Bottega KL – Non-halal Italian Restaurant KL
Words: Matt Brown
Photos: Han Sen Hau
Chef Giuseppe Zanotti is one of those brilliant, passionate and friendly characters we love to meet when we’re out on assignment. He bursts with energy, which is evident in the whole vibe of Bottega KL, an Italian pizzeria, grocery store and cafe that is one of three family-owned outlets in Malaysia (the other two being in PJ and Penang) offering what might be the best Italian fare you’ll find in the city. He had just returned from a holiday and claimed that his blissful glow was from having a break, but he strikes me more as one of those high-functioning people who thrive when doing the work they love.
Somewhere in between overseeing three kitchens, Chef Giuseppe has managed to revamp the menu, changing a total of half of the dishes, still ensuring that they use premium ingredients and specially imported items that are exclusive to Bottega. The KL space, housed in an old post office a thirty-second walk from the action of Changkat Bukit Bintang, has also experienced a doubling of its capacity, with more seating available indoors. Changes to the menu and increased capacity for more to enjoy – a great time to visit!
On a very hot and bright KL day, we were mercifully seated inside near an excellent air conditioner and presented with the new menu. Bottega KL has a gloriously relaxed and unpretentious feel, and I can easily imagine how the outdoor area buzzes as the afternoon turns into evening, with laughter, gossip and wine all flowing easily. The extra space indoors now allows for the option of private dining spaces if your party books ahead, and I really enjoyed how the whole space felt like a happy and relaxed neighbourhood secret.
Bottega KL – Pasta
Bottega is the exclusive importer of Cavaliere Giuseppe Cocco pasta from Italy’s Fara San Martino region, which is widely regarded as one of the most respected pasta makers in the country. At Bottega KL, their pastas are put to excellent use in the new dishes created by Chef Giuseppe. Our first to arrive is the Malloreddus (RM32), using Sardinian gnocchetti sardi pasta, which is like a potato-free miniature version of the larger gnocchi, smothered with pork sausage and fennel seed ragu.
We were next served the La Genovese (RM38), which was my favourite from an experience that only featured excellent dishes. This menu item features candele pasta, which is produced in candle-like lengths of around 50 centimetres and then cut down as the kitchen requires. They’re still really long here, which is great, as they enable easy capture of much of the delicious sauce made up of stewed beef silverside, red onions, carrot, celery, pecorino romano cheese and a glorious tomato sauce. So meaty and delicious.
A complete change in style and colour for the third dish arrived with the Nerone (RM34), a striking squid-ink black risotto made with carnaroli rice and sous vide squid in an ink and parsley emulsion. This was deceptively complex. A slow release of the seafood flavour came towards the end of each bite, making it stand out as a choice seafood dish.
Italian Pizza Bukit Bintang
Continuing with the seafood theme for our pizza toppings, we were excited to dive into the Frutti del Mare (RM49). Sliced into eight generous pieces, this perfect Italian pizza combines Bottega’s wonderful tomato sauce with mussels, prawns, squid, mozzarella and basil. No need to be over the top or show off with too many ingredients; the flavours speak for themselves.
Lombata di Maiale (RM48) is pork loin coated in Mediterranean herbs and slow-cooked for two hours, served with a creamy mashed potato and pork jus. This is super tender and hearty, with the herbs adding just the right amount of flavour on the edge of each slice of pork.
Italian Wine List Kuala Lumpur
On the scorcher of a day that we attended, a bottle of chilled Contesse Prosecco Rosè D.O.C. Brut (RM190 per bottle) hits the spot, being fruity and juicy with hints of strawberry and raspberry. It isn’t overly sweet either, yet it matches the saltiness of the dishes really well and is highly recommended as a way to keep your table hydrated.
The team at Bottega KL know exactly how to keep everyone happily hydrated each day with their Happy Hour from 4 – 8 pm. For RM60, guests can choose from either three spritzers or three glasses of wine, which is a pretty phenomenal deal regardless of your choice of beverage.
A new addition to the menu this time around is the Torta Caprese (RM25), and let me just say, as The Yum List’s Avowed Sweet Tooth, this cake is so big you will want to share it with at least one other person. I know – me, sharing! This is a delicious 70% dark Valrhona chocolate torte served with almond, forest berries sauce, dark rum and a scoop of excellent vanilla gelato. There are, of course, coffees available if a relaxed afternoon tea with a gorgeous slice of cake is more your style, with Lattes and Cappuccinos priced at RM15 and a Macchiato or simple Espresso shot at RM11.
Reasons to visit Bottega KL: it’s a brilliant combination of being a really fun place to be that also serves exceptional food; what more could you ask for? You can even leave with some imported Italian goodies from their deli section, so the joy can last even longer. If you ration your social outings and wait for something special to come along and enjoy with friends, Bottega KL could be just the place your afternoon has been wanting you to relax in.
1A, Jalan Ceylon, Bukit Ceylon
50200, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
+60 3 2070 4222
Bottega KL Opening Hours
Monday to Saturday: 11:15 am – 10:30 pm