Set in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, lies a lush greenery at the entrance of the door almost like it’s a secret getaway to a mystery that’s hiding behind it. Once you enter in, peculiar and interesting was the first thing that came to mind. You’ll see creative and somewhat of a tribal painting splashed across the walls of Joloko. All of the wall art is created by tattooist Apoh Apoh. Roller coaster looking neon lights up on the roof of the bar just makes the whole ambience an intimate one.
We were then greeted by two of the owners from Joloko – Rick Joore and Kit – who was gracious enough to share with us a little bit about the place. Rick was walking his dog one day when he saw a shop lot for rent/sale. He and Kit instantly saw the place and foresee a great bar concept can be opened here. They then contacted Shin Chang and Penny Ng (also the owners of Joloko) to spruce up this old residence to transport you out of the hustle and bustle of the city and onto a secluded island. Much of the original charm of the house has been preserved with additions of steel works and generations-old craftsmanship.
With Rick’s expertise in the pairing of food and alcohol and Kit’s party planning skills, you know you’ll be in Joloko for a ride!
“Afro-Caribbean is what we serve here. It has a melting pot of cultures and flavour to a dish and we always want our customers to just let loose and have fun throughout their visit here in Joloko” Rick Joore.
Don’t ask them how they got the names of the drinks here as it’s a super random name. Explains the name Joloko, eh?
An approachable drink where it has a hint of lime and a lychee that goes well with the alcohol. It also has a dry cherry in it to make the flavours an off-guard experience to the drinkers and more interesting one.
It comes with the normal margarita, tequila triple sec and lime. To make it a more fun drink, they add in a gin and green chilli. Yes, you heard that right. Plus, they grow their own chilli so ingredients are as organic as it gets. This is not your typical sweet margarita too. Has a strong flavour to it.
Its Dutch and also used in Afrikaans meaning blue bay. It is a long island iced tea, for grown-up people. Gin, tequila, vodka, lemon, topped with Mediterranean tonic. A great summery drink!
If you’re wondering why the name sounds so familiar, it’s because that’s the name of an English female singer. It’s basically a tequila and grapefruit soda. Rick mentioned that he added mint in to make people think it’s mojito but obviously it’s not with the alcohol present. It’s all about having a good laugh at the end of the day.
Where do I even begin with the mouth-watering food that we were served?
Bread and Dips
For something that’s light, try the bread and dips. It’s a moutabal with spicy harissa that comes with a smoky eggplant dip (left image). It’s interesting how an eggplant dip surprisingly tastes super good and really is a great snack after you’ve gulp alcohol in your system. (RM 20)
Next, we were presented with spinach and yoghurt with turmeric dip and mezcal soaked raisins (right image). For those who don’t know Mezcal, it is a distilled beverage made of agave, most commonly Espadin, there are over 30 varieties that can be used. Mezcal comes from Mexico and is an origin protected product, just like Cognac and Champagne. There is a total of 8 states in Mexico where Mezcal can be made including the most popular state Oaxaca. The spinach and yoghurt gave a distinct freshness to it while eating. An interesting combination that everyone should try. (RM20)
A colourful and fun food that matches the restaurant vibe with the guava glazed prawn tostadas with fava bean puree and pickled cabbage. To be honest, this was probably one of the most vibrant food colours I’ve seen in my one year of doing a food review. Obviously, I had to Instagram it! When it comes to its taste, the generous portion of the prawn with the bean puree just comes out bursting with diverse flavours. From the touch of pickled cabbage brings a distinctly sweet taste. Perfect for those seafood experimenters! (RM 35)
It wouldn’t be balanced without some meat. Pork to be exact. The pork carnitas was a sight to behold. It’s a slow braised pork in sesame Mexican chillies. Those of you who love spicy as much as I do, this is your go-to picking for sure. (RM 30)
This next dish is probably one of my favourite dish in Joloko and it’s the grilled barramundi with jerk spice and coconut sauce. Although I may prefer the sauce to be slightly more, regardless you can still taste the thickness of the coconut sauce. The barramundi on the other hand, splendid! (RM 30)
Mains and Sides
When we spoke to Rick regarding the inspiration behind this next main food, he mentioned that he finds it so difficult to locate a restaurant that sells Jamaican jerk chicken in KL. While he was in Amsterdam, he observed that the longest queue in a food festival was the Jamaican cuisine. So, that’s where the Jamaican jerk chicken with mango relish and pickled cabbage was formed in Joloko. The mango relish presents a generous portion and blends very well with this Jamaican cuisine. A must try! (RM 65)
Next, we had a bone in lamb steak with African peanut sauce. What was interesting about the dish was the fact that the peanut sauce sort of reminded me of the satay peanut sauce that we as Malaysians eat but this time it has mild heat with a nutty blast and a tiny spark of chunky butter too. Perfect for a foodie photographer! (RM 120)
As a side dish, we got the snake bean salad. It comes with spelt, poppy seeds and black garlic vinaigrette. Before most of you panic with the name of the dish, it’s not an actual snake but rather an asparagus name that is known as the yardlong bean. Of course, it ain’t real poppy seeds that’ll make you high. The whole dish, presents a wonderful flavour that’s perfect to blend in with the main dishes served there. (RM25)
Who can resist a cheesecake?
This may not be your ordinary cheesecake as I present to you Joloko Chilli Cheesecake. The owners of this place sure do love their food served hot and spicy. As for this cheesecake, you won’t be able to feel the chilli sensation until the aftertaste kicks in. Creamy and rich in cheese put this to a wonderful end in Joloko. (RM 20)
About the chef: Chef TJ draws influence from the Caribbean, Latin American, Creole, and African cuisine, which is presented in a shared dining style. There is something for everyone from charcoal grilled meats to vegan options, dips and pickings, and heart-warming sweets. His range of home-made hot sauces will keep you coming back for more or begging for milk.
Want to feel the spice from Joloko?
Business Hours: 5 pm to 1 am on weekdays, 5 pm to 2 am on weekends
Address: 43 Jalan Kamunting, Off Dang Wangi, 50300 KL
Contact: +603 2694 1100 or email@example.com
Social media: JOLOKO KL
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