KUALA LUMPUR, April 9 — There are so many variations on nasi lemak these days, from nasi lemak flavoured ice cream to nasi lemak sushi.

More often than not, these wacky creations are meant to draw attention though sometimes it’s flak they receive instead. Eventually (inevitably, some might argue) the novelty wears off and the hordes make a beeline for the Next New Shiny Thing.

Not all reinventions are all bark and no bite, however. Some bear closer inspection and appreciation, such as the Nasi Lemak Pasta at The Dough Factory.

Much of it resembles the O.G., so to speak: sliced cucumber, fried peanuts and anchovies, a hard boiled egg cut into half. Even the presence of a whole fried chicken leg isn’t unusual. The addition of sambal sautéed prawns is very much welcome.


But instead of rice, The Dough Factory uses spaghetti here, tossed with mildly sweet housemade sambal. (Unlike many, I deplore overly sweet sambal so the chef’s careful hand with the sugar is a blessing.)

There is richness from the use of santan (coconut cream). The proteins, both the chicken and the prawns, remain moist and not overcooked. Simple details, well attended to.

This is a surprisingly good rendition of nasi lemak pasta, however you might imagine such a chimera might look or taste like.


But this isn’t an Italian-Malaysian fusion restaurant or pasta canteen.

The Dough Factory is a bakery and brunch café in Bandar Sri Damansara.
The Dough Factory is a bakery and brunch café in Bandar Sri Damansara.

Rather, The Dough Factory is a bakery and brunch café located in a more industrial part of Bandar Sri Damansara. Factories abound (hence the shop’s moniker, one assumes) though the neighbourhood has its fair share of artisanal eateries and food producers such as D’Artisan Cheese.

What this means is that one can expect the usual selection of coffees — from flat whites to Americanos — albeit a blend with a decidedly more robust flavour.

Perhaps a stronger dose of caffeine is in line with the décor: matte black metal furnishing and walls with concrete finish for the requisite industrial vibe.

Expect the usual selection of coffees with a robust flavour.
Expect the usual selection of coffees with a robust flavour.

Incidentally, I observed a display of coffee drip bags on their wall rack. I asked the barista about them and he confirmed these are by Ground Coffee Roasters in PJ; the coffee drip bags are available in the form of both house blends and single origin beans.

Beyond The Dough Factory’s coffee menu, the real draw for most customers ought to be their array of baked goodies. There are the usual viennoiseries: from classic croissants and pain au chocolat to more elaborate variants such as Chocolate Banana Croissant and Nutella Almond Croissant.

Walls with concrete finish for the requisite industrial vibe.
Walls with concrete finish for the requisite industrial vibe.

The most unusual offering here might be their Mentaiko Cheese Croissant — the briny salted pollock roe ought to pair well with some salty melted cheese. Alas, these only came out of the oven when we were finishing our meal, so maybe something to watch out for during our next visit.

Aside from these breakfast pastries, triangular pockets of puff pastry are also popular: you may decide between Chicken Rendang or Spicy Tuna.

The bakery-café also offers an assortment of cakes and tarts. There are doughnuts too, of course, as a nod to the shop’s name; these resemble ganache filled bomboloni.

Back to the pasta though.

Nutella Almond Croissant and Spicy Tuna Puff.
Nutella Almond Croissant and Spicy Tuna Puff.

Aside from their stellar Nasi Lemak Pasta, The Dough Factory has other pasta dishes such as the basic Aglio Olio and Carbonara as well as Smoked Duck Pesto. Those who savour a little heat might enjoy their Chili Crab Pasta with crab claw meat, prawns and their housemade chili crab sauce.

Still, it is their Nasi Lemak Pasta that is truly outstanding.

I had tried a different take on nasi lemak pasta some years ago in Ampang; that interpretation employed crushed anchovies and peanuts, cucumber cubes instead of sliced cucumber, popcorn chicken instead of a whole leg, a sunny side up instead of two halves of a hard boiled egg.

The bakery-café also offers an array of cakes and tarts.
The bakery-café also offers an array of cakes and tarts.

Interesting, for sure, but The Dough Factory’s Nasi Lemak Pasta feels closer to the real thing, if you will. One can imagine every element in this dish retained and merely swapping spaghetti for rice cooked in santan would produce a plate of “original” nasi lemak.

Fittingly, I noticed The Dough Factory does have a rudimentary nasi lemak on their breakfast menu, served with a piece of papadam. It’s certainly good practice to utilise the same ingredients for various items to avoid wastage.

Perhaps that is the theme of a neighbourhood like Jalan Gangsa, with the influx of eateries and cafés: that you are not necessarily speeding up gentrification of the area and taking away from its original charm, but adding to it, in what little way you can.

Here, that little contribution might just be a plate of nasi lemak — made with pasta.

The Dough Factory

32, Jalan Gangsa SD 5/3B, Bandar Sri Damansara, KL

Opens daily 9am-5pm

IG: https://www.instagram.com/thedoughfactory.my/

FB: https://www.facebook.com/thedoughfactorymy/

*This is an independent review where the writer paid for the meal.

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