If you follow the delicious spicy aromas of a unique fusion of the orient and the Pacific up the hill to Vailima, you will be directed to the old but newly-renovated Curry House.
The restaurant had been operating for 10 years before it was closed for a year to undergo renovations. Three weeks ago Curry House re-opened after a makeover of the premises as well as the menu.
Owner and chef, Sabreen Ali-Cleverley was pleased with the results and while the renovations took longer than she expected, the hiatus was an opportune time for her to upskill and expand her business.
“I shut it down in 2016 and only because this place was just a tiny little wooden building. The owner renovated it and it took almost a year. Then I went back to A.P.T.C. and finished my trainers and assistance course and also my chefing course.
“I thought six months max but it took a little longer which gave me enough time to finish my studies. We just opened three weeks ago but while I was waiting for the building to come around I actually started working for the casino so I’m still working for them at the moment.”
Ms. Ali Cleverley was excited to offer more in terms of dining options and ability to host functions for her customers with the new and improved Curry House.
Since Curry House opened its doors, the patrons were responding well.
“Curry house is a lot bigger; the ambience is a lot nicer to be in,” Ms. Ali-Cleverley said.
“The food has been top class but I’ve added a few more things on the menu with a lot more selection on there. It’s a more proper service with finer dining.
“I still want to cater for the locals here because I don’t want to have that place where locals come and think it’s too expensive – so I wanted to cater to both markets and still have a reasonable price on the menu that people can afford.”
The Fijian/Indian entrepreneur had plans to add more options within her newly-expanded premises but do to the high volume of business within her first three weeks; she foresees putting those extensions on hold until she goes full time next year in January.
“Later on I will try to put in a bakery and coffee on the go in the morning because there’s nothing up this hill, so that’s in the process by next year but like I said, when we opened three weeks ago, I couldn’t shut my doors,” she said.
“We’ve been thrashed every night but just with curries so unfortunately I haven’t had time to develop the fusion or the international dishes so I think it’s going to take me a good few months to settle this side and my kitchen.”
With that sort of high numbers at this time, Ms. Ali-Cleverley recommends pre-ordering for groups over 10 people.
“I would say if you’re making a booking for more than10 people – definitely pre order and pre book so you don’t have to wait for ages and sit there for food because if you have 10 orders all walking in at 7.30pm it’s hard to do all at one time. So booking wise I can fit about 60 people in here. Friday and Saturdays we are always busy.”
According to Curry House owner, butter chicken and korma are the most popular dishes at her restaurant and Ms. Ali-Cleverley is proud to point that her curries have a unique difference in that all of them are made from scratch with her own special recipes.
“The chef that I have in the kitchen is trained by me so those are all my recipes but I’m always in the kitchen making sure I taste the food before it goes out,” she said.
“It’s purely Fijian-Indian and that’s why it’s so tasty and I don’t use any pre mixes, all the masalas are made from scratch. I do all my own mixes and I don’t use any bottles or tubs. That’s the difference between my curries and other curries. It’s the quality.”
The Curry House is located on Cross Island Road, Papalaloa in Vailima and is an addition to a bustling strip mall of newly-opened businesses such as Whipped Apia, and Natalya Ah Him’s Mapu–mai Spa Pele Creations.