Bartolo Lisboa Bakehouse – Central Market Annexe KL
Words: Nichole Ong
Photos: Rich Callahan
Sitting in Bartolo Lisboa Bakehouse’s bright, airy space above the river, it’s as if the constant bustle of Pasar Seni and the surrounding Chinatown KL is swapped for a quiet cafe in Lisbon. Locals and tourists are invited by the bright walls and hand-painted tiles to sit and enjoy a quality cup of Portuguese coffee alongside a mouth-watering range of baked goodies in this central location on the mezzanine floor at Central Market Annexe. David Gomes da Silva, the restaurant’s founder, had been searching for the perfect spot for his bakehouse. He stumbled upon this hidden gem, and the alfresco area overlooking the city and spacious interior perfectly matches the concept.
Bartolo Lisboa Bakehouse
The food is inspired by the owner’s grandmother’s and mother’s recipes and his favourites in Portuguese eateries. As a bakehouse, Bartolo Lisboa Bakehouse aims to synergise between the kitchen and the bakery – many of their Pesticos (snacks) have baked elements to them, and the bread for the sandwiches is made in-house by their Portuguese chef. The team also offers an impressive assortment of Portuguese pastries, both traditional and adaptations by the owner and baker. They make a point of engaging with the community, selling hand-painted tiles for home decor and collaborating with local artists on various projects. The bakehouse brings Lisbon’s culinary scene to KL, providing good food along the river while enriching its culture.
A Malaysian favourite, the Pastel de Nata (Portuguese Egg Tart, RM 6) stands out from the crowd. The recipe is an adapted version that took three generations to refine. Another eleven tests in KL to get the ingredients and timing down to an exact science. These efforts create the ultimate egg tart, combining flaky and crispy puff pastry with creamy custard filling. The oozing, creme brulee-like consistency is authentically Portuguese, creating a smooth bite with hints of cinnamon. I have yet to have an egg tart as good as this anywhere.
The Berliner (RM 8) is made with doughnut dough and is typical fare at the beach in Portuguese summers. The fluffy sphere conceals egg cream, which is sweet with a hint of saltiness—a great option to enjoy slowly with a cup of coffee.
One of our favourites, the Jésuita (RM 8), is David’s hybrid between two Portuguese pastries, combining the base of the Jésuita with the fluffy pastry of the Claudino to create a puff pastry with a deliciously sweet custard filling. The custard moistures each flaky bite, creating a swirl of creamy and crunchy in the mouth.
The Areias (RM 2), Portuguese for sand, is shortbread rolled in cinnamon and sugar. We recommend having these the Portuguese way, dipped in coffee, as the dry, flaky biscuit is the perfect companion to a nice latte. This pastry gets its sandy name from the cinnamon and sugar coating it, adding texture and sweetness when paired with coffee.
Also great with a cuppa, the Pão-de-ló is an individualised version of a sponge cake made by the owner’s grandmother. The soft fluffiness of the cake was revealed as we pulled apart the wrappings, giving a cushiony bite that sweetens the coffee it is dipped into.
What’s a pastry without a nice drink to pair it with? Our Latte (RM 14) is what we were informed many Portuguese customers say is ‘real coffee,’ having undergone a lot of research to find the right blend. This cup combines the balance of a quality Latin blend roasted in Italy.
The bartender, David’s co-worker from a previous restaurant, was given full freedom with the menu and developed a range of aptly named healthy juices. We sampled the Flu Fighter (RM 16), containing orange, carrot, and ginger, which was refreshingly citrusy with a healthy hit of ginger at the end. The Heart Beet (RM 16), containing beetroot and carrot, showcased the beetroot’s earthiness alongside the carrot’s sweetness to create a vitamin-rich juice. The Power Punch (RM 16) was a good balance of pineapple, apple and starfruit, with mint coming in for a refreshing touch at the end of each sip. All the juices are vibrant in natural colour and make a healthy and cooling remedy for a hot Malaysian day.
Combining traditional Portuguese flavours with familiar local touches, the Duck Croquettes (RM 18) are piquant pockets that are crispy on the outside and warm on the inside. The duck is roasted and seasoned to tender softness, going well with the hoisin sauce’s savouriness and the coriander garnish’s herbaceousness.
Similarly, the Pastel de Bacalhau (RM 18), or codfish fritter, combines the same textures, with the fish being seasoned and cooked well within a crispy fritter. The aioli and smoked paprika sauce make each bite dynamic.
A great vegetarian option, the Porcini Mushroom Rissol (RM 14) highlights the robust earthy flavour of the mushrooms with the same crunchy outside. The seasoning of this dish is impeccable, bringing out the natural taste of the mushrooms while adding vibrancy.
Portuguese food shares many similarities with neighbouring Spain. One delight, typical of Andalusia, is the child summer soup, Salmorejo (RM 18). It’s made with fresh tomato and contains olive oil, garlic, cilantro, and egg. Most notably, bread, emulsified with sun-ripe tomatoes to give it a thicker consistency, is a key ingredient in the soup.
Our Tuna Steak in Bolo Do Caco (RM 26) is made with sweet potato flatbread originating from the islands of Portugal. This bread is enough to make the sandwich stand out, delightfully chewy and subtly sweet. The tuna is cooked well and is tender and juicy, while the onion, coriander, and herbed butter help to enhance its flavour.
Another excellent vegetarian option, the Eggplant Tiburona (RM 16), is a wonderful combination of sun-dried tomatoes, goat cheese, eggplant, and rocket. There is a nice acidity from the tomato, blending well with the smokiness of the eggplant. As expected, the bread underneath is just the right thickness and chewiness, holding the ingredients well.
Bartolo Lisboa Bakehouse Review
A welcome addition to the Central Market area, Bartolo Lisboa Bakehouse offers unique food with familiar and comforting flavours, all in a cosy and airy setting. Come for the unmatched pastries and an authentic taste of Portugal.
Reasons to visit Bartolo Lisboa Bakehouse: Portuguese pastries; amazing egg tarts; authentic Portuguese recipes; great location; alfresco area; pork-free; vegetarian options; good coffee and healthy juices.
Bartolo Lisboa Bakehouse
Mezzanine Floor, Lot 204-206
Central Market, Jalan Hang Kasturi
50050 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
+6 011-6167 1458
Bartolo Lisboa Bakehouse Opening Hours
Tuesday-Thursday and Sunday: 10 am – 7 pm
Friday-Saturday: 10 am – 9 pm