It sure took us a while to locate this bakehouse. When you are driving, it tends to get a little confusing. It was somewhat wrongly tagged on Waze and Google Maps. It will certainly lead you to the area of which this cafe is located at but once you are there, you’d need to walk a short distance. (**The bakehouse is located on the Mezannine floor of Central Market’s Annexe. )
How to get here: If you are driving, the easiest way is to park your car at the Central Market open carpark. We could not do so on the day of our visit because it was unfortunately full and the waiting line was causing quite the traffic jam. Once you are parked, walk into Central Market and walk all the way straight until you reach the other entrance/exit. As you step out, you’d see the annexe (a building that is a part of Central Market, located in close proximity but is a separate structure). Take the stairs up and you’ll arrive at Bartolo Lisboa Bakehouse.
** Do note that if you want to forego the hassle of driving around and looking for parking, there is a train station 5 minutes away from Central Market – the Pasar Seni LRT Station.
It has been almost two decades since I last set foot into the annexe, I forgot it existed 😵. I occasionally visit Central Market every few months, but I never stay long enough to explore the next building. It has certainly undergone some changes. There is a nostalgic sense of pleasure in revisiting this place and reminiscing about the past.
The bakehouse itself would be a charming haven for foodies. With its bright and spacious interior, adorned with tastefully curated brick walls donning delightful tones of yellow and dark green, the ambiance exuded a sense of warmth. The indoor seating area featured a mix of comfy couches, tables, and wooden chairs, accommodating individuals or groups of varying sizes. Natural light streamed in through large windows, casting a gentle glow that bathed the space in a soft, inviting atmosphere. For those who prefer to enjoy their coffee and pastries al fresco, outdoor seating is also available.
Honestly, I do not have much experience with Portuguese food. As an individual with limited exposure to this cuisine, I decided to play it safe and focus on their delightful selection of desserts. I figured it cannot be that much different from the usual pastries I come across elsewhere, locally.
Brioche with Coconut Crumble, RM 12 + Plain Berliner, RM 8 + Pastel de Nata, RM 6
Upon sampling the pastries, it becomes apparent that although visually similar to those found in other establishments, there is a notable variance in texture. The Portuguese pastries exhibit a denser, solid consistency, in contrast to the softer, lighter, and more airy pastries commonly encountered elsewhere.
The Brioche with Coconut Crumble exceeded my initial expectations. Unlike traditional brioches, it shares similar texture of a dense scone. In terms of flavor, milky sweetness is how I would describe it. The sweetness was more of an undertone, it is there but not obvious. The addition of coconut crumbs added on to its appeal. I was pleasantly surprised by this pastry – what I tasted was not what I expected. It was enjoyable nonetheless.
The Berliner resembled a bomboloni visually and I assume that this is the Portuguese version of it, especially so when you are given a choice to pick its filling. As I wanted to taste it as it was, in its true form, I opted to forego the filling and have it plain (coated with some sugar). Once again, the texture was dense and solid, not soft and fluffy like the usual bombolonis. It took a while to get use to it but other than that, a good experience.
The Pastel de Nata is a Portuguese tart. I generally dislike this particular type of tart because I find that the local variation often possess an excessive eggy flavor and a custard-like texture, which is not to my preference. However, the Pastel de Nata I had recently exhibited a texture and taste reminiscent of a delectable creme brulee . I surprisingly do not hate it, in fact, I liked it.
Overall, I’d say that it was an eye opening visit to this Portuguese specialty bakehouse. I had the opportunity to sample their pastries, which left a favorable impression on my palate. Adjusting my preconceived notions and desires for a particular dish to align with its actual flavor required some acclimation, but the process was enjoyable. The minute I heard about their sweet potato flatbread a.k.a Bolo do caco, I decided I am coming back for another visit. I love sweet potato and it isnt everyday that I see sweet potato bread. Yes, I will be back here for another visit.
Address: Mezannine Floor, Central Market Annexe, Kuala Lumpur.
Opening hours: Tuesdays to Sundays, 10 am – 8 pm.
Contact Num.: 011 – 6442 1756
Signing out now, Ciao.