Think coffee culture is all about Starbucks? Or maybe it's all about stripped down, ultra minimalist, third-wave beans for you? Well, then you have a lot to learn, says the team bringing Italian café culture to Xintiandi.
MOMÉNTI, a new Italian bistro and bar concept, opened in the northeast corner of Xintiandi early this month. Modelled after laid-back Italian cafés, the petite, sleek space opens at 9.30am in the morning for coffee and pastries transforming over the course of the day to offer lunch, afternoon tea, aperitivo, dinner and finally, after-dinner drinks.
Turning on the use of high-quality, imported ingredients, the menu serves up an array of creative dishes, rooted in Italian tradition with contemporary twists. Behind the menu concept is accomplished chef Bruno Ferrari, who's created signatures like Spaghetti Momenti – artisanal spaghetti imported from Naples (used in all MOMÉNTI's pastas dishes), topped with a creamy lemon sauce, gorgeously creamy burrata and a sprinkling of coffee aroma.
Spaghetti Torino plays on Taiwanese beef noodle soup, served with a moka pot of broth while Spaghetti Bologna arrives with a classic minced beef and pork tomato sauce and accented with a chic Parmesan crisp.
Beyond the strong pasta selection, snack on gourmet Italian pizzas, carefully adorned with the likes of Parma ham, burrata cheese and crispy slices of purple potato, or heartier mains like a Spanish black pork chop with smoked paprika, lentils and caramelised apple.
The coffee theme runs throughout the concept – meticulously sourced beans from an artisan roastery in Venice accent dishes to make the flavour pop and find their way to every caffeinated drink on the menu. The Italian café culture vibes really come out at the coffee bar, where baristas pull shots from super sleek, modernist espresso machines, with a slim design that opens up the room. It's the kind of place you could post up for cappuccino after cappuccino and a long chat with the barista.
Frozen Irish Coffee
The coffees on offer range from the classic espresso shots and lattes to Shakeratos, espresso boost mocktails, boozy moka martinis and frozen Irish coffees.
Finally, while the food and the drinks are important, it's the whole experience that's paramount, right? MOMÉNTI's trying to get you to unglue your eyes from your phone screen and interact IRL. The main feature of the cosy dining room is a long, beautiful marble table for seating over a dozen – made just for those social moments.