Benvenuto, CAFFÈ MILANO

March 11, 2015 Ellyna Tjohnardi
If I told you that yet another Italian restaurant has just opened in Jakarta, would you be surprised? I guess you won't, but at least, keep reading on, because this is a brand new Italian concept by Union Group (the core of many other successful concepts such as Cork & Screw, Union, Union Deli, Canteen, Benedict, etc). Benvenuto, Caffè Milano!

Caffè Milano Jakarta (www.culinarybonanza.com)
To describe Caffè Milano, in a sentence, it's a classic Milanese trattoria serving rustic regional Italian dishes by Chef Luca Pezzera (previously Scusa at Intercontinental Jakarta and Bonta, Singapore) as well as a bar serving classic cocktails and a large selection of wines, as well as coffee (obviously!). LOL quite a mouthful description, but that would do it ;)

Located at the recently renovated East Mall of Grand Indonesia, Caffè Milano is accessible from the inside of Central department store, on the Ground Floor. But it is also accessible from the department store's exterior lobby.

Just like most of (if not all) Union Group's establishments, Caffè Milano has a certain typical Union signature about the place, from the font types, interior, as well as the furnishings...Looking at the extensive wine display, you know this place is serious about wine. Also, the most striking feature on each tables, is the golden encased extra virgin olive oil and the imported balsamic vinegar.

Caffè Milano Jakarta (www.culinarybonanza.com)
Caffè Milano Jakarta (www.culinarybonanza.com)
Left: non-smoking indoor tables
Right: smoking al fresco tables
Caffè Milano Jakarta (www.culinarybonanza.com)
Caffè Milano Jakarta (www.culinarybonanza.com)
Union's Aged Negroni and other bar condiments
Caffè Milano Jakarta (www.culinarybonanza.com)

There's a vintage piano placed against one of the pillars, such a beauty, even my niece couldn't resist not to have a closer look at it...
Caffè Milano Jakarta (www.culinarybonanza.com)
Caffè Milano Jakarta (www.culinarybonanza.com)

We came a little before lunch time, so the place was still quiet and the first thing we noticed was the freezing cold temperature. We would've loved to sit at the al fresco tables, but those were for smoking customers, so we chose the chill over the smoke. The tables inside were really quite cold, maybe more as a precaution to keep the temperature cool, because the al fresco and the non-smoking area was not separated by any wall.

Do you see the reddish swirl at the centre of the bun? That's Chef Luca's secret spices recipe, I do not want to make any guess, but it tasted savoury and quite sour...since it is red, I reckon it might contain tomato (who knows!) I enjoyed the bun better after dipping it in the olive oil-balsamic vinegar dip (no, they do not serve the bun with butter).
Caffè Milano Jakarta - Acqua Panna (www.culinarybonanza.com)
Left: fresh bun (complimentary)
Right: Acqua Panna IDR 40,000 / bottle
Supposedly, Caffè Milano places itself as a casual trattoria, but the mineral water here uses Acqua Panna / San Pellegrino (the fine dining water), no other brands. I won't say it's contradictory, I see it more as an implied message that everything here use only the finest / premium ingredients, hence the price. The currently available menu covers the Antipasti, Primi (Pasta), Secondi, Pizza, Dolci, Bar Bites and Beverages. Not as extensive as other Italian restaurants I've bee to, but this is more than good enough for the opening period.

It was seriously quite cold inside that I almost asked for hot coffee, but I couldn't resist trying the Milano Iced Latte - frozen espresso cubes, drench in plain milk and voila, you get your iced latte! Do not underestimate it though, because this is even stronger than your average latte...which actually suits to my liking. The price is not cheap (twice the normal iced latte), but occasionally, I would treat myself, so it's fine lol
Milano Iced Latte (www.culinarybonanza.com)
Milano Iced Latte IDR 75,000

Affogato Milkshake - pretty much like the one I had at Benedict the other day, but this one uses Milano coffee instead of Toby's Estate. The white foam is actually vanilla ice cream and in the centre is espresso slushed ice. Due to the state, they're quite hard to mix, but once melted, you can drink it just like milkshake.
Affogato Milkshake (www.culinarybonanza.com)
Affogato Milkshake IDR 55,000

To me, dining at Italian restaurant would be incomplete without trying the burrata. I inquired the staff and she suggested a few burrata dishes in the pasta and pizza. But I was quite pleased to find the burrata au naturel in the Antipasti list. Fresh Puglia Burrata with fresh cherry tomatoes, basil & extra virgin olive oil. I like the cherry tomatoes, with slightly burnt and herb-y scent inside the mouth.
Fresh Puglia Burrata (www.culinarybonanza.com)
Fresh Puglia Burrata IDR 175,000

Homemade Angel Hair with Black Truffles in light butter sauce. From one look, I could tell that the angel hair is home made due to its irregular thickness and cut, which is a good thing in my opinion, freshly made stuff is worth the extra price (I think). Some might even say that this was like our Indonesian bakmi or yammie, due to the resemblance in looks, texture and taste. I personally like it, the springiness of the angel hair, maybe others would find it soft. In any case, you can ask the staff to cook it al dente. Oh, and how generous the black truffle shavings are, plus the plenty parmesan sprinkled on the butter sauce, perfetto.

Instead of choosing a Secondi, we opted for a pizza, which is crispy thin crust style, and over fired. We chose the Pizza Milano with porcini mushrooms, pancetta, egg and parmigiano reggiano. I love how the egg was still runny on top of all the pizza toppings.
Pizza Milano (www.culinarybonanza.com)
Pizza Milano IDR 115,000
Homemade Angel Hair with Black Truffles (www.culinarybonanza.com)
Homemade Angel Hair with Black Truffles IDR 175,000
Caffè Milano Jakarta (www.culinarybonanza.com)

Post main course, it's Dolci time! We had it the classic way, by ending our feast with the Tiramisu Tradizionale and Cannoli Siciliani with ricotta cream, chocolate chips in crispy pastry shell. Both desserts were pretty fine, but if I had to choose, I'd have the Tiramisu over the Cannoli. I've tried cannoli at several establishments and I've come to a conclusion that cannoli is just not my type of dessert.
Tiramisu Tradizionale (www.culinarybonanza.com)
Tiramisu Tradizionale IDR 80,000
Cannoli Siciliani (www.culinarybonanza.com)
Cannoli Siciliani IDR 70,000
So far, it was a pleasant lunch for me personally. I came during the first week of its opening, so if there were any glitches, they were not major and I am willing to overlook them to come back in the near future. Nonetheless, this place was seriously one of the toughest settings to take nice and normal looking photos and also the most challenging to edit! You know why? because of the yellow overhanging marquee that shelters the al fresco tables. That's the culprit behind my freakishly yellow tinted photos (no, it wasn't VSCOcam at all)! It took me much longer to edit the photos than to type this blog *sobs. So, if you find my photos in this post have funny colours or dark or too 'noisy', you know the reason why...If I may be so bold to make a desperate request to the management, please please please, change the marquee to plain white, instead of yellow. I know it looks striking from the outside, to the passersby, but it's a living hell for photographers like me LOL...No hard feelings please =D

Anyway, I certainly look forward to coming back again soon, to try the Secondi and its other menu that I have yet tried. Ciao bella! 

*) Prices are subject to Government Tax & Service Charge

Open Hours: 10 AM - 2 AM (daily)

CAFFÈ MILANO
Central Department Store, Ground Floor
Grand Indonesia, East Mall
Jl. MH.Thamrin No.1
Central Jakarta - 10310
Ph: +6221 23580638

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