A workspace for baristas, bakers and chefs is now a lovely eatery


Au’s passionate team is the reason why he wants to continue to invest in people and help them upskill themselves. — Photos: YAP CHEE HONG/The Star

Perched along a busy main road in Petaling Jaya is Flour, Fire & Stone. It has been nearly a year since its inception, but calling it a restaurant still seems like a little bit of a misnomer because it wasn’t originally intended to be one.

The space is the brainchild of Au Tai Hon, the founder of Kenny Hills Bakers. While Au’s two children have now taken over the mantle of the Kenny Hills Hospitality Group which now includes Kenny Hills Bakers, Kenny Hills Coffee as well as restaurants like Amazonas, this is Au’s pet project.

“This is our hub – we have a coffee roastery, a bakery and a kitchen. I decided to grow the business to empower my people to learn more about their profession so they could upskill themselves

“It wasn’t designed to be a restaurant at all, it was meant to be our workshop and hub for upskilling our staff. But when I first started it, a lot of the neighbouring industrial lots said ‘Why don’t you have a dine-in section?” says Au.

The space is expansive and features bird’s eye views of the inner workings of a roastery, bakery and restaurant kitchen. The space is expansive and features bird’s eye views of the inner workings of a roastery, bakery and restaurant kitchen.

And that is how Flour, Fire & Stone became a restaurant built around a workspace.

The space is enormous – stretching from a foliage-laden outdoor eating area to an indoor area with a coffee roastery, coffee storage space, bakery, pizza kitchen and restaurant kitchen with tables and chairs wrapped around it.

There is a constant air of hustle and bustle at the space, because the team is always hard at work on something. In many ways, it is like visiting a culinary school that happens to have a restaurant attached to it.

At the roastery, barista Harith Iskandar Caezar is in the midst of roasting coffee beans using the Giesen roaster (a custom-made Dutch roaster that costs about RM200,000), one of many coffee roasters that Au has invested in. Harith estimates that he and his team roast approximately one tonne of beans a month, sourced from Ethiopia, Panama, Honduras and Colombia.

Harith is one of the baristas spearheading the workshop eatery's artisanal coffees. Harith is one of the baristas spearheading the workshop eatery's artisanal coffees.

Meanwhile at the bakery, a baker is hard at work making bread out of spelt, an ancient grain. At Flour, Fire & Stone, Au lets his team experiment with ancient grains, the same way his pastry team is given the leeway to experiment with different flavour variations. All the pizza doughs and breads are made of organic-stone milled flour.

Everywhere you walk in the eatery, Au will point out someone from the team who has been instrumental in developing the brand. All seem to be loyal to him and more importantly, he believes in all of them.

Which is also why Au has invested the money he has made back into his people. “I gave up on buying my Ferrari,” he jokes, motioning to the array of gleaming coffee roasters that he says cost more than the price of the luxury car.

As the restaurant happened inadvertently rather than by intent, the menu was developed after the fact but has been crafted with care by head chef Sylvester Marcus.

Wood-fired sourdough pizzas are a highlight at the eatery. Wood-fired sourdough pizzas are a highlight at the eatery.

To begin with, definitely look at trying the breakfast and brunch options (available from 9am through 3pm) like the Smorgasbord (RM43). For this, Marcus combined the Middle Eastern olive oil “matzo” cracker with a Danish open sandwich called a smorgasbord. In this iteration, the long, thin cracker is heaped with smoked salmon, hickory glazed beef brisket (marinated and cured in-house), chilli oil and poached eggs.

This is a whopping feast of a breakfast that is good for two to three diners. Portions are ginormous and there is plenty of brisket and smoked salmon to go around. The beef is tender with smoky notes while the smoked salmon has briny undertones and a velvety texture. The richness of both is sluiced through by the balsamic vinegar with the poached eggs adding soft, albumen goodness to the meal. If you’re ever craving a big breakfast, this is the hot ticket right here!

The smorgasbord is a huge sandwich that can easily feed two or three hungry diners.The smorgasbord is a huge sandwich that can easily feed two or three hungry diners.

