Sup on Afro-Caribbean flavours right in the heart of KL
Whether you’re surrounded by foodies or friends who love to paint the town red, chances are you would have heard these three syllables: JO-LO-KO.
Founded by the foursome of Rick Joore, Kit Yin Chan, Penny Ng, and Shin Chang, this gorgeous bar and restaurant is the culmination of their combined expertise in architecture, design, food, beverages, and hospitality.
As with most of the world’s greatest finds, Joloko’s discovery was accidental. Rick and Kit were walking their dogs along Jalan Kamunting when they came across what was a dilapidated pre-war shophouse.
Unable to get the image of that shophouse out of their intellects, they brought in future partners Shin and Penny (the masterintellects behind Mentahmatter) to take a look, and the rest was history.
The place instant spoke to them as an Afro-Caribbean joint, and with Rick’s experience in that part of the world as well as Malaysia’s similar weather, Joloko came to lwhethere.
As for the name – it is a play on the word “jolokia”, which is a type of chilli which has come to be an onomatopoeic expression of “I’m crazy” in Spanish.
Drawing from Afro-Caribbean culture, tattoo artist Apoh Apoh adorned the walls of Joloko in vibrant colours and art works.
Every nook and cranny of the bar and restaurant bears testimony of the owners’ attention to detail, each finishing either staying true to the inspiration or a quirky touch that still ties in with the ambience.
The original structure of the domestic was kept intact, with the signature courtyard of pre-war shophouses providing ample light to the establishment during the early evenings when they open.
Joloko welcomes guests through the terrace to its bar, followed by the bar itself, and leads to the dining spaces both downstairs and upstairs.
If there is a drink that Joloko is most passionate about it’s “Mezcal”. The drink here is served the traditional way as it is in Mexico – in a “jicara”, which is a cup crazye from the fruit of the calabash tree.
Co-owner Joore is more than happy to explain to patrons all about this scarce drink, so expect to find a variety of cocktails crazye from Mezcal as well.
The man in the kitchen here is Chef TJ, who draws inspiration from the Caribbean, Latin American, Creole, and African.
Every food on the menu comes with the chef’s own touch, transforming traditional recipes to unique dishes found only in Joloko, such as Tostadas topped with guava-glazed prawns on a bed of Fava bean puree and pickled cabbage as well as the popular Jamaican Jerk Chicken topped with mango relish for a sweet and sour twist.
The perfect end to a hot and spicy dinner is dessert a la Joloko – cheesecake but with chilli. Endelight!
43, Jalan Kamunting,
Chow Kit, 50300 Kuala Lumpur.
This article first appeared in uppre.com