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