Another brunch option that is worth every bit of your attention is the Creuben (RM40) which features focaccia bread filled with salt-corned beef, horseradish mayo, melted Gruyere cheese, balsamic onion marmalade and jalapeno. Oh, this is so good! The bread tides the whole concoction together, offering an equal mix of crunchy carapace and doughy softness and this segues into the beef, which is addictively good. The melted cheese and caramelised onions add textural and flavour contrast and the entire sandwich is just the equivalent of the best sort of good news, because it spreads cheer and goodwill the minute you sink your teeth into it.

From the sourdough pizzas on offer, the Al Funghi (RM48) is a sure-fire winner that features portobello mushrooms, white button mushrooms, truffle paste and truffle oil and mozzarella cheese. The pizzas at the eatery are cooked using wood-fired pizza ovens, so they all boast those coveted “leopard spots” that pizza connoisseurs often look for. Each slice features fat, silken mushrooms, lots of gooey cheese and a texture that is lightly crispy but with a solid heft, bite and mouthfeel.

The Creuben is a fantastic sandwich that is packed with salted beef, jalapeno, balsamic onions and melted cheese in what proves to be a hedonistically good combination.The Creuben is a fantastic sandwich that is packed with salted beef, jalapeno, balsamic onions and melted cheese in what proves to be a hedonistically good combination.

From the pasta selection, opt for the Linguine Prawns (RM53) which is awash in tiger prawns, chilli, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes and grilled zucchini. The pasta is heaving with tiger prawns (there were at least eight in my portion) and there is no “stinge” factor with the other ingredients either. Everything is cooked perfectly and there is a wonderful coalescence of heat from the chillies, tanginess from the sun-dried tomatoes and pungency from the garlic but the highlight is the prawns, which are fat, fluffy and mercifully plentiful.

You would do yourself a massive disservice if you decided to skip dessert because this is an absolute highlight at Flour, Fire & Stone. The pastry team work hard to concoct a range of sweet treats to seduce your tastebuds and they do this very convincingly with a range of temptations so visually bewitching, you’re simply not human if you decide to give it a pass.

Fat, fresh prawns are the star of the show in the linguini prawns.  Fat, fresh prawns are the star of the show in the linguini prawns.

From what’s on offer, look at indulging in the Mango Passionfruit Tart (RM12++) which features a lovely mango-passionfruit topping aboard a tart crust that is neither too sturdy nor too unwieldy. The fruity elements are alive and thriving in this configuration and work hard to gain your attention, but not to be outdone, the tart proves itself suitably up to the task. In the end, you won’t be able to decide which element you liked better because both were so good.

Up next, indulge in the Pineapple Coconut Jelly (RM18++) which is a tropical delight that combines pineapple against a light sponge cake and coconut in what proves to be a riotously fun, light combination that is the gastronomic equivalent of a beach holiday.

Do not leave without sampling the desserts at the eatery. Pictured here clockwise from left: banoffee tart, pineapple coconut jelly and mango passionfruit tart. — YAP CHEE HONG/The StarDo not leave without sampling the desserts at the eatery. Pictured here clockwise from left: banoffee tart, pineapple coconut jelly and mango passionfruit tart. — YAP CHEE HONG/The Star

Coffees are star-powered at this eatery and are to taken very seriously, so if you’re a coffee lover (and even if you’re not), you cannot go wrong with any cup of coffee available here.

One of Au’s personal favourites is the Spanish Cortado (RM12). Could this be the perfect cup of coffee? It kind of feels that way. This is a coffee that is robust with a tangy aftertaste. It has a purity of flavours that makes it feel both simultaneously opulent as well as home-spun, which is its own kind of wizardry.

If you’re a more ardent fan of java, have a hit of the Colombian Filter Coffee (RM19). This is made using long-fermented Colombian pink bourbon coffee bean. This is a coffee wild child, the sort of punk rebel that proves that going your own way is often the best way to go.

Every month, the barista team roasts over one tonnes of coffee beans. Every month, the barista team roasts over one tonnes of coffee beans.

The coffee is acidic with a pronounced tang from the fermentation and a boldness that reverberates throughout. Drink this if you’re feeling like something off-the-beaten track.

Ultimately though, Au says no matter how big the brand grows, he is nothing without his team, which is why his goal is to always look after them.

“We like to remain small while growing big. It’s a different way of looking at it,” he says humbly.

Flour, Fire & Stone

17, Jalan Professor Khoo Kay Kim

PJS 13, 46100 Petaling Jaya

Tel: 03-7931 3868

Open daily: 9am to 10pm

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