It’s fun talking to Herukh Jethwani, the jovial guy behind Fierce Curry House in Bangsar Utama and its sister outlet, Fiercer in Publika. We were at Fiercer checking out their famed Hyderabadi dhum biryani rice not too long ago.
As we took in the casual modernity of Fiercer and remarked on the clever use of hanging stainless steel curry containers upside-down as lamps from the ceiling, Herukh continued with the historical journey of his fierce outlets. He told us how his father’s law firm used to be just one floor above Bangles, one of Kuala Lumpur’s famous fine-dining Indian restaurants back in the 1980’s. It’s no wonder then that his family got to dine in Bangles so often (it was almost like their second home!) and then later in 1986 his father bought over the restaurant which they operated until 2010. Herukh quickly pointed out that it’s just an “interim rest” for Bangles – they have plans for it again later.
Don’t you just love those upside-down curry pots hanging there?
So, meanwhile he continued with the stories of Fierce and Fiercer…
“It’s a recipe from my aunt in Hyderabad and over the years, we have kinda perfected it,” Herukh told us enthusiastically. He then went on to tell us how the individual pots of premium long-grain Basmati rice are sealed with dough and then steamed for hours. The rice is layered with meticulously marinated meats and garnishes before being sealed. I was told they use more than 20 ingredients for the dhum biryani.
The pots of biryani come with choices of mutton, boneless chicken thigh and fish. There’s even a vegetarian concoction available. Prices range from RM20-RM22 for the meaty biryani while it’s RM14 for the vegetarian pot. The biryani is served with mixed raita, vegetable acar and chicken gravy. I prefer to eat my dhum biryani sans the gravy as the rice is already so tasty and aromatic on its own.
Fiercer also offers their biryani with scallops, king prawns, lobsters, crabs, cod, squids, venison and lamb shank and these will need at least 1 day’s advance order. Prices go northwards from RM20.
Assorted naans with Dhall, Bindhi Masala and Butter Chicken
Besides biryani, a good filling meal can be had at Fiercer from their naans and condiments. Served warm from the tandoor oven, the naans have crispy edges while the centres remain fluffy. We tried the garlic, butter and Kashmiri versions and loved them all. The Kashmiri naans were dotted with fruits and nuts – certainly a very different mouth-feel as we dipped them in the creamy Palak Aloo (potatoes & spinach), Butter Chicken (RM15) and my favourite Bindhi Masala. Both the vegetarian dishes Palak Aloo and Bindhi Masala are at RM14. The butter chicken here is particularly tasty and creamy as tandoori chicken is used to simmer in the thick buttery sauce. Naans are priced at RM4 upwards.
My favourite Bindhi Masala (ladies fingers cooked with onions and spices)
Who can resist juicy tandoori chicken thighs like those done in Fiercer? Thick plump thighs, in the signature red masala marinade are served straight from the tandoor. Squeeze some lime juice over it and it’s just so good! More exotic tandoori meats are available, like lamb shank, lobsters, salmon, cod and scallops with 1 day advance notice.
Not to be outclassed are their Chicken Tikka (RM16), Mutton Sheekh Kebab (RM18) and Tandoori Prawns (RM26-28). You can opt to have their chicken tikka and tandoori prawns in either the haryali (minty) or malai (cashew cream and cardamom) style. I can’t decide which versions I like better as each is different and delicious in its own way! As a glutton, I like them all!
Chicken Tikka Malai
Mutton Sheekh Kebab
Tandoori Prawns – malai, haryali and original masala flavours
Herukh has recently introduced Kati Rolls in the menu – spicy fillings of meat, seafood or vegetables wrapped in thin Indian breads. Good as lighter bites if you just want to chill out at Fiercer with some beers. The mutton kati rolls (RM16) we had were just bursting with piquant zesty flavours. “Those are actually my favourites!”, enthused Herukh as he hurried off for his wedding attire fitting – yeah, the guy was getting hitched the following day.
After the exotic taste trip, we settled down for some desserts which came in the form of sweet and nutty rotis. Nutella and peanut butter laden rotis, to be exact. Yes, even the description already sounds very indecently sinful. Besides the sweet rotis, you can go nuts over the variety of Last Polka icecream there too.
Be prepared to indulge when you head to Fiercer.
D1-G3-5, Publika Solaris Dutamas
Jalan Solaris Dutamas
Open Mon-Thu 11am-11pm; Fri & Sat 11am-1am