GREAT COMBINATION: A husband-and-wife team is introducing this concept to Penang’s well-heeled society
GEORGE TOWN: ALL those who love fine dining and fine art, this could be what you have been looking for: a new experience for the well-heeled and sophisticated.
With the ambience of a dining room and the display of impeccable works of art, this combination could be the latest "in" thing to come with affluence and modern living.
The WAF Gallery's husband-and-wife team of Brian and Ashley Keh is introducing to Penang via four restaurants this concept of combining good food and art.
The four participating restaurants are Chez Weng at Precinct 10, Annabelle's Place at Permai Village in Tanjung Bungah, Campbell House's Il Bacaro on Campbell Street and Straits Quay's Japanese restaurant, Hisago.
"This concept could become the rule rather than the exception, since it is already very popular in developed countries," said Brian.
"It offers diners the overall experience of wining and dining surrounded by displayed masterpieces created by local and foreign artists."
Brian added that the paintings have been selected to fit the decor of the restaurants, all of which serve the finest cuisine.
"The fine art and dining experiencing is a potent type of magic. It's alchemy doubling up as creativity in presenting fine food and art in a salubrious setting," stated Ashley.
It may even catch on in a big way since most art galleries are closed at night, and diners will have the experience of stepping into a gallery without actually visiting one.
On display at Chez Weng are seven immaculate pieces by South American artists Jose E. Gonzales, Jose Gotopo, Julian Villafane, Manuel Hernandez and Elvis Rosendo.
The restaurant has a raw ambience with its unpainted white cement walls, and it serves western fusion dishes in a cosy atmosphere.
The walls of Annabelle's Place are adorned with five superlative works by Manuel Hernandez from South America and local artist Esther Geh.
Owner Annabelle Teow believes the restaurant projects a friendly look with decorative flowers that enhance the cheerful facade.
The restaurant serves delicious western cuisine.
High tea is served here with English or Windsor tea, and it is a firm favourite with patrons.
Campbell House's Italian restaurant, Il Bacaro, is a temporary home for eight works by South American artist Jesus Perez and local watercolour artist Lee Eng Beng.
Famous for its Venetian cuisine, the menu is both innovative and tailored to suit locals and foreigners.
Owned by Roberto and Nardya Dreon, the beautifully-restored three-storey heritage building is a boutique hotel.
It's an "all in the family" affair since the chef is Mario Dreon, Roberto's brother.
Last but not least, Hisago gets to feature a total of eight pieces of art by Elvis Rosendo from South America and two by accomplished local artists, Pheh It Hao and Yeap Toh Seng.
General manager Eric Lim remarked that Hisago serves modern Japanese fusion and incorporates culinary delights from other countries as well.
WAF Gallery, located on the first floor of Straits Quay, introduced this fine dining cum art exhibition in conjunction with the George Town Festival.
"So far, the response from the participating restaurants and members of the public has been very positive.
"We'll take it from there when the exhibition period is over and decide on the next course of action," said Brian.
All the paintings will be displayed at the four restaurants until July 14.
For details, call 04-800 6220 or go to WAF Gallery.Straits Quay/www.facebook.com/FineArtFineDining.