|Herukh Jethwani, Owner and Manager of Fierce Curry House, Bangsar|
The Yum List chats with Herukh Jethwani, owner of Fierce Curry House, about life in the industry and what we can expect to see from the restaurant in 2013.
What do you do and how did you get into the industry?
I run a small restaurant in Bangsar called Fierce Curry House thats just over 14 months old now. It’s a banana leaf and biryani restaurant. We specialize in Hyderabad Dum Biryanis and do 15 different kinds. My role in Fierce Curry House is an extremely hands-on one. I play the role of owner and restaurant manager. My job is to make sure operations of the restaurant run smoothly, service is at its best and the restaurant remains clean and presentable all the time. My other role as owner goes into marketing, merchandising, purchasing, accounts, administration and upwards moving structural improvements. I got into the industry many years ago as my family owned and operated Bangles Restaurant in Kuala Lumpur. I basically grew up in Bangles running around and always trying to jump up and reach the dangling bangles on the ceiling. The restaurant business really intrigued me with the personal interaction with the customers, watching someone have a satisfying meal (as creepy as that is), having someone tell you how happy you made them with your food and basically all that the F & B business entails. After graduating from High School I enrolled in Universite de Toulouse, a French Hospitality and Management university, where I attained a Bachelors of Hospitality and Tourism Management. I then took over the helms of Bangles Restaurant from my father and the rest is history. We are now developing the Fierce Curry House brand and hope to expand gradually.
How did you come up with the concept of Fierce Curry House?
Well we wanted to open a small and manageable outfit for the simple reason that once the outlet is stabilized, replicating the model would be a much less daunting task. So when we decided on bringing back the Hyderabad Dum Biryanis from Bangles we needed to pair it with a cuisine that could cater to our daily regular crowd. Hence the concept was born and worked well together. Biryani isn’t a daily staple meal for Malaysians but banana leaf on the other hand is. We also have a roti station where we do thosais, roti canai and a whole range of our special rotis like Roti Nutella, Roti Strawberry Jam, Roti Peanut Butter and you can mix any one of those spreads together. We also do the range of spreads in Thosais. When we were in the “get up” process of Fierce Curry House, we wanted the design to be minimal, simple and clean. We didn’t want you to feel like you were eating in a “mamak” restaurant which comes with its own expectations. We wanted a cafe feel that felt clean and comfortable. The name “Fierce Curry House” came from my father. Growing up, my father would always refer to anything amazing as “Fierce”- like nice cars, spicy curry, pretty ladies or anything that was above and beyond. Whenever my father eats a good curry he always reacts with “wow this curry is so Fierce!” and when we put all that together the name Fierce Curry House was the clear winner.
Where/ how do you source your recipes?
Where and how we source our recipes is completely internal within my family. I have a huge and wonderful family that are willing to share their culinary secrets, internally that is. Our biryani recipe was sourced through an aunt of mine in Hyderabad and with a few minor tweaks here and there we brought that back to KL and developed the Fierce Curry House Hyderabad Dum Biryani and its 15 different varieties.
What’s the best/ worst part of your job?
The best part of my job is the interaction with my customers. It feels incredible to have someone ecstatically compliment you and your restaurant for the food and their experience. Dining in a restaurant is way more than just good food, it’s a whole experience. In the business we have a guest service cycle which guides a server step by step from the moment the customer sits down and until the customer leaves. This guest service cycle covers every angle of your experience from the moment you step in, how you feel the entire way is in the hands of the server. S/he can carve your entire experience and it’s the same thing for a restaurateur. When your experience is wonderful our satisfaction is incredible. There are tonnes of “worst” parts of the job as most people know such as the hours, but I tell every one who has a romantic idea of opening a restaurant, don’t do it if you can’t dedicate your life to it. There are no identical days in the business and everyday someone’s throwing a curve ball at you. You deal with it. I love the job cause F and B and running restaurants is where my passion lies. The creativity and daily challenges keep me going and I can’t really pin point what the worst part of the job is.
What’s your idea of a perfect day off?
Waking up late and not having a single worry about the restaurant. Every morning my day starts with “I hope everyone showed up to work today and on time”. My idea of a day off is really just kicking back at home and doing absolutely nothing. Exotic I know.
What’s your favourite meal at Fierce Curry House?
I’d say its a fight between the Lobster Biryani, Cod Fish Biryani and Roti Nutella.
What’s your perfect food and wine/liquor pairing?
Any beautiful Sauvignon Blanc pairs incredibly well with our Hyderabad Cod Fish Dum Biryani. It pairs just as well as Sandy and Danny.
What can guests look forward to in terms of Food and Beverage at Fierce Curry House in 2013?
Guests can look forward to our new tandoor menu. We will be introducing the famous “Bangles Tandoor” at Fierce. We’ll have kebabs, tandoori meats (chicken, fish, lobster, crab, scallops etc.) and breads as well. We are also going to go through a small renovation whereby we will be introducing a bar into the restaurant serving beers, wines, coffees and fresh juices. As far as the development of the Biryanis go, there will be a few new ones in the mix. We have also started deliveries and home/office caterings which we are looking forward to developing strongly.
Thanks Herukh! We look forward to checking out your extended menu and renovations in the upcoming months.
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