NOTA Cafe Restaurant – Kota Kemuning, Shah Alam
Words: Matt Brown
Photos: Rich Callahan
I noticed towards the end of our recent visit to NOTA Cafe Restaurant in Kota Kemuning that over the duration of our time, the gorgeous space had gone from just hosting a couple of small tables to practically bursting at the seams with visitors in groups of all sizes – yet I hadn’t seen anyone come in. This is a pretty impressive skill possessed by all of the young and professional staff in this relatively new space that only opened in March 2022. To welcome everyone at the door and seamlessly guide them to a spot amongst the plants, locally made ceramics and gorgeous wooden furniture is the first indication that you’re at an eatery that knows what it’s doing.
The staff are personable and careful to understand the needs of every visitor, so they will happily work to meet any allergen or food restriction requirements. Nothing seems too hard, and everyone is so friendly, even before the first dish arrives at the table. They take reservations but also leave a few tables free for walk-ins, which indicates not only their popularity but also the way they appreciate how far some of their customers come and don’t want to turn anyone away.
NOTA Cafe Restaurant takes care to source as much locally sourced produce as they can and make everything on their menu from scratch – helped by the skills and expertise of Chef Jack, who has worked in fusion restaurants in Switzerland and the UK and for whom NOTA is the first Malaysian location. His training in French kitchens shines through in particular, as the NOTA kitchen produces sauces for their dishes that are especially notable. NOTA-ble (see what I did there?).
NOTA Cafe Restaurant Menu
Modern European dishes infused with Japanese flair – no wonder the place was heaving by mid-morning. The all-day menu offers a variety of dishes, from breakfast platters to pizza and mains, as well as smaller snacks, desserts and plates for sharing.
The Chirashi Poke Bowl (RM30) serves lightly poached Japanese octopus and three-day cured diced Norwegian Fjord trout on soba noodles. Served with a mesclun salad and NOTA’s homemade wafu dressing, which is a sauce made of diced carrots and onion, marinated overnight in a vinegar and olive oil mix. It’s super light and fresh, with the seafood elements balancing the other flavours in the bowl.
Butternut Squash Lentil Risotto (RM35) is a genmai (brown) rice risotto served with charcoal-grilled butternut squash slices and sauteed cubes, as well as lentils and a creamy butter and parmesan reduction. The NOTA Cafe Restaurant kitchen takes great pride in producing 70% of its dishes, having had some contact with its charcoal oven, where binchotan wood infuses lightly smoky and woody flavours to complement the other flavours of each item. This is NOTA’s bestselling vegetarian item since it was added to the menu in August.
L’assassina Linguine (RM28) is another delicious option for vegetarians, with tomato chunks, Italian basil, sauteed garlic and a homemade tomato sauce, served on perfectly cooked linguine and topped with olive oil and parmesan cheese. This is not a heavy dish at all and was my surprise favourite for the day amongst a selection of standouts.
The Rotisserie (RM36) offers a plate full of homemade chicken bratwurst sausages that resemble little protein dumbbells, a tender thigh of sous-vide and charcoal-grilled chicken that has been charcoal grilled twice and which has a layer of shiitake glaze. Mushrooms, mashed hummus, tomato and salad greens, and a homemade hibachi sauce complete this dish. The ideal menu choice for those who count their macros daily and want to ensure they’re full for a workout later on, with a great combination of carbohydrates, fats, proteins and fibres. This dish has been on the menu since the start of Nôta and is now considered one of their signature items.
On the seafood side of things, the Crispy Dragon Bass (RM68) is a three-day cured sea bass that has been charcoal oven-roasted and comes with its crispy scales, achieved through quick frying in hot oil. It’s served with grilled local vegetables, carrot puree and a smoked hollandaise sauce and topped with kaffir lime. Chef Jack knows how to make this fish the perfect level of tenderness and flakiness, and the carrot puree is a wonderful accompaniment.
Having visited not long after the city was gripped with Halloween fever, we were served a verdant bowl of Spinach and Ricotta Gnocchi (RM35), which had been created to evoke a bowl of ghoulish greenery. Currently served in limited portions, here’s hoping it becomes a menu fixture – the blend of spinach and ricotta in the smooth sauce is excellent, with the handmade gnocchi contrasted with cherry tomatoes and crunchy croutons.
Drinks & Dessert Menu
Not only do they know how to decorate a space and make excellent food for everyone’s tastes, but they also brew awesome coffee. The Flat White (RM12) is well textured and at the perfect temperature, made using locally roasted beans. A gorgeous-looking Iced Latte (RM13) balances the coffee and milk in a refreshingly cool glass.
For something a bit different, the Iced Earl Grey Chocolate (RM14) is a not-so-sweet blend of chocolate and tea that swirls like a dark tempest when the spoon mixes the flavours together. A refreshing and sunny glass of Yuzu Wild Mint (RM15) is a great choice on a hot day when you seek a cosy and cool respite in NOTA Cafe Restaurant.
A slice of cake from the dessert choices proves this cafe can be just as good as a location to go for some nice afternoon tea. The Cabernet Sauvignon Black Forest (RM24) is a rich combination of wine, raspberry chocolate mousse, chocolate sponge, vanilla mousse and raspberries and one slice was more than enough for the three of us to enjoy.
Reasons to visit NOTA Cafe Restaurant in Kota Kemuning: what a find outside the city! Our Yum List trio were unanimously impressed by the decor and vibes of the place, which feel authentically relaxing and do a great job of showcasing the beautiful work of local artist Silo Ceramics. Mon cheered at the quality of the coffee, Rich annihilated the Rotisserie chicken dish, and Matt would happily turn vegetarian if Chef Jack made all of his meals from now on. Join the ever-growing crowd and enjoy this neighbourhood favourite.
NOTA Cafe Restaurant Location
1-1, First Floor, Jln Anggerik Vanilla BF 31/BF
Kota Kemuning, 40460 Shah Alam, Selangor
+6017 489 1189
NOTA Cafe Restaurant Opening Hours
Thursday to Tuesday: 10:00 am – 10:00 pm