Saturday August 15, 2009
New concept along the lines of an urban tropic garden
By LIM CHIA YING
IT IS no longer “Work In Progress”; it is now “Whipped Into Place”. That new moniker for WIP aptly describes the eatery’s transformation from a transient outlet to a lifestyle place.
The outlet’s new look was recently unveiled to press members in an exclusive preview, before its official launch on Oct 8.
Inspired by the famous coastal destinations of Nice in France and Santorini in Greece, the outlet has a resort-like atmosphere and is designed along the lines of an urban tropic garden.
Among its notable features are the clam-shaped island bar, designed without a single straight line; the firefly pendant lights, palm tree trunks, etched bird mirrors and an alfresco garden – all designed by world-renowned designers Ed Poole & Associates. [sic] Poole Associates Private Limited
During the sneak preview, the bartenders sashayed out to music in the background to show off their cocktail mixing skills, removing their helmets and outer construction suits to reveal their new uniform, much to the delight of some guests.
The routine was meant to symbolize the change from a work-in-progress outlet to something now fully in place with permanent fixtures.
According to WIP co-founder and owner Michele Kwok, a total of RM2mil was invested in creating the new concept and experience for guests.
“The new WIP is the result of our regular customers’ feedback and suggestions. The feature we are most proud of is the clam bar, which is purposely designed to encourage interaction between guests and also with the bartenders.
“The five elements of wood, fire, metal, earth and water, the key to the balance of harmony, are also incorporated in our outlet here,” Kwok said.
Following this, co-founder Fred Choo stepped outdoors and was lifted, in a gondola, by crane to put up the restaurant’s new signboard.
The crowd was served canapés and drinks and partied away.
Choo said the outlet was only about 90% complete, with more furniture and the centre piece still to come.
“When we first took over this place last November, there was a bit of a mess due to the wiring,” Choo said.
“Nevertheless, we opened it within a month and since nothing concrete was in place yet, we just called it Work In Progress as this place is meant to be in between Souled Out and 7atenine (their other outlets).
“This is WIP’s third transformation, and we decided this look is what we wanted as we have spent too much money on its refurbishments,” Choo said with a laugh.
According to him, the three outlets are distinct from each other: Souled Out is about fun and celebration, a neighbourhood cafe that serves all ages; while 7atenine is more of a chic, lifestyle destination where people chill out with cocktails, wines and champagnes.
WIP, meanwhile, has four kitchens – Western, Local, Northern Indian, and Pizzas, in which every dish is done a la carte – and exudes a fine coastal feel.
The menu reflects the outlet’s overall ambience – coastal cuisine from the world’s coastal regions. The house specialty is Espetada, which originates from Portugal – a skewer of meat marinated with garlic, salt and olive oil. Diners have a choice of beef, seafood or chicken.
For drinks, one might check out the house special Mojitos, which, Choo said, came in 19 different flavors, and the Spanish Sangria.
For each night of the week, there is a different theme (blending drinks and music) for guests to simply dine, wine and chill out.
The outlet can seat about 320 currently, but when everything is complete, it will be able to accommodate 500, including the sofa seats.
WIP is located in Lot G111, Ground Floor, Bangsar Shopping Centre, Kuala Lumpur.