Updated: Dec 7, 2021
Image Credit: Triple DC
Established approximately 6 months ago, Triple DC (at City Gate along Beach Road) endeavors to spread the love and heritage of the iconic Portuguese Eurasian “Curry Debal” dish, otherwise known as Devil’s Curry. According to its founders Teh Hsien Liang and Lin Sheng Yen, “only the finest, freshest natural aromatics alongside spices are used in our recipe, as handed down to us by our beloved grandmothers.” They must have gotten something right, because a SG Food Masters nomination soon came knocking, swiftly followed by CHOPE’s shortlist for Restaurant of the Year. We managed to steal them away from their busy schedules for a quick Q&A, so here goes:
1. Prior to running Triple DC, what were you guys doing?
HL : I was a golf course superintendent who oversaw turf grass/plant material maintenance programs.
SY : I ran a business managing installation of car roofs and metered systems for taxi fleets.
2. Why set up shop at the rather obscure City Gate mall, when you could possibly do so at more attractive locales in the vicinity, like Golden Mile Complex for instance?
Actually City Gate is strategically sited within the touristy Kampong Glam district which we believe will aptly complement our agenda of purveying traditional fare, besides the rental was very reasonable. In any case we did look around, but no other space really caught our fancy.
3. What were some of the challenges encountered? Your proudest moment would be?
HL: As a first-time F&B entrepreneur, it was a steep learning curve from the get-go. Logistical and manpower issues constituted the main bugbears; then of course the start-stop dining restrictions imposed during this currently still ongoing pandemic didn’t help matters. Separately, I am most proud of the glowing compliments shared by customers who thoroughly enjoyed our food.
SY: Pretty much what HL has articulated. Just to add, it gives our confidence a great boost especially when we receive positive feedback from Eurasian patrons, since Devil’s Curry is open to a myriad of culinary interpretations even within the Eurasian community (ie different families cook it a tad differently) and it isn’t all that easy to satiate discerning palates.
4. What is your best-selling dish to date?
Haha could we say everything? Frankly our menu is pretty small and specialized, so a group of friends or family with 4-5 people could probably sample all we have to offer (2 mains - Devil's Curry, Prawn Bostador + 2 sides - Grago Cutlets, Belechan Chicken Wings) in one sitting.
Triple DC's Menu. Image Credit: Triple DC
5. Given many F&B establishments have folded since COVID-19 struck, how are you holding up thus far? Might you comment on whether the continuously vacillating governmental restrictions have affected your business operations? What do you reckon the government could have done better?
Indeed folks in the F&B industry have bled plenty; we personally knew of friends whose businesses went belly up, their years of efforts and investments flushed down the drain just like that. Probably because we are relatively new and doing everything by ourselves (hence saving on manpower costs), we are still able to get by rather decently….for now. Support from regular customers, as well as understanding family members helped keep us sane, nonetheless we pray for the light at the end of the tunnel to arrive sooner than later.
Regarding the ever-changing legislation often churned out at the eleventh hour about what is and isn’t allowed, we ask: whatever happened to endemic living as so loudly touted by various ministers? Why the about-turn insofar as opening up is concerned given high vaccination rates already being attained across almost all demographic groups?
In hindsight, instead of simply throwing a cookie-cutter lifeline resulting in an oft disproportionate distribution of financial aid (some needing it more than others, yet they receive the same as everyone else), governmental reliefs could be funnelled directly toward enterprises based on size and circumstance. This isn’t to say we aren’t grateful for the rental support accorded during these trying times, because they did go some way in enabling us to breathe easier.
6. Going forward, might you elucidate your plans for the foreseeable future?
Perhaps more outlets, or even a central kitchen - never say never right? For now though it’s maintaining the status quo until some genuine semblance of stability/recovery surrounding this pandemic emerges. Let’s hope the adage “whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger” rings true for us down the road.
Doris's Devilishly Delicious Curry
371 Beach Road