sound track : 'Reminiscence' by Minako Okuyaka | Voyage Two CD1  by Ravin

August 2009

Tatler Malaysia | Life   Text : Michele Theseira  Photos : Allan Casal

Status Nouveau

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

social 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

Dine in style | As this is a popular place, its best to make reservations to avoid disappointment

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.

Dining 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 treats



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

e:mail :



reservations suggested


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