Afro-Caribbean Flavours in the Heart of KL

Joloko

Joloko in Chow Kit is the restaurant du jour and we break down why.

Whether you’re surrounded by foodies or friends who love to go about painting 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, the gorgeous bar and restaurant is the culmination of all of their expertise, including architecture, design, food, beverage, and hospitality.

Background

Joloko

Joloko

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. After not being able to put what they saw behind them for a while, they brought in future partners Shin and Penny (the masterminds behind Mentahmatter) to take a look, and the rest was history. The place immediate 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 life. As for the name, it was supposed to be a play on the word ‘jolokia’, which is a type of chilli but has come to be an onomatopoeic expression of “I’m crazy” in Spanish.

Ambience

 

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Drawing from the Afro-Caribbean culture, tattoo artist Apoh Apoh has adorned the walls of Joloko in vibrant colours and art works. Every nook and cranny of the bar and restaurant  has not been spared from 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 home is kept intact, with the courtyard signature to pre-war shophouses providing ample lighting 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 leading to the dining spaces both downstairs and upstairs.

Drinks

Joloko
Tequila and mezcal side by side.

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 made from the fruit of the calabash tree. Co-owner Rick Joore is always more than happy to explain to patrons about this rare drink and expect to find a variety of cocktails made from mezcal as well.

Food

Joloko
Guava glazed prawn tostadas with fava bean puree and pickled cabbage .
Joloko
Moutabal with spicy harissa – smoky eggplant dip.
Joloko
Pork carnitas – slow braised pork in sesame Mexican chillies.
Joloko
Joloko chilli cheesecake

The man of 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 to an end is dessert a la Joloko – cheesecake but with chilli. Enjoy!

Joloko
43, Jalan Kamunting,
Chow Kit, 50300 Kuala Lumpur.

Opening hours:
Sunday – Thursday 5pm – 1am
Friday – Saturday 5pm – 2am

The Dang Wangi/ Chow Kit are is full of culinary treasures! Find out more here!

Photos: UPPRE.

Vimal Palasekaran

Vimal Palasekaran

Loud laugher. TV buff. Hispanophone.
Vimal Palasekaran

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