What a ripoff
It’s curious that Solaris Mont Kiara has waited this long to get an upscale brunch cafe with how many similar, popular options there are just south of the neighbourhood. Jama KL takes its name from the Malay word “menjamah” meaning to feel and touch. Jama aims to be more than a restaurant, but an experience. If the experience is overpaying for food, they nailed it.
Ambience & Amenities
Jama KL is located on the huge corner lot at Jalan Solaris and Jalan Solaris 2. There are a lot of options on where to sit when dining here. There’s patio seating at the front and down the side of the restaurant. All of the tables on the patio are covered from the rain and have blinds to protect diners from the scorching sun.
Inside, a mix of tables and booths are arranged on three sides of a central fluted column. On the back wall are the crockery counter and kitchen. It’s comfortable, well-lit and modern in here. I almost missed it, but right near the ceiling and only accessible via a ladder is what looks like a DJ booth. An odd fixture for a brunch place, but Solaris becomes a nightlife hotspot once the sun goes down. If you come here on weekend evenings, expect Jama to be blasting music just like all the other bars in the area.
There is also space upstairs, but I think this is only open at night. At the top of the stairs, there is a row of low, cosy tables in front of the curtained windows that can be seen from below. The main room has a sultry lounge vibe with red-tinted lighting and a stage set up at the front of the room. There are some choice romantic booths and bar stools at the counter in addition to standard tables.
The toilets are in the passage in between the crockery counter and the stairs. Inside the women’s, there were two stalls that both had a western-style toilet in them. Toilet paper and a hook for purses are in the stall. There was only one sink, but it was stocked with soap and paper towels. The upstairs bar also has its own toilet and it appeared to have the same level of amenities as the downstairs toilets. Remember that the Solaris plaza has public pay toilets, so empty your bladder before you leave if you intend to walk around the area after your meal.
Breakfast is the focus of the Jama KL menu. The food is largely European but there is a local section on the menu with mamak food like nasi lemak and curry mee. Jama KL takes inspiration from around the globe with frequent Mediterranean and Indian touches in their dishes. The croffles are the most interesting thing, but to my disappointment, they were unavailable.
The beverage menu at Jama is more extensive than the food. Alcohol is listed on all four pages of the drink menu. Draught beer has a daily Happy Hour promotion from 4 pm to 8 pm. Filtered water is free, and will arrive in a wine bottle when you sit down.
I was drawn in by the Charred Pineapple Soda (RM16) but it was not as good as it sounded. I was expecting juicy, sweet grilled pineapple in a glass. What arrived was an underripe, kind of sour, and watered down glass of pineapple juice. Despite being called a soda, it wasn’t fizzy at all. There was added cinnamon, perhaps to simulate a grilled pineapple flavour, which was the finishing note when taking sips of this.
The Chicken & Coconut (RM22) was not what the menu made them out to be. Boneless wings are three inches long – you know, wing-sized – and usually covered in sauce. These were just chicken strips. The bowl had about six pieces of chicken and no sides. On the plus side, the chicken was juicy and tasted good, and was heightened by the flavoursome curry aioli.
The Breakfast Bun (RM25) was laughably small. There isn’t a plate tiny enough to make this dish not look ridiculous. This is no bigger than a slider, but unlike other restaurants, Jama only gives you one and, again, with not a hint of any side dishes! For RM25, this is just an arrogant fucking joke. The taste wasn’t even mind-blowing. The bun is no better than your run of the mill dinner roll. The duck bacon was only present in a couple of bites, otherwise, the main flavours are the plain omelette and smoky gruyere. The level of cheese is decent (for something this minuscule) with two thick triangles. I don’t know if it was because of the creme fraiche or the cheese not being melted, but this bun was slippery. Once I removed the skewer in the middle of the bun, I had to readjust the sandwich constantly otherwise the omelette or the top bun would have slipped off the sandwich. One thing I liked was that the kale had been baked beforehand so it had the crisp of kale chips and was easy to bite through.
When we sat down, I was looking forward to coming back and trying some of Jama’s other menu items. As soon as our child-sized meal was placed in front of us, I said out loud, “yeah… we’re not coming back here.” Everything is served on tiny appetizer plates to make it look like you’re getting a full plate of food. This is like a disguised tapas place where you have to order at least five things to be adequately full. The flavours are not amazing and the food is not even plated beautifully to justify the prices. Admittedly, Jama KL has the prettiest venue compared to their competition in Solaris, but I’m never coming here again when there are perfectly good alternatives on Jalan Kiara. I’m not paying more money for 40% less food.
Price for 2 Pax: RM69.30
Charred Pineapple Soda: RM16.00
Chicken & Coconut: RM22.00
Breakfast Bun: RM25.00
Address: Lot J-G-13 (Ground floor on the corner, under the Soho KL sign), Solaris Mont Kiara, Jalan Solaris, 50480 Mont Kiara, Kuala Lumpur
Opening Hours: Daily, 10am – midnight
Alcohol Served: Yes