Cover Bernard Yeoh (Photo: Courtesy of Kai Mayfair)

Fun facts about the man behind the Michelin-starred Chinese restaurant, Kai Mayfair, named by Adele in her recent Vogue interview

As it turns out, Adele is a fan of Chinese cuisine and one Malaysian-owned establishment has tickled her taste buds plenty. In a recent 73 Questions interview with Vogue, the acclaimed LA-based British singer named this Michelin-starred restaurant in particular from her home city of London that captured her fancy: Kai Mayfair

A 28-year old restaurant specialising in 'liberated Nanyang cooking' and the first Chinese eatery in London to receive a Michelin star, Kai Mayfair is helmed by none other than Bernard Yeoh. A former law student, an ex-Olympian, an artist, a tireless restaurateur, and one of the influential individuals listed on Tatler Malaysia's Tastemakers List, it would appear that Yeoh's gamut of interests and passions grows by the day.

Related: Asia’s Most Influential: Malaysia’s 30 Tastemakers 2021

Interestingly, Kai Mayfair was born out of Yeoh's determination to prove that Asian food has just as much standing in the fine-dining circuit as other cuisines–and prove it he did after earning a coveted Michelin star in 2009 around 16 years after its opening.

Fun fact: The restaurant's head chef, Alex Chow, also a Malaysian, is responsible for having crafted its gastronomic innovations for over a decade now.

"Back in 1993, Chinese restaurants in the UK were almost entirely in the mid- or low-price range,” Yeoh explained in an interview with Tatler. “They offered strictly traditional experiences and were generally serving Cantonese cuisine as the majority of chefs here were from Hong Kong. The service style was functional and quick with plates being dropped onto tables.”

More: 10 Places In London To Tuck Into Tummy-Warming Malaysian Food

Determined to offer an innovative dining experience that still paid homage to its colourful Chinese roots, Yeoh and Chow produced an impressive menu, all with the meticulous attention to detail that would eventually put Kai Mayfair on the map: "All other aspects of the dining experience had to be given equal priority: striking interior design, warm hospitality, and addressing every detail, from pre-dinner drinks to desserts.” 

Planning a trip to London soon? Be sure to squeeze some time in your schedule to try Kai's 'Chinese Whispers Afternoon Tea': said to be one of Mayfair's best-kept secrets. Starting from £46 (RM262), the Chinese Whispers Afternoon Tea bursts with tea-infused cocktails and deliciously nostalgic treats that include a pandan crème brulee with stolen Milo powder, ‘Chai’ bao sliders and more; available from Wednesdays to Sundays from 3pm to 4.30pm.  

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