Sunday, April 19, 2015

Cafe Dola @ Changkat Thambi Dollah

Cafe Dola is the offspring of a random encounter - Jueliene, a local TV producer, contacted Alex, who manages Changkat Thambi Dollah's Ceria Hotel, to reserve some rooms last November. In subsequent conversations, Alex mentioned a space beside his hotel that he wanted to turn into a cafe. It was the right place & time for Jueliene & two of her friends, Izzat & Haziq, who recently founded a cafe consultancy & catering initiative called Projekt & Quick Brown Fox. The trio have since remade Alex's space, a former herbal tea shop, into Cafe Dola, a promising spot with nice people, honest cooking & wholesome vibes.

 Cafe Dola balances the familiar & the fresh for its look, from the choice of lights to the Peranakan-inflected flooring, the cement bar to the woodwork of Nolin Teh Carpentry. There's an attention to detail too for the menu; it's not a long list, but we found ourselves ordering more than expected - sandwiches stuffed with chicken luncheon ham & fried egg (RM10), pan-seared sole with veggies, potatoes & house-made dill cream sauce (RM18), spicy prawn sambal spaghetti (RM16) & oven-baked chicken roll with mozzarella-topped tomato, sauteed spinach, mushrooms & honey mustard sauce (RM20).

  Cafe Dola's recipes feel like a work in progress, with further fine-tuning forthcoming as the kitchen matures, but there's something to appreciate about each dish. More polish is needed to make these offering shine, but it's nonetheless easy to dig into & enjoy a hearty bowl of granola with fruits, yoghurt, milk & maple syrup (RM12), Nutella-filled French toast (RM12) & flambeed bananas with ice cream (RM11). Everything remains conveniently available all day long, afternoon through night.

 Izzat & Haziq may have earned their stripes in fields like advertising, but they've secured enough experience at a few cafes in recent months to make easy-to-endorse piccolo lattes, ristrettos (RM6) & flat whites (RM9) with a bankable blend of beans. Alternatively, the vanilla-flavoured Dola Soda (RM10) is a potent antidote for humid afternoons. Trivia: Cafe Dola's name is a play on the 'Dollah' in Changkat Thambi Dollah. And while Jueliene, Izzat & Haziq might not be the owners of this cafe, they have an emotional stake in it & consider it their first baby, so expect to see them both here & elsewhere in the months ahead.

While we're happy to welcome Cafe Dola to this street, we have to bid a heavy-hearted farewell to Chicco Di Caffe, another hotel-linked cafe at Changkat Thambi Dollah. We hadn't written about Chicco Di Caffe earlier, but it's now closed. The cafe's founder, Danny, created a lovely first-floor hideout - calm, charming & warm-hearted - serving sandwiches, cakes & coffee. We wish Danny, a genuinely friendly chap, luck in his future pursuits, & hope to bump into him in another place at another time.

Cafe Dola
270 Changkat Thambi Dollah, Kuala Lumpur. Daily, 12pm-11pm

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18 comments:

  1. Spicy prawn sambal spaghetti for me, please. Looks good. Chicken luncheon ham? No, thanks. Are those the frozen chicken slices they sell at the supermarts or what? Those, really not nice. I'd go for turkey ham anytime.

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    1. Suituapui: it was actually quite a decent deli cut ... not an expensive one, since the sandwich was only RM10, but still entirely enjoyable :)

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  2. Maple syrup, granola and yogurt for me please!

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    1. Ken: a fibre-rich brekkie ... or in this case, supper!

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  3. Spicy prawn sambal spaghetti reminds me of the sambal prawn pasta I made in Africa! I haven't made that since I came back.

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    1. CK: heheh, oh ya, i think i remember seeing your delicious pics of that pasta! :)

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  4. What a lovely place, Sean! The presentations are beautiful and full of colour and creativity! :)

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    1. Linda: those are definitely good words to describe Cafe Dola :)

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  5. nice thambi restaurant~ =)

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    1. Happy walker: glad you like the look of this place :)

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  6. Those foods are amazing! The place looks cozy and elegant as well. Hope you enjoyed your dining. :)

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    1. Lux: we definitely had a positive experience here :)

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  7. Endings and beginnings. Cafe Dola looks like it has potential once it gets into its stride.

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    1. YouHadYourLunch: yeah, the circle of life :) the folks who run cafe dola have the determination to do well :)

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  8. Best of luck to the new cafe owners. :-)

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    1. The Yum List: yep, wishing them well :)

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  9. so so true. We were staying at Ceria Hotel early August this year and had all our meals there. The spaghetti was out of this world and so the breakfast selection. Amazing service and a great place. I would like to write to the owners directly and congratulate them on this amazing place. Do you think you can help me do that.

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  10. I can add a picture of the food we ate, but there is no allowance for that here

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