The Jakarta Post
For five straight years, Melbourne, Australia, has been voted the world's most livable city ' renowned for its multicultural society, pleasant weather, fun attractions and impressive infrastructure.
The steady, beating heart of Melbourne, Australia, is its cafÃ© culture, and it is renowned for serving up what is arguably the best coffee in the world.
Now, a little taste of Melbourne is coming to Jakarta, with the ST. ALi food and beverage family opening a brand new venue in Kuningan, South Jakarta.
It's the first stop in ST. ALi's plan for world coffee domination, as Jakarta is the first global venue for the growing Australian brand.
Salvatore Malatesta, owner of the ST. ALi family, says that Melbourne is the 'coffee renaissance city of the world', and that Jakarta deserves a bit of the action.
'We are leading the movement,' Malatesta said at the cafes' opening event early February. 'We pioneered specialty coffee in Australia and now we're going to do it globally. We're hoping to bring the best part of Melbourne to the heart of Jakarta.'
Coffee culture has been a large part of life in Melbourne since the 1950s, and now the city is home to over 2,000 cafes serving up a variety of different coffee blends and brunch options.
'There is no bad coffee in Melbourne ' there's good, there's better and then there's the best. And we're the best,' Malatesta says about his business, ST. ALi's.
ST. ALi's is wildly popular in Melbourne, and prides itself on providing a 'holistic food and beverage experience'.
Jakarta receives no less, and the attention to detail on the Indonesian menu is incredible ' from where the produce is sourced to the exact aromatic and fruity flavors in your cappuccino mug.
The burgers are particularly eccentric, with combinations of special sauces, pork and fennel sausage, avocado, haloumi and everything in between. The Koo Koo Ca Choo combines crispy potato hash with mushroom duxelle, poached eggs, shaved GruyÃ¨re, chlorophyll and truffle vinaigrette.
The coffee is the main attraction, with World Barista Champion Matt Perger at the helm of a brand new La Marzocco Espresso machine.
While the food and drinks are a unique taste experience, it's the general aesthetic of the cafÃ© that sets ST. ALi's apart from anything else in Jakarta. The cafÃ© utilizes a semi-outdoor space at the Setiabudi One building in the Kuningan vicinity, South Jakarta and gives off distinctly 'Melbourne' vibes. The aesthetic is casual and bright, with vibrant smiling staff and a busy kitchen space.
'My life's work has been being a vibe master. So that involves tweaking the edges, creating an atmosphere. I've always said that if The Rolling Stones were coming to Melbourne for one day, where would they go for coffee and breakfast? That's the atmosphere we're trying to create here,' Malatesta says.
But there are distinct Indonesian influences at play in ST. ALi's Jakarta, from furniture made by local designers to the coffee beans sourced from farms in Sumatra.
Malatesta hopes this blend of culture and style will be welcoming to everyone who walks through the doors of his cafÃ©.
'I'm hoping that when you walk through the doors in ST. ALi's you will see a fairly even mix of locals, expats, tourists and generally just people committed to an excellent food and beverage experience. We cater to people in search of a sensory food and coffee experience,' Malatesta says.
'The idea is that when you sit in here, you don't realize that you're in Jakarta. You could be anywhere in the world.'
ST. ALi's next stop is to open a venue in Bali, a place that Malatesta describes as 'Australia's backyard'.
He said Bali was the original destination for their first opening in Indonesia, but the Jakarta venue was easier to put together quickly. 'If we can pull it off here in an urban metropolis, especially where there's gridlock and it's hard to get to, Bali will be a walk in the park. It's a no brainer for us.'
The writer is an intern at The Jakarta Post
' Photos courtesy by ST.ALi
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