Traditional Cantonese Restaurant brings a hint of colonial opulence to the QVB
Grand Victorian buildings and Chinese culture have shared a long and illustrious past – Victorian‐era buildings still pepper Hong Kong, and glamorous hotels housing silver service Chinese restaurants were the playground for 1950s Shanghai high society.
This blend of eastern vibrancy and western decadence will continue now as the iconic Queen Victoria Building unveils a traditional Cantonese restaurant, Fat Buddha. Owner, Kim Yee Joy, hopes that Fat Buddha will revive the sophistication and opulence of old colonial Shanghai, a city that was once known as the -Paris of the East'.
Kim Yee Joy, a fixture on the Sydney Chinese dining scene for fifteen years, has appointed Pak Yin Wong as her head chef for the new venture. Pak Yin Wong has a career spanning almost 30 years, and has worked in some of the most renowned Cantonese restaurants in Hong Kong and China. At Fat Buddha, he will offer a refined menu cultivated from 3,000 years of Cantonese culinary history.
Diners won't be disappointed by the experience he brings to dishes such as barbequed corn‐fed squab, wok seared wild barramundi, lotus root stuffed with pork and shrimp, steamed mud crab with egg white custard, and seared Wagyu beef with black fungi and fresh wild yams.
An all day yum cha menu will also be on offer. CBD workers will be able to enjoy classic favourites in their lunch hour – piping hot steamed prawn dumplings, freshly made rolls with tender BBQ pork, and crispy salt and pepper squid. For a more decadent lunch or dinner, diners can indulge in dishes such as the 'Legendary Eight Treasure" of double cooked whole duck stuffed with eight traditional ingredients such as lotus seed, pearl barley and salted duck egg, or the roasted pork ribs with vintage black vinegar.
The dining room will also reflect the grandeur of the restaurants of old Shanghai. Large Victorian arch windows, dark wood and deep red carpet form the foundation of a room filled with intricate details like white jade elephants and hanging lanterns. Interior designer, Kate Mackarell from Three Fishes Interior Design, says, 'It was important to us that we reflected the excitement and diversity of old Shanghai, but simultaneously kept everything modern with sleek lines and a muted colour palette. It was also imperative that we embraced the historic building that Fat Buddha was becoming a part of – the dramatic arched windows and vaulted ceilings of the room give the restaurant a real sense of history and majesty."
Victor Gaspar, iPoh's Group General Manager, says, 'We are pleased to add a restaurant such as Fat Buddha to the QVB. It will join our diverse dining options, including a wealth of quality cafes, Italian and Japanese restaurants, and of course The Tea Room. Fat Buddha will offer shoppers and office workers quality authentic Cantonese fare in a contemporary Chinese inspired setting, beautifully contrasted by the elegant Victorian room."
Chef Pak Yin Wong started his haute cuisine journey at the tender age of 17 in Hong Kong. His passion for good food gained him his apprenticeship with Jade Garden Restaurant of The Maxim Group, cradle of many great Chinese chefs now scattered all over the world. He spent the following 13 years as dish washer, then kitchen hand, then he advanced to chopper and was later promoted to 2nd cook within the Group, which owned many famous restaurants in Hong Kong and China. Wanting to expand his skill and a larger international audience, he joined the Lido Restaurant of the Holiday Inn Beijing in 1987. With 1000 guestrooms and 250 apartments within the hotel, he vastly and quickly polished his skills and became one step closer to becoming a first class chef. At the end of 1987, Jianguo Hotel in Beijing invited Pak Yin as their Executive Sous Chef-Chinese. At the beginning of 1990, after 3 years of hard work and building his leadership skills, Pak Yin was appointed as Executive Chef at Hotel Guilin in China and spent six fruitful years there. Pak Yin immigrated to Australia in 1996 with his family. His status and discipline brought him instant recognition among the Sydney China Town restaurant circle. During his China Town years he worked in some landmark restaurants such as Emperor's Garden and Golden Century, before accepting Fat Buddha's offer as Executive Chef. Authenticity, respect and sustainability forms the core of his approach to Fat Buddha's world class menu.
Kim Yee Joy is a natural born foodie and a native of Canton, the food capital of China. Kim's parents were busy watch and clock merchants back in China and employed housekeeper to prepare meals for Kim and her siblings. As a child Kim was always fascinated about cooking when raw ingredients were magically transformed to delightful dishes, and often volunteered to help in the kitchen. Kim met her husband in Fiji while she was on holiday with her elder sister, and married him the same year in 1990. The Yee Joy family owned a Chinese restaurant in Fiji and Kim found great pleasure in this venture. Two years later Kim and her husband moved to Sydney and her husband ran a reputable food import and export business. To own her own restaurant has always been her dream. Kim started out as a restaurant receptionist in Sydney's China Town, and worked full time as a Maître D for Kam Fook Restaurant at Paddy's Market for nearly 10 years. Her extensive experience, hard work ethic and insatiable pursuit for good food, earned her some great connections with many outstanding chefs. From these great mentors, she began to understand cooking theory, food cost control, menu planning, storage, staff management and sanitation…just to name a few. As a follower of Buddhism, Kim has placed great importance on sustainability within her restaurant and has also ensured there are many delicious vegetarian dishes using local organic produce on offer.