Where to Eat: Buono! At Bottega

Gambas Al Ajillo

Simply called “Bottega” on Muntri Street, not “The” Bottega or “La” Bottega, this modest Italian Deli/Restaurant/Cafe is a few minutes walk from the famous Blue Mansion, and runs perpendicular through Love Lane.

I loved the versatile seatings, at the bar, or conventional tables, or al fresco, wherever you’re seated there is so much movement. We chose to sit at the bar, facing the kitchen, it has perfect lighting streaming from the retractable roof above and front row seats to the center of the drama of the kitchen.

Herbs, wine, meats, knives, fire from the pans flash and fly across, bodies of the chefs and assistant chefs dance between us and the hot stoves. It was all about movement, the smells and anticipation.

The rustic platings were a major turn-on. The Bistecca started with a generous dollop of mustard, a large whole garlic chopped in half and thrown into a flat pan, once the be-headed garlic was placed on the block, a stem of rosemary took its place in the hot oil. Immediately, just as soon as the you hear the herb hit the hot oil you are embraced by the mesmerizing screaming aroma of rosemary, garlic and olive oil. It must be what heaven smells like, olive oil and rosemary. Lastly a generous cut of marinated Australian steak is slapped on the griller and then when done, gently put to “bed” as an offering to a King.

Insalata Mixta

Open kitchens are a delight for diners, not sure if it is as delightful for the kitchen crew. You’re put on stage, watched by beady eyes waiting for that unhygienic wrong move, under the scrutiny of pouncing-contagious-germ phobia customers.

The crew was fantastic, as soon as we stepped in, we were quickly ushered to where we wanted to be, at the bar, right across the highlight of the room. The restaurant was already 80% full, yet the high ceilings gave us the impression of breathable space, light and contained the hustle and bustle within beautifully…

We saw spoons dipped and tasted by the chefs and thrown aside. Each wore gloves, aprons were neat , serious and meant business. The crew showed confidence, they were professional yet attentive to curious questions by me (I always have questions..)

Italian food I think it the most inclusive cuisine in the whole world. You “feel” Italian when you cook dishes from this country. It commands you to cook and taste from the heart. It’s intuitive. You only “think” you’re choosing from a menu but actually it chooses you. I wanted Bistecca but the Gamberi chose me and I was happy with my fate on a plate. The broth was just right , and the breads for dipping was the right portion. My Pinot Griggio (by-glass) complimented the whole meal.

This Italian eatery welcomes friends, families or solo dining. It has an airy, free and easy ambiance. The staff are friendly without being over the top, the beverages are un-extravagant, and the menu easy to read.

Tips:

If you’re big fan of garlic and all Italian spices and herbs yet not a fan of the after taste, ask for the Frizzante to wash it down, they come in 3 flavors, lime, orange or chinotto (the juice of the fruit of the myrtle-leaved orange tree, bitter sweet). Or the home made Lemon or Coffee Sorbet that come in espresso cups.

If you love salt, ask for some, taste is personal. I gave them additional brownie points for not forcing salt into your food for health and the liberty for the food to shine through.

The house white is Pinot Griggio, and priced reasonably. Light and fresh on the palate. I took a bottle home to continue my Italian journey from home.

Bottega, Penang

Address : 76, Jalan Muntri, George Town, Malaysia, 10200

Operation Hours: Tuesday – Sunday 11am – 11pm

Contact: Bottega FB , +6011-1227 6701 , or penang@bottegamediterranea.com

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