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Memorable food explodes with flavor

By Xu Junqian in Shanghai ( China Daily ) Updated: 2013-11-23 11:37:43

Memorable food explodes with flavor

The dessert combination at The Terrace provides a bite of perfection. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Do you remember what you ate last night?

That was the first question the Chinese owner of this Italian eatery, who used to be the chef of a Japanese restaurant, threw at me when I dined at his "little business". Ken Woo's The Terrace is on the city's artsy Anfu Road, where the Shanghai Dramatic Arts Center is situated.

And I was stumped, speechless and incapable of recalling a single food I had had for dinner the night before, though I did remember I had gone to bed chock-full, as usual. But now, weeks later after the three-course lunch with Woo, I can clearly recollect the flavors of every bite.

"Cooking for me is like setting ambushes and laying mines," says Woo, the 30-something Shanghai native who started his kitchen career in Japan as a teenager.

Harboring ambitions to have a restaurant since the age of 19, he returned to his hometown and tried his luck in 2011 when the devastating tsunami and earthquake hit Japan, leaving the ambitious chef jobless.

Co-founded with a partner who is now the head chef, the former Italian Kitchen 26 quickly became the hot spot on the restaurant-dense street, frequented by foodies looking for some value-for-money bites before or after plays performed at the Arts Center.

In 2012, the bistro also opened a more spacious branch on the city's west side.

"I'd love to see customers striking my mines and getting surprised, otherwise cooking could be boring," the slender, genteel-looking man says solemnly.

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