-nonsense reputation as an expert who won’t leave anything to chances. That’s the quality that he wants to keep for ST. ALi.
As the Executive Chef for ST. ALi – Mark Richardson came to Jakarta to personally oversee everything about the food, it is also time to ask him about what he has to offer hungry Jakartans.
“The food that we’re serving here are the favorites in Melbourne’s ST. ALi and what the Melbournians usually have for their family brunch. Among the must-try dishes are the Mexican Cousins, Koo Koo Ca Choo, and the stick pork salad with lime basil,” says the chef.
What we actually observed was that the corn fritters in the Mexican Cousins are roughly the same with Indonesian perkedel jagung. “Yes, I had that one too. It was really good!”, says Chef Mark, “That’s why we are also developing a crossover between ramen and oxtail soup. It’s still very Melbournian but it has Indonesian style to it as well.”
Chef Mark’s ultimate challenge is actually to cope in with the weather and the adjustment of his recipes due to differences in the ingredients’ characters. “For example, we want to develop more gluten-free menu but the flour here is different for that. There’s always challenge in the kitchen but we are getting there!”, exclaims the chef.
ST.ALi – JAKARTA
Setiabudi Two, GF, Jalan HR Rasuna Said
Jakarta – Indonesia
OPENING HOURS: Daily, 7am – 6pm