Bottega Mediterranea, Bukit Ceylon

November 24, 2019

Exploring Bottega Mediterranea is an eye-opening, mouth-watering experience, spanning the culinary bounty of Marsala to Marseille to Murcia. The shelves of this Italian family-run cafe-deli heave with olives to orzo, cheese to charcuterie, Sicilian garlic to Lombard peppers, Prosecco to Pinot Grigio, for in-store purchases or online delivery orders. A small kitchen remains busy packing Parma ham into piadina, piling on polpette into bowls and pizzas on boards. It's a sanctuary for savouring time-honoured fare like gnocchi sorrentina, without having to make the 18-hour journey from KL to Naples.

Bottega Mediterranea's locale has run for roughly half a decade in downtown KL, but on a Monday evening, it still feels like a hidden secret near Changkat Bukit Bintang, with handfuls of patrons enjoying a tranquil retreat from traffic and thunderstorms. Piedmont-born founder Riccardo Ferrarotti slices salame with an intimate knowledge of this restaurant-filled neighbourhood where he began his Malaysian career a dozen years ago, transformed since then from a fresh-faced young chef to an F&B industry veteran now in his late thirties. From Nerovivo to Mediteca, his efforts have satisfied our stomachs and sparked so many memories, eating at Bottega Mediterranea was the culinary equivalent of reuniting with a longtime, long-lost companion.

The ideal introduction to Bottega Mediterranea is an order of cold cuts, paired perhaps with Puglia's Primitivo; with weekly shipments from Italy, France and Spain, expect a southern European smorgasbord, with everything from bresaola to cecina. Bargain-hunters, take note: A daily aperitivo - happy hours, perfect for after-work refreshments - promises hams, cheeses and three glasses of wines for RM58 nett, 4pm-8pm, every Monday to Saturday. 

Meals here are fuss-free and fulfilling, from vegetarian-friendly tostada topped with goat's cheese, smashed avocados, Cameron Highlands heirloom tomatoes, herbs and extra virgin olive oil, vibrant and vivacious in its flavours and textures (RM25), to flatbread stuffed with the likes of porchetta, Toma cheese, tomatoes and roasted shallots, packing a lively, juicy punch in every bite (RM25).

For Nonna-approved comfort in a bowl, warm the heart with house-made polpette, ground with the most succulent parts of pork, lovingly stewed with tomato sauce, its sublime savouriness surfacing from the meat itself with no salt added, rounded out with potatoes for a can't-fail protein-and-carbs partnership (RM32), to one of Bottega Mediterranea's pastas, some like ricotta spinach tortelli made aromatically earthy with porcini mushroom sauce (RM26), others pungent with cheeses or bolstered by bolognese and besciamella. A hefty serving of soothing tiramisu (RM18; sufficient for two to share) is the perfect conclusion.

Many thanks to Bottega Mediterranea for having us here.

Bottega Mediterranea

1A, Jalan Ceylon, Bukit Ceylon, 50200 Kuala Lumpur. Open Mon-Sat, 10am-9pm, for all-day dining. Tel: 03-2070-4222

Check out facebook.com/bottega.my for news and bottega.my for orders.

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