[Kuala Lumpur] Portuguese lunch at Bartolo Lisboa Bakehouse, Central Market

For a change from the usual Cantonese, Malay or South Indian eats, we opted for a Portuguese lunch at ๐—•๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐˜๐—ผ๐—น๐—ผ ๐—Ÿ๐—ถ๐˜€๐—ฏ๐—ผ๐—ฎ ๐—•๐—ฎ๐—ธ๐—ฒ๐—ต๐—ผ๐˜‚๐˜€๐—ฒ, run by Lisboeta cousins, David Gomes and Mariana Da Silva.

Itโ€™s amazing that it took this long for KL to have a Portuguese eatery, albeit a casual one - the Iberians have long been to this part of the world: since the 15th-century when they took control of the Spice Trade. In 1511, the Portuguese overthrew the Malaccan Sultanate, and stayed for 130 years before they were supplanted by the Dutch. But by then, the Portuguese had established an influential Catholic Creole population whose impact on Malay language and food culture cannot be understated.

Better late than never. The closest KL has to Portuguese cuisine is Fat Tea Macanese Food, helmed by helmed by the talented Susana Batalha. But Macanese cuisine, like its Malaccan counterpart, is Portuguese-influenced, rather than out-and-out Portuguese. With Bartolo Lisboa Bakehouse, this missing cog in the wheel is finally emplaced.

This bright, sunny cafe is located at the Northern end of Central Market, KLโ€™s colorful answer to Londonโ€™s Covent Garden.

  1. Loved the ๐˜ฑ๐˜ข๐˜ด๐˜ต๐˜ฆ๐˜ญ ๐˜ฅ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฃ๐˜ข๐˜ค๐˜ข๐˜ญ๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ถ - codfish-and-potato croquettes, served with a smoked paprika aioli.

Portuguese tiles given when you order, to be placed on your table for your food to be delivered to.

  1. Octopus salad, with capsicum, red onion, coriander leaves, crackers and olive oil.

  2. ๐˜—๐˜ข๐˜ด๐˜ต๐˜ฆ๐˜ญ ๐˜ฅ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฏ๐˜ข๐˜ต๐˜ข, also known as ๐˜—๐˜ข๐˜ด๐˜ต๐˜ฆ๐˜ญ ๐˜ฅ๐˜ฆ ๐˜‰๐˜ฆ๐˜ญ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฎ - Portuguese egg tarts with their trademark mottled top, served with a sprinkling of cinnamon powder.

  1. ๐˜—รฃ๐˜ฐ ๐˜ฅ๐˜ฆ ๐˜‹๐˜ฆ๐˜ถ๐˜ด (โ€œbread of Godโ€) - Portuguese coconut bun.

  2. ๐˜Š๐˜ณ๐˜ฐ๐˜ช๐˜ด๐˜ด๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ต ๐˜ฅ๐˜ฆ ๐˜š๐˜ข๐˜ญ๐˜ฐ๐˜ช๐˜ฐ - a sweet, sugar-encrusted croissant.

  3. Serradurra - Portuguese โ€œsawdust puddingโ€, made by layering crushed cookies and sweetened cream. Perhaps the simplest, yet most effective, dessert ever. The version here was ultra-sweet, perhaps made to suit the Malaysian palate. Iโ€™d had creamier and less sweet versions in Macao, but have never been to Portugal myself, so I stand corrected.

Too many carb items to try at one sitting. Guess we need to return another time to try the rest.

Bartolo Lisboa Bakehouse
Mezzanine Floor, Lot 204-206, Central Market, Jalan Hang Kasturi, Annexe, 50050 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel: +6011-6167 1458
Opening hours: 10am to 7pm, Tue - Thu, Sun
10am to 9pm Fri & Sat. Closed on Mondays.