We here at FC rarely venture out to review something new. Or young, rather. Most of the places on this site have been open for years, some for decades, run by proud folks and their families and friends. But after hearing such a buzz about this new joint in Bangsar, we couldn’t resist having a look-see. And what we found was the fiercest meal we’ve had in ages...
Biryani here is fieeerrcee...
16, Jalan Kemuja (road parallel to Jalan Bangsar), Bangsar Utama, 59000 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03 2202 3456
Probably the most authentic biryani you can get in KL, minus cooking the biryani in the ground.
Once the biryani pots are out, they’re out. Come back tomorrow!
Fierce Curry House sits on a back street in Bangsar. Most people who would even know of this road are journalists who work in the newspaper offices nearby or people who have been driving in KL for a while. In actual fact, it is literally a stone's throw away from Jalan Bangsar. Who knew a true culinary gem had been hiding there these past few months?
Herukh Jethwani, who used to work at Bangles (that old and fancy North Indian restaurant in town), now has his own place, a little shop his family took over from a chap fan place. The set up is deceptively simple, as it looks just like any other mamak shop: foldable plastic chairs, buffet steam table, and open air, so the smell of curry and spices can reach the street and entice people in. And what you get when you go in, my friends, is one of the best Hyderabad biryanis in the Klang Valley.
Using almost 30 different spices (!), their biryanis are complex, exploding with flavour. Ingredients are assembled in little metal pots, sealed with plain capati dough and steamed for a few hours. Herukh points out that the dough helps keep the steam in, while providing an excellent marker as to when the contents in the pot are cooked: if the dough is cooked, then the biryani is cooked. Once it's served to you, you then use your spoon or fork handle to pry off the dough and carefully open the top. Try, please, to not faint at the delicious scent of the steam.
We had the mutton biryani and the vegetarian biryani that day, as Fridays are their special biryani days, serving all four of their biryanis (the aforementioned along with chicken and fish). The mutton biryani was chock full of tender chunks of meat, these guys sure are generous! It's also boneless, meaning that you don't get that nasty surprise of chipping your tooth on a shard of bone as you do in a lot of other places. Flavour-wise it's intense. There's a hum of onions, the hit of herbs and spices, and the meat is actually sweet. This is because they get their meat delivered every day (their supplier is about 20 steps away from the shop) and everything is fresh, fresh, fresh.
What steals the show for us is their vegetarian biryani. As soon as we take a spoonful, our eyes go wide, sighs of delight take over the table and we silently shovel the rice and vegetables into our mouths. Carrots, cauliflowers, what looks like beans (at this point we don't really care and trust Herukh with our lives), all mixed up in a melange of equally complex but completely different combination of spices as the ones in the mutton biryani. The flavours in this one are a little more assertive, brighter, showing us that they don't use a one spice mix-for-all approach. In fact, they're so concerned about their biryanis that the biryani preparation gets its own kitchen!
Herukh’s father, a jolly man who pops in on the restaurant sometimes, comes and sits with us for a bit to talk about Fierce’s approach to cooking. “When people cook at home, they assemble the dish from the ground up, working on the ingredients towards a final dish. In the restaurant business, the cooks usually take a dish, the desired final product, and disassemble it, trying to find the shortest processes. We here cook like home cooks, we assemble it. Sure, we have more processes, more steps to take to the final product. But then you’ll get something that tastes like this,” he says, proudly pointing to the biryani.
We really couldn’t agree more. While it may be a tad steep (RM18 for a pot of mutton biryani), one taste and you’ll see that it’s justified. Hours of preparation for just 150 pots a day, all gone by lunch. Call or Facebook them the day before to reserve or you’ll be sorely disappointed. We just found out they serve banana leaf rice on weekends – we’re definitely coming back!