(Note: All photographs in this post are courtesy of Riz Ainuddin)

I usually get my yearly dosage of jazz music from the Dewan Filharmonik Petronas MPO Jazz Series, where the Bald Eagle and I hold season tickets. So naturally, I was excited to find out that there was a new kid in town (as far as jazz bars cum restaurants are concerned anyway) called Groove Junction.

Brian from All Dat Jazz, on behalf of the owners of Groove Junction, Joanne and Jennifer, sent us an invitation to sample their food. Jazz musician, Jose Thomas, is a musical director here, while his wife, Ellena, is the head chef at the restaurant. I found out, later that evening, that Ellena used to run a restaurant at Riana Green. The lovely Korean lady has been cooking for a number of years and has mastered not only Korean and Western dishes, but also Indian cuisine.

I love the decor and ambience at Groove Junction. The restaurant is tastefully decorated in earthy tones of cream and brown and the soft lights lend a cozy feeling to the entire place. Live music is always great, and we were entertained that night by Cheong, a bossanova specialist.

The menu has an extensive range of choices with a number of dishes creatively named after jazz greats. We were served an appetizer consisting of two items on their menu, namely Yam Nam – glass noodles with roast beef, and mushroom bruschetta. The Yam Nam is a cold dish with a tangy flavour from the squeezed lime which is refreshing and spicy due to the addition of finely chopped chillies.

I especially enjoyed the mushroom bruschetta made of a velvety creamy sauce with a generous helping of sliced mushrooms.

The mains included Beef Panne, which was essentially tender slices of grilled beef served with a herb sauce which had a strong hint of pepper.

This dish is named after famous American jazz tenor saxophonist, Dexter Gordon. Chicken breast with a ham and cheese filling is fried to obtain a crisp outer layer. I loved the chicken, but didn’t care much for the serving of fries on the side. But I suppose I ought to remind myself that this is not only a restaurant but a bar as well, and fries do fit in well in a bar environment!

I love fish, so I suppose I can relate to Billie Holiday, the name of this pan-fried sole dish. The creamy mint sauce seemed to have a hint of yoghurt or sour cream, and I felt it went beautifully with the fried fillet.

I am no fan of red meat, but this dish, Ellena’s lamb steak, was undoubtedly my favourite. A dish named after the chef herself must certainly be good, and I was not disappointed. The meat was very tender and the sauce sweet. Chef Ellena mentioned that she used fruits to tenderise the meat. That certainly made sense as fresh fruits like pineapples, papayas and pears do have enzymes that can tenderise meat.

The final main course that we tried was the pan-fried chicken rolls in orange sauce named after Sonny Rollins, another jazz tenor saxaphonist. (Incidentally, Sonny Rollins, born in 1930, is still performing, having outlived most of his contemporaries.)

We also got to sample some of the finger food available at Groove Junction. The fried Chickalina’s is a dish of bite-sized pieces of chicken fried in a sweet black sauce. Can I say it’s finger lickin’ good?

I found the lamb curry a little mild, but I suppose it was toned down to suit the tastebuds of the masses. It was, nevertheless, reminiscent of my childhood days (well, and even now, I suppose) where I’d dip slices of bread into curry, gobble down the bread soaked in spicy goodness and slurp up the remaining curry afterwards.

By this time, we were rather full, but still had a little more space for dessert. I do have a sweet tooth and a weakness for cheesecake, so I didn’t require much persuasion to eat this dish!

I liked the creamy serving of tiramisu served with fresh fruit and whipped cream.

These banana rolls were served with ice cream. This is one of Ellena’s specialties, so do try it if you have a chance to visit this place.

It was a pleasant evening spent with fellow bloggers, Boo_licious, KY and Riz Ainuddin. A special thank you goes out to Joanne, Jennifer, Brian and Ellena for organising such a lovely meal for us.

Also check out Boo_licious’ review here.

Groove Junction (visit their website here)

1-1, Jalan 22A/70A, Desa Sri Hartamas, 50480 Kuala Lumpur

Tel: +603 6201 8990

Closed on Mondays. Open from 6pm onwards.

(Note: Thanks, Riz, for allowing me to use your wonderful photographs. We should do this again! You can view Riz’s gorgeous pictures here.)