Rustic Flavors in Concrete Jungle

June 01, 2015

The Big Durian is never short of great Italian restaurants. Many modify their recipes to fit the local palate, while some choose to stick to the classics. Both work just as well.

Caffé Milano is a newbie in Jakarta’s dining scene, but its creator is certainly a familiar name in the industry. To name a few, The Union Group has brought to us Canteen, Casa, Benedict, Loewy, Cork & Screw and E & O. There is a certain signature to their interior design in a way that always gives a homey and welcoming feel. As you walk into Caffé Milano, the bar to the right boasts quite a selection of drinks at the bar, even providing beers and whiskeys rarely seen in town; while to the left is their main dining room that opens to an al-fresco area. The furniture are mostly dark wood and leather; each table is set with a bottle of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar next to a petite white porcelain vase of fresh flowers; the yellow canopy with their simple logo facing the street… It just reminds us of small cafés found all over around Europe.

The kitchen at Caffé Milano is headed by Chef Luca Pezzera. With the worldly experience he has under his belt, Caffé Milano is undoubtedly in good hands. Most of the dishes he crafted are classics – simple and honest food that are comforting. The kind of food that will make you feel you are in an Italian countryside with the whole family gathering and eating together outdoor, overlooking vast green hills.

During a recent visit to Caffé Milano on a cloudy afternoon, a dear friend and I opted to sit outdoor. Looking through the compact menu, it is evident that Chef Luca intends to stay on course with his creations – just enough number of dishes without being overkill and everything is never sub-par.

To get dinner going, we decided on Tomato and Arugula Salad. Served with hazelnut, Parmigiana Reggiano and balsamic dressing, it was both tasty and refreshing. Following it was Sautéed Clams in Garlic White Wine Sauce – straightforward and flavorful.

Being a huge fan of noodle, their Home-made Angel Hair with Black Truffle quickly caught my attention. Tossed in light butter sauce and served generous amounts of black truffle shavings and cheese, it was just divine. Try pairing it with a glass of pinot grigio from Friuli; it will take you to another level of indulgence. Pizza is a guilty pleasure of mine and theirs with Parma Ham, Arugula and Parmigiana Reggiano hits the spot! The crust, the tomato sauce, the ham, the greens, the cheese… It was layers of heaven.

As the sky darkens while we enjoyed our Cannoli Siciliana and Tiramisu, the crowd did not thin out. Guests seemed at ease in Caffé Milano, just like being at a friend’s home – sharing stories over a meal or a bottle of wine, chatting and laughing away. Buon appetito!

What we love:
- Simple classic dishes
- Great wine selection

It published in Journey Indonesia June 2015.