A shared love for food blended together with a taste of Samoan infusion dishes is a failsafe recipe to bring people together in harmony.
This is something that Junior and KC Poulava, the owners of Whisk Dining Room, have built their unique business concept around.
After a year and a half of operating out of their home in Palisi, the couple has relocated Whisk to a commercial location in the Samoa Commercial Bank building at Lotopa.
“We had to meet the demand,” said Mrs. Poulava.
“We operated out of home, but we just had to meet the demand and we thought it was time to break away from our home.”
The young husband and wife team wanted to create a space where people could enjoy the whole dining experience from the people to the food.
“We love the idea that food brings people together and sometimes during a service, we will stand behind the counter and just watch them.”
“You see how much they are enjoying the food and each other’s company, but it’s the food that brought them together in the first place,” said Mrs. Poulava
Chef Junior, who does all the creating, prepping and cooking, loved the idea of throwing something together and blending it all together to create something unique each and every time, which is where the name “Whisk” was born from.
“A whisk is something that blends things together and for us, food brings people together and blends people together,” said Mr. Poulava.
“And it’s not just that, it’s also about the blending of flavours together with the Samoan fusion and modern twist coming together. Throwing things in a bowl and then mix and bring it to life. And plus I like the sound of the word whisk.”
Their unique take on the fine dining experience have earned them a lot of attention and some serious foodie fans.
With a “by appointment only policy” and a five course meal menu - you can rest assured that every attention to detail is given to design and execute your fine dining experience.
“I think what makes people come is the experience and the uniqueness of it,” said KC.
“It’s different from what you would find in a normal eating place. Our style is five course meals, we do set menus and people can bring whatever wine they want.”
“We put out the menu on Facebook and Instagram so that people can have a look and decide what wine they want to pair with their meal. We do unique foods, something that you’ve never had before.”
The indecisive eater in all of us will thank the Whisk Dining Room for taking the hard part out of eating out. Rather than having to choose one meal out of many delicious offerings, the whisk experience is to have your cake and eat it too.
“We’re just giving everyone a little taste of everything,” said Mrs. Poulava.
“How our idea eventuated was from our own experiences of eating out, every time we would go out to dinner we would never make it to dessert.”
“We would have the entrée and our mains and that’s it because by the time you get to dessert, you’re bloated, you’re full. So we wanted to do something where you can have everything because it’s well portioned.”
Chef Junior started his cooking in a café restaurant in Australia where he learnt how to do the basics and then later returned to Samoa and graduated from A.P.T.C.
“I worked at Bistro for two months at Taumeasina and then I thought I really just want to get out there and create something different rather than the same usual stuff,” said Mr. Poulava. “That’s when it hit me, I want people to come to have that experience where they may be amazed at how the dish could be so simple yet satisfies all your taste buds.”
“I wanted to also show people that they can actually cook this kind of food from home and everything.”
“With me it’s not fine dining, it’s about putting something similar in a different way for people to experience. We did a chicken smoked in lemongrass and we stuff it with taro leaves. It looks really hard to make it but it’s not.”
He is also motivated to keep our local culinary dishes alive even if they have a slight modern twist. Most all of his dishes are inspired by his childhood favourites.
“I really want to bring back those foods like faiai fe’e. My dad cooked outside, he cooked every Samoan food outside and that’s where I just realized that it’s started to fade, even practices like using the sea water instead of salt. We just want to bring back our local cuisine, but with a bit of a twist.”
Mrs Poulava added: “Our food is Samoan infused. We try as much as we can to incorporate Samoan ingredients into everything that we do. A lot of the foods Junior makes are a reflection of his childhood that includes food that Samoans just love and for the Palagi tourists, they love our food. They love Samoan food and then you just add that extra modern touch that they recognise.”
Both at the age of 26 years old, they know the meaning of hard work.
They are only full time workers during the day; they also raise their young children at the same time and run their restaurant business in the evening.
Junior and KC wouldn’t have it any other way believing that they are fulfilling a God given talent and purpose.
The couple emphasised to the Sunday Samoan that they would not have gotten very far without their faith and that any shred of their success is owed to God.
“The basis for everything we do, it’s on God. I’m telling you now, and who would have thought that a young couple like us could start our business from home to a place like this? We prayed hard before we moved into the new place and all the glory and honour goes to God for his blessings on us.”
Bookings are essential at Whisk Dining Room and they are open for dinner hours only.