Tatler Malaysia | Life
Text : Michele Theseira Photos : Allan Casal
If there's one place that fully
satiates both your soul and senses and is ideal for keeping
one's spirits up, it has to be WiP, the latest hotspot in town,
writes Michele Theseira.
If you're one who hears 'Where
everybody knows your name' in familiar tune at the mere mention
of the classic sitcom Cheers, then you'll understand the feeling
of being in WiP. Surely everybody will know your name if you're
a regular here. But first timers to WiP are also bound to
recognize some names, with WiP sizzling as the hot spot to be
seen at, achieving status nouveau in our books.
According to the
celebrated restaurateur couple Fred Choo and Michele Kwok, he says that
she is the creative talent behind their F+B outlets while she says that
he's the business mastermind behind it all. Together, they inform, "
Opportunity knocks but once. This site is not just any location. It's
about the most strategic prime spot in the heart of Bangsar, which was
simply too irresistible to give a miss. We simply could not say no,"
they reason. And with the backing and egging from their dedicated team
of managers and staff, ever supportive of expanding, the whole committed
squad decided to jump onto the bandwagon. "With only a month to get
business running due to BSC's revamp, renovations at WiP were imminent,"
informs Michele. Hence, WiP, initially denoting "Work in Progress"
[knowing it had to close during the revamp], transformed aptly into
'Whipped into Place' - still brilliantly recognized as WiP.
Watermelon and Feta cheese starters
magnet | The
clam bar's one of the many attractions that entice the crowd
Although planning and
design only began some six months before the launch, the actual
renovation, production and execution of the restaurant-bar-lounge
concept did not take off until May 2009 - an incredible bout of time to
get things up and running, looking at the current groovy set-up. It
encapsulates the whole essence of this 'sophisticated urban-tropic
garden', designed by the distinguished Ed Poole of Poole Associates.
One can already imagine
the amount of work that transpired. "It was my husband, the slave
driver, who kept me working long hours till completion," humors the
effervescent life and business partner of Fred, Michele, as he smiles
upon her light-hearted teasing. In fact, the working couple are living
proof of the words 'soul mates' - emitting the spirit of a pair,
completely sold on each other, including every aspect of their business
and family life. But Fred - a slave driver?
One has to wonder after
seeing Michele with whip in hand and Fred hoisted by a crane to put up
the signboard, marking the official opening of WiP.
Portobello mushrooms are whipped up deliciously
style | As
this is a popular place, its best to make reservations to avoid
The setting here is
designed to take on a resort-in-the-city atmosphere. Patrons will
experience a sense of being away from the hurly-burly of the city,
feeling as though they're at a chic coastal holiday resort 'resembling
Ibiza, Monte Carlo, Cannes, Noosa or Palm Beach". With Ed Poole
pooled to oversee the interior design and decor as well as creative
ideas from Michele herself, the intricacies involved in coming up with
this spectacular rave about town is unimaginable. Take the clam bar for
instance, which maximizes social interaction between guests and the bar.
This enables patrons to get up close, not particularly personal, as
bartenders entertain with fire-flaring feats and cocktail presentations,
further emanating the restaurant's coastal cuisine concept. "The pivot
door system opens the space to the outdoors with the alfresco garden
incorporating real palm tree trunks erected around water features to
enhance the coastal resort fee," explains Ed. Furnishings flow in line
with the concept as organic shapes and earthly tones accentuate the
mood. Etched bird mirrors and 75 firefly-inspired pendant lights exude
the feel as though you're outdoors, even while being indoors.
< The mouth watering
Espetada is a must
Flavorful furnishings | The
sophisticated 'urban-tropic garden' concept
The menu at WiP skews towards the regional
coastal cuisine too, but with a touch of Asia thrown in. Ingredients
promise to be fresh and quality uncompromised, with the Espetadas hot on
the menu. Eclectic embodies the menu at WiP, surging with new flavors
from 15 international coastal regions, introducing the palate to
innovative methods of cooking. But all that's new may not necessarily
hit off with everyone, so perennial favorites are made to stay and prove
to be tasty treats for many. Beverages come in a list of their own,
featuring premium and boutique labels, cocktails and champagnes. The
many variations of sangrias and Mojitos are phenomenal - real thirst
quenchers and a delicious signature staple at WiP. Those who fancy a
cigar can ask for the list of options or simply peek into the humidor.
spaces cater for varied groups
Everyday is an exciting one at WiP, as
many themes take the spotlight each night, from different music genres
to varied activities and promotions - even a change in staff uniforms.
The environment here is upbeat and sophisticated, like the crowd -
international and local chic trendsetters, well-travelled discerning
circles, casually dynamic yet elegant sociable cliques and, not to
forget, the party of arty-licious quick-witted intellectuals.
The scene mixes sophistication with
elegance, oozing with the essence of its gracious hosts - trendsetters
who advance with the times. So when can we expect another par excellence
project from Fred Choo and Michele Kwok? Seen as sure things who work
their 'Midas touch' to a gleaming and thorough shine, we're pretty
confident there's already another one up their avant-garde sleeves,
ready to roll out in revolutionary style.
< Delicious Asian
Lot G111, Ground Floor
Bangsar Shopping Centre
285, Jalan Maarof, Bukit Bandar Raya
59000 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Daily from noon till closing
T : 03 2094 1789 | 2789
F : 03 2094 3789
back to WiP page