When I read the words “Let the beauty of what you love, be what you do”, I think of one man.
Having worked the restaurants and hotels since he was 13, Chef Frankie Woo now runs his own place known as Gu Yue Tien. If the beauty of what he loves is in his food, then what Chef Woo does in the kitchen is undeniably one of the most excellent and creative forms of Chinese cuisine to emerge in Kuala Lumpur. At Gu Yue Tien you don’t even need to bother with the menu, the chef decides on precisely what to serve his guests. I loved the fact that when we sat down, the head waiter waved away the menus and declared “It has been ordered”.
Voice of an angel.
What is a Momo Duck Roll?
It is a pretty piece of plated ‘art’ consisting of a slice of tantalizing smoked duck, a sliver of mango, crispy bean-curd skin, pickled cucumber and spring onion, wrapped in place with a cucumber. The wasabi sauce in this ensemble is key to heightening the flavours in the roll. It also washes away the toll that everyday living takes on one’s soul. Super delicious!
A first rate soup is difficult to come by these days, what with certain restaurants taking short cuts with quick-boiling of soups plus loads of added MSG to speed things along.
The Double-boiled Pig’s Stomach Soup here is a joy to savor. It has an evil bite and a robust peppery-flavour that I love! Exactly like the kind my grandma makes in the kitchen at home. I felt no MSG ill effects after the dinner either indicating “no short-cuts taken”.
If ever Chef Woo had a claim to fame, I would say , let it be known as The Pan-fried Foie Gras and Stuffed Scallop in Orange and Honey Sauce. The uniqueness of this masterpiece lay in the subtleties of the flavours. Now you and I both know that if there is one thing Foie Gras is not, it is not subtle. So, how Chef Woo managed to envision and get just the right thickness of goose liver, pan fried to remove some of its gaminess then adding this to a lovely deep fried scallop and prawn-cake and served with orange sauce and jack-fruit and strawberries is just down right remarkable. What.. Andy Warhol says 15 minutes of fame? I say take the entire year Chef Woo!
Actually few diners leave Gu Yue Tien without savouring the chef’s speciality of Half-boiled Egg with Foie Gras which is essentially foie gras with a lightly poached egg, served in its shell but I think Chef Woo figured that the world is ready for something new. I totally agree! For now, the Pan-fried Foie Gras and Stuffed Scallop in Orange and Honey Sauce totally rules OK!
The Salt Baked Iberico Pork Ribs did not stand a chance. They had the bone chewed and the marrow and life sucked out of it.
Nope, not a chance.
I would like to take this chance to say that sharing this meal with our excellent dining companions was truly joy multiplied!
Reaching the conclusion of our meal, I was almost sad to see dessert served. Chilled Avocado & Mango Cream in Tai Chi Style (Ying & Yang design) tells me that for every happy story, there sometimes has to be a sad ending. In this case bittersweet because dinner was so lovely you don’t want to say goodbye.
By the way, if you do some research you will find that Chef Woo is indeed worthy of all this praise I am heaping on him because he has garnered numerous accolades during his hotel heydays. To date, he remains one of the few Asian chefs to have showcased their culinary prowess at the prestigious James Beard Foundation in the USA.
If I had to take a stab in the dark, I would guess that Chef Woo’s deep passion and knowledge of Chinese cuisine is what gives him the edge and boldness to experiment with contemporary styles. His flair for fusion is rooted in something deeper.. in the intangible, and that is precisely what separates the wheat from the chaff.
Rumi says “Let the beauty of what you Love be what you do”. Chef Woo is living it everyday.Add: