I have to admit I was skeptical. I had heard rumors of legendary hamburgers. "Zero-fat" gourmet burgers being served near Seminyak beach. The J. Wellington Wimpy in me mumbled, "I'll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today," as I ventured into the seductively-lit WWW – Wah Wah Gourmet Burger Wine Bar located on Jalan Laksamana in Seminyak, roughly across the street from The Legian.WWW – Wah Wah Gourmet Burger
In keeping with a restaurant that considers burgers an "art form," every wall of this elegant road-side restaurant is covered with bold and strikingly beautiful paintings done by Mr. Wah - the same man who also composes the hamburgers I came to sample .
I was expertly guided by my "hamburger helper" - a waiter named Dewa from Jimbaran, who explained a menu that offered an eight-course tasting menu, exotic cocktails and fine wines. Relaxing with a pre-dinner drink, the amiable Mr. Wah suddenly arrived to introduce himself.
After that meeting, I am unsure if the 62-year-old Shanghai-born artist's real name is "Wah" or merely a moniker that stuck after some many people exclaimed "Wah" after meeting this remarkable man.
To say that an artist is a person of conviction and passion is to perhaps state the obvious. But, in truth, Wah is both these things. The Son of two Chinese "Foodies" who could fondly reminisce at length about great meals enjoyed years before, Wah left China as a well-fed young man to spend nearly three decades in London working as a part-time chef and full time member of the fashion industry. Wah told me of a 38 year-old Son who "loves to sing" and another Son, just four-years-old and waiting upstairs for his evening burger, suggesting that Wah's passions have operated on a number of levels during the course of a interesting life's journey.
Over dinner, Wah shared his uncompromising views on the absolute necessity of using only the very finest ingredients in creating burgers that can include slices of Foie Gras, Wagyu tenderlion, quality cheese, porcini mushrooms and organic rocket. Defying the widely-held view that "the taste of a hamburger is in the fat," Wah assiduously cuts away all extraneous fat from the Wagyu tenderloin that he chops for his signature burgers.
Later, any hubris I felt for dining on a low-cholesterol plate of four different gourmet burgers got put to shame by my unabashed enjoyment of chocolate truffles presented on Chinese soup spoons containing small ponds of Absolut Vodka.
Purists who insist that burgers must be served with fries, have the choice at Wah of mashed or fried potatoe sections, the latter served with a side of salt, pepper and truffle oil.
The price? Well, let's just say that Wah bears no resemblance to MacDonalds in either product or price. Wah makes no apologies for this. He persuasively argues that the quality of ingredients used results in low-profit margins for the owner and high-value meals for his diners.
My dining experience and the satisfied oohs, aahs and, yes, "wahs" sounding from adjoining tables of diners lends credence to Wah's claims.
The hamburger as an art form?
Tasting is believing at
11A Jalan Laksamana – Seminyak, Bali.
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