[Penang, Malaysia] Lunch at Bottega Mediterranea, Muntri Street

Lunch today at 2-week-old ๐—•๐—ผ๐˜๐˜๐—ฒ๐—ด๐—ฎ ๐— ๐—ฒ๐—ฑ๐—ถ๐˜๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ฒ๐—ฎ, George Townโ€™s latest dining hotspot, which was started by Kuala Lumpur-based Italian restaurateur, Riccardo Ferrarotti. He was the one who helmed ๐—ก๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐˜ƒ๐—ถ๐˜ƒ๐—ผ and ๐—ก๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐˜๐—ฒ๐—ฐ๐—ฎ, two of KLโ€™s top Italian spots back in the 2010s.

Step into ๐—•๐—ผ๐˜๐˜๐—ฒ๐—ด๐—ฎ ๐— ๐—ฒ๐—ฑ๐—ถ๐˜๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ฒ๐—ฎ, and one feels immediately transported from Penang to a small bistro in Italy.

The genial chef, Mark Colk, and the hyper-efficient maรฎtre dโ€™ Gianluca de Biasi, made our lunch here a singularly pleasurable experience.

We started off with a bottle of rosรฉ: Carvaletta Salento Negroamaro from the Puglia region, where our maรฎtre dโ€™ Gianluca hails from.

There were 8 of us in our lunch party, so we were able to order a pretty good spread of the restaurantโ€™s offerings to try:
Aglio Arrosto - whole roasted garlic, served with toasted bread, with salt & mustard - Iโ€™m a garlic-lover, so this was perfect!

Vive les Legumes - roasted vegetables, tomatoes, olives and shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano - this was Bottegaโ€™s most popular salad item from its KL outlet.

Slow-cooked baby octopus with tomato & white wine, served on toasted bread & topped with guanciale - very nice, as the texture was perfect.

Rolls of zucchini ribbons, with lemon & thyme, Cantabrian anchovies, artichokes & shaved, drunken cheese - my fave item at lunch, love the crisp crunch from the zucchini, and the complementary flavours from the tangy lemon, and the saltiness of the anchovies and cheese.

Burratina - burrata cheese with Parma ham, tomatoes, marinated sardines & basil - the inclusion of marinated sardines lifted the creamy burrata immeasurably.

Bikini Barcelona - crispy, toasted sandwich with smoked ham, melting cheese & gherkin - a rather rustic, more-ish version of this Barcelonin classic.

Piadizza, super-thin Italian dough filled with mozzarella, buffalo mozzarella, Parmigiano-Reggiano, heirloom tomatoes & Parma ham - this was touted as owner, Riccardo Ferrarottiโ€™s personal favourite. It was good - the pizza dough used here resulted in the best textures weโ€™d encountered in Penang.

Oโ€™ Cannello - baked hand-made cannelloni, filled with porchetta, ricotta, spinach & house tomato sauce - very flavoursome. Iโ€™d come back again for this.

Pizza Picante, with mozzarella, tomatoes, spicy salami, nduja, and red onion

Pizza Margherita - with mozzarella, tomato and basil

Cozze - mussels in white wine, garlic and parsley, served with toasted bread - not too enamoured with this dish, as the mussels tasted a tad overcooked.

Gambas al Ajillo - marinated prawns, sautรฉed with garlic, guanciale, white wine, parsley & pepper - very well-executed version of this dish here.

7-hour baked pork-ribs in red wine, bacon, celery, carrots, mushrooms & shallots - very tasty, with fall-off-the-bone tender pork ribs, with deep flavours.

It was the best spread of Mediterranean (mainly Italian here) repasts weโ€™d had in quite a while. Only the tiramisu did not quite measure up to the restaurantโ€™s own high standards here - the creaminess from the mascarpone was missing, and the obligatory alcohol kick from rum or coffee liqueur was also glaringly absent.

But thatโ€™s a minor quibble in an otherwise very satisfactory meal.

Our friendly regular waiter, Amir Harris - all the staff here were so generous with their smiles. Iโ€™d never eaten so much at one sitting in my life!

Address
Bottega Mediterranea Penang
76 Lebuh Muntri (Muntri Street), 10200 George Town, Penang, Malaysia
Tel: +604-2281585
Opening hours: 11am to 10pm, Tue to Sun. Closed on Mondays.

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Wow - everything looks delicious. And I love the wooden platters.

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Me, too. Love that rustic touch they convey.

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