Mimi ON Aug 08, 2011 AT 9:21 am

St Ali

St Ali

Our food contributor, John, has set out to find the best places to enjoy coffee in London and we love the sound of his first choice…

by John Gregory Smith

There are many reasons why I love coffee. First, coffee links into my general spice obsession and those little beans have so many stories that fascinate me. Second the aroma of a good coffee can transport me to a wonderful morning on a hot holiday. Third the taste – smooth, slightly bitter, rich and rounded, I can’t get enough of it. And finally caffeine; yeah baby, we all love a kick in the morning!

In honour of the glorious drink, each week, I will feature my favourite coffee “site” in London. I have a few excellent places up my sleeve, but I want to know where you get your fix, from espresso carts to restaurants, tell me, so I can check them out. You can reach me on twitter @mightyspice or through @BeautyandDirt and follow on the hashtag #coffeemonday.

Freshly Ground coffee at At Ali

Freshly Ground coffee at At Ali

To start thinks off I am going with St. Ali, just down the road from me, in Clerkenwell. The UK owner, James Dickson, brought the St. Ali concept over from Melbourne and it is one of the growing number of Australian coffee shops in London that are doing fantastic things.

Provenance, quality and seasonality are all at the heart of St Ali’s carefully selected coffee beans, which are then roasted on-site, to provide a concise selection of espresso and filter coffees that have the best flavours and aromas around. They also serve wonderful fresh food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I particularly like their fruit salad, with a long black, for breakfast, which is served with crunchy granola and a fresh mint yogurt.

St. Ali is a really lively place and the Australian staff are lovely. Recently I have been wearing a retainer – yes that’s how I roll – and I embarrassingly left it at my table. When I got home and realised where it was, rather tragically, I had to call them up. They found said object in a bin and returned it to me, still smiling! I am not advocating losing weird items on your visit, but just appreciate how cool they are!


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