Smith: Wood-Fired Oven Breadsmiths, Damansara Heights

February 21, 2020

Sourdough scholars say the tradition of their bread is as old as brass-making - in Germany, known for some 300 varieties of bread, sourdough was a staple before brewer’s yeast emerged in the Middle Ages. Those medieval bakers began their efforts before sunrise everyday, tending to stone and clay ovens to fill bread baskets for kings and knights, merchants and monks.

That millennia-old lineage of breadsmiths is kept alive throughout the world today, by artisans toiling on the timeless truths of flour, water and salt - KL's new Smith takes up that wood-fired torch with a labour of love and loaves, tackling the tangy bite of great old-fashioned bread, baked in a German-built cast-iron oven where temperatures soar to 500 degrees Celsius. 

From white sourdough with clear, clean-cut flavours to rye country slices with a wholemeal wholesomeness, to caraway seed boules with a toasty depth, these are as rustic as bread gets, with dense, dark crusts blackened from patient fermentation, crackling with the crunch and chewiness of a malty caramelisation, yielding to a rich-textured open crumb with gentle piquancy.

The spreads take the breads to the next level - ultra-creamy classic French butter speckled with sea salt for a savoury sparkle, house-mashed compote with the ripened resonance of raspberries, comfortingly fresh and lusciously nutty hummus, sun-dried tomato pesto that speaks sultrily of Sicilian summers. These are more than mere dips; they'd be a thrill to bring home in huge jars.

A four-slice serving of mixed sourdough with French butter costs RM8; each extra spread clocks in at between RM3 to RM6.

Toasties and burgers are also elevated: The signature sourdough sandwich is a showcase for roasted Black Angus beef brisket, succulently full-bodied in that low-and-slow fashion, layered with oozy sharp cheddar and Dijon mustard to brighten the meat's emphatic smokiness, plus pickles on the side for additional zest and zeal (RM38).

Wood-fire baked brioche buns take centre stage for the burgers, fluffy and fragrant, but we'd be remiss to miss mentioning the battered chicken thigh with red onions, tomatoes and spicy mayo that make up one of KL's most satisfying chicken burgers, packed with juicy, punchy dynamics, perfectly rounded out with thick-cut steak fries (RM28).

Don't skip dessert - the German Bismarck pancake is a puffy pleasure, baked to order for 15 minutes in Smith's bread oven, jubilantly eggy, flavoured like a French toast but with a custard-like softness within, enriched with butter and honey for calorie-busting bliss; two can share one pancake (RM13).

Smith is by the team that runs the Proof pizzeria and Grano pasta parlour in Bangsar; head chef Meg Lee and her team know their stuff, so we'd have complete confidence in purchasing whole loaves here. Boule recommendations include the country sourdough (RM13) and farmhouse caraway seed sourdough (RM15); a brioche bun costs RM6, while a brioche loaf is RM18.

Pair your fermented bread with a fermented beverage - Smith's kombucha is a lively, smooth-sipping affair (RM15). And with a Seattle-built Slayer espresso machine on the counter, you can also count on uncompromisingly aromatic coffee.

Smith: Wood-Fired Oven Breadsmiths

71, Jalan Setia Bakti, Damansara Heights, Kuala Lumpur. Open Tuesday-Sunday, 830am-5pm. Tel: 03-2011-2682

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