Momenti' captures Italian bar-cafe culture

Leading the way in Xintaindi's food and beverage revival is Momenti, an Italian coffee-shop and bistro that is meant to leave a "joyful moment" through its bella vita experience. 
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Leading the way in Xintaindi’s food and beverage revival is Momenti, an Italian coffee-shop and bistro that is meant to leave a “joyful moment” through its bella vita experience. 

Momenti, literally meaning “moments” in English, occupies the North Block corner with a sleek interior space dedicated to casual, cozy meals and a 24-seat outdoor area, which is great to people-watch. 

The shop’s three partners, Alan Sartori, Yvonne Le and Umberto Rizzetto, though inspired by the energy of Shanghai living, were nostalgic for the lively vibe of the Italian bar-café, where the café-by-day and bar-by-night is typical. In Italy what Americans consider to be a “café” is actually a “bar.”

“We Italians visit our local bar several times in the morning for coffee and again in the early evening for an aperitivo or cocktail before dinner,” Sartori said. “Inspired by the typical Italian living style, Momenti in Xintiandi is our flagship shop with its particular position looking like to be in a bar located in a piazza of an Italian city. It’s a multi-faceted venue that guests, shoppers and residents can visit from early morning to late into the night.”

Momenti' captures Italian bar-cafe culture
courtesy of Momenti / SHINE

A sleek interior space dedicated to delicious Italian meals.

The partners took a unique approach and aesthetic, with high quality Italian coffee as the story line behind Momenti. 

“We like the idea of focusing on coffee because coffee shop culture creates that authentic, neighborhood-centric vibe we strive to deliver and it felt like a great addition to the otherwise common ‘restaurant-and-bar’ scenario of Xintiandi,” Sartori said. “For Italians, coffee is not jut a drink: it’s a ritual, a chit-chat with the barista; it’s the best end after a good meal; it’s the perfect ‘good morning;’ it’s a pleasant and quick break.”

The Momenti coffee beans are directly imported from Italy. This special blend is unique and exclusive to the Chinese market: beans are roasted following an old Italian traditional method in an artisanal roastery in Venice, assuring the perfect balance amongst aroma, acidity, flavor and body structure. 

Thus from its offerings of many kinds of coffee drinks, food recipes to post-dinner cocktails, coffee plays a central role. The signature Caffe Momenti has a “panna cotta”-like flavor with brown sugar on top of the foam caramelized with fire to give the surface a crispy texture. The classic drink Aperol Spritz is reinterpreted by adding Momenti coffee to become a signature mocktail here.

Momenti' captures Italian bar-cafe culture
Courtesy of Momenti / Ti Gong

Spaghetti Momenti

Regarding the food, the traditional Italian recipes are reinvented for contemporary, fashion-forward Chinese and international diners. 

Momenti’s shifting menu of experiences is accompanied by subtle changes in light, moving from bright white, warm yellow and orange, before relaxing into a night-sky blue. Below the luminous ceiling, guests eat at small-sized tables or at a communal social table of solid red marble. It recalls the conviviality of Italian food culture and its propensity for sharing.

Amongst the dishes I tried, the most impressive was its spaghetti offering. The signature Spaghetti Momenti (128 yuan) was perfectly done — a whole and real burrata imported from Puglia, Italy with its fresh and milky flavor well balanced by the creamy sauce with lemon aftertaste. Momenti coffee powder further enhanced the aroma. Spaghetti Torino (88 yuan) is another specialty served in beef soup.


Opening hours: 9:30am-midnight

Tel: 6333-8863

Address: Unit 3 No. 1, North Block, Xintiandi, 181 Taicang Rd

Average price: 200 yuan

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