Jwala KL in Bukit Damansara
[Pork-free] Jwala is a newly opened fine-dining Indian restaurant in KL.
Taking residency at The Five at Bukit Damansara earlier this year, Jwala specialises in North Indian cuisine cooked in custom-made tandoor specially imported from Delhi, India.
[Nov 2023 UPDATE: Jwala was added to the Michelin Guide KL & Penang 2024. Check out our Michelin post here]
Jwala is helmed by Chef Vinu Raveendran, who trained at Oberoi before leading kitchens at Le Cirque at the Leela Palace and Carnival By Trèsind in India.
While we enjoyed the food and service here at Jwala – which means ‘flame’ in Sanskrit – we struggled to justify the high price tag for our dinner.
Read on to find out.
Jwala in Bukit Damansara
Jwala’s stunning interior is probably the first thing you’ll notice.
The atmosphere is both formal and intimate, with utilisation of proper fine China matched by a service that is impeccable.
The dining floor also offers a view into the inner workings of the kitchen – with the three copper tandoors taking centre stage.
There is also a private room on the side, if you’re looking for a more “omakase-style” based on our conversation with the manager.
Jwala’s Tandoori Croissant
With the tandoor as the feature, the bread here has to be good right?
Here at Jwala, the bread offered included Tandoori Taftan, Naan E Bah Khuummach, Flat Grilled Bread, and Laminated Pudhina Paratha.
If the prices were not a hindrance, we would have ordered all the different bread but we just settled for the Tandoori Croissant. It was also highly recommended by a friend who visited this place earlier.
At RM35 apiece, this was probably the best bread we’ve eaten. Just like its namesake, the bread is super crispy and flaky (but not to the point of utter disintegration upon touch).
It was also very tasty on its own as it was already seasoned with enough salt and ghee – so we didn’t really need the dhal we ordered.
Black lentil dhal
That said, ordered the Dal Jwala (RM65) we did – for bread must be paired with dhal.
Jwala’s iteration of the popular dish is made with black lentils and San Marzano tomatoes cooked on mangrove charcoal overnight.
The result is a moreish creamy dhal with mushroom-like earthiness.
For protein, we opted for the Jhinga La La (RM95).
This dish comprises three tiger prawns cooked with mustard oil, yoghurt and spices.
The presentation was pretty, and the prawns were really succulent and thoroughly seasoned for a good spicy bite with the distinct tandoor char.
Special Lucknowi Biryani
Jwala’s biryani offerings take inspiration from the 18th-century Nawabs of Awadh (who founded the city Lucknow in India), as it uses aged long-grain basmati rice cooked with spices over a slow fire (or dum).
Prices start at RM125 for vegetable biryani and go up to RM165 for prawn or lamb. We ordered the Chicken Biryani (RM145).
Make no mistake – the basmati rice is the fluffiest we’ve eaten anywhere. It is incredibly aromatic and flavourful as it was sealed with raita to really lock in the flavours.
Overall, was the food good? Sure.
How about the service and ambience? Lovely.
But do they justify the price? We struggle with this as while we really enjoyed the tandoori croissant and biryani – they are really quite pricey for what it is. Even our friend who visited this spot agreed so.
Perhaps there are high overhead costs and amortisation of equipment (re: Delhi-imported tandoors) to cover; we also learned that prices were already revised upwards once since their opening in February.
But if you are looking for a good spot for corporate dinners at your company’s tab (with a decent budget) – Jwala might be a good consideration.
Address: E-2-02, LEVEL 2, BLOCK E, THE FIVE, 49, Jalan Dungun, Bukit Damansara, 50490 Kuala Lumpur
Hours: 6pm-11pm Daily (Closed on Mondays)
Phone: 012-947 9100
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