[ By Eunice Yin ]
I dropped by Jam & Kaya Cafe, tucked away in a cozy corner at PJ Palms Sport Centre, facing a lap pool, on a Thursday, right around 11.15am. I was greeted by Karen, one of the owners, and she guided my +1 and I to a table next to a window. Sunlight for great photos? Check.
We were each presented with a menu, and I swooned over how cute it looked.
We asked for suggestions as this was our first visit, and Karen gladly pointed out the following few dishes: Jam & Kaya’s Spring Roll, Corn Fritters (New Item), and their signature dish – the Jam & Kaya Pancake.
The +1 and I Instagrammed while waiting for the food to arrive, which was relatively quick because we totally beat the lunch crowd (still proud, not sorry).
The first to arrive was Jam & Kaya’s Spring Roll.
I couldn’t place my feelings into words at first, as I did not expect them to have a hint of spice – I’d say, this was a pleasant surprise. Slightly tangy, cheesy, and aromatic. And to test how well the spring roll’s magic would last (because when food cools down it gets all soggy and meh, am I right?) I bit into the last experimental piece 30 minutes into serving, and it was still crunchy and flavourful. Spring rolls – 1 ; Eunice – 0.
Next came the Corn Fritters.
The Corn Fritters were packed with a generous amount of fresh corn kernels, fried to a delectable golden brown, topped with caramelised onions, chicken sausage bits, and a beautiful sunny side up showered with pepper and paprika. The combination of all these ingredients may seem overwhelming, but in actual fact isn’t. I also see this as an alternative to hash browns, which contain much more carbs than we actually need. Therefore, corn fritters #FTW .
And finally, the Jam & Kaya Pancake.
Oh my goodness. If you want true love, this is it. Down-to-earth, loveable – and it has kaya! Generous with its berrylicious toppings, maple syrup, vanilla ice-cream, I took my first bite right into its fluffy goodness, and instantly knew that I was going to be a regular. I naively assumed that the amount of syrup, ice-cream, jam, and kaya would be a decadent fight, but I was proven wrong once again. I will definitely reminisce on how homey this tasted until my next visit.
Aside from the food, I also ordered the cafe’s signature drink – Mocha and Choco Balls, and a regular Hot Lemon Tea.
The Mocha and Choco Balls was pure cocoa realness, no superficiality; it is technically hot chocolate, but better. Topped with chocolate coated wafer balls, the outer layer dissolved delicately with the bittersweet cocoa drink when I took my first sip… #oomph. It complements the sweet and fluffy pancakes, and literally makes the perfect couple. The Hot Lemon Tea was a friendly drink to end the indulgent meal, and served at the right temperature. This pleased me greatly.
We managed to have a casual chat with Karen, right before the lunch crowd started to pour in. She mentioned that Jam & Kaya is the product of her friendship with co-owner, Janice. When we asked if they have any plans to franchise it, she smiled and said no. “This is mainly due to quality control and being able to truly call it our own. Some of our friends wanted to help design this place, but we realised that this was a collection of individuality. They said, ‘you guys are so rojak – we don’t think it’s advisable for us to dabble in designing this love child of yours.’ So we threw everything together and made Jam & Kaya Cafe.” Heartwarming, don’t you think?
We decided to leave when it got crowded, and Karen excused herself to tend to the rest of the customers. It was truly uplifting to experience such hands-on hospitality, from customer service to food preparation, and the rare integrity of the business owners.