22 March 2009

fuck the chicken tikka

tariq recently accused me of being inconsistent because i use small case and normal case interchangeably on this blog. he'll be pleased to see a return to small case (?) but more importantly a u-turn on one of our moolis which we believe makes us more consistent and feels right mooli wise.

ladies and gentleman, mathew and i have decided to fuck the chicken tikka - a mooli which for almost 2 years has been the star (a new star was born this march - the kerlan beef mooli). mathew saw it before i did. it was harder for me to let go because i've just assumed we're going to sell chicken tikka for the last two years. so i'm actually quite proud of this decision because it means i can be flexible, adapt, change, blah blah.

as our menu has developed the last two months with the keralan beef, prawns with mustard (and kafir lime leaves please!!!), pickled paneer bhurji, oven-roasted aubergine and chicken stew, we'd often say to each other:

- we definitely need a chicken (probably north indian) but do we really need the chicken tikka?

- it doesn't feel right - we're unique, we're going to create a buzz. and we serve chicken tikka too?

- when people see the description of the chicken mooli and see the words chicken tikka, will they not think of chicken tikka masala? (you want to give them something familiar but why does it have to be chicken tikka?)

- its just not possible to make it like on the streets of delhi and lucknow - you need proper charcoal grilling for that - kabir convinced me of this almost a year ago and i've been struggling ever since to try and get it right operationally. (bottom line: are we going to love it the way we make it in london? probably not. but that's the test for anything we sell isn't it?)

- how fast can we serve customers if we need to grill in-store? (not as fast as we want! we're fast, really fast)

- we'll need skilled labour in-store (ouch - at least £7.25 an hour)

- we'll need lots more equipment (tandoors and long metal sticks. more money and skill :O)

- that net margin isn't looking good if we need to employ one person just to grill all the time. triple ouch. (i ran the model without the griller and our net margin jumped to 10.5% for the first store)

- the tikka is the only item which needs to be finished in-store, if we change it, suddenly we can take locations with an A1 licence - no cooking in-store - locations which PRET and EAT can take. (which means growth becomes so much easier. and push comes to shove if we find a great location in soho but its too small to cook, eg the Maoz location, we can take it and have a kitchen in north london)

but to those chicken lovers out there (including our anonymous friend who suggests it is a vegetable), we're going to have a chicken mooli which we promise you will love. it won't be grilled but it will be marinated for 22 hours 12 minutes with ginger, garlic and our own garam masala, then cooked with our secret blend of classic dry roasted north indian spices. served with fresh corinader-mint chutney. i made our first attempt today and its looking very promising. thanks to all the people who gave lots of constructive feedback.

we're getting there, yeah we're getting there.


Gautam said...

Keralan Bee and Chicken Stew? I sense a Mallu led hostile menu takeover at Mooli's.... :)

Good call on the Tikka.

tbaloch said...

Do Fran and Vrinda know about this?

mathew said...

gautam.as an alternative to the chicken tikka, i offered to source a recipe for kerala duck roast (even better than the beef i promise!). i was quite impolitely told that we were not starting a malyali tea shop. and i agree.

VxD said...

ROFL! ...this is some chutzpah!
...now I am beginning to feel that Mooli is getting closer to the home stretch ...with questions on identity getting resolved!

what also amazed me how quickly responses fly ...has everybody made Mooli their homepage or what??

sameer said...

bumsy, glad you approve. and yes, chicken will be nice and north indian. :D

tman, fran and vrinda are into S&M respectively so its kewl. ;)

V, its great to have energy behind us - these comments make the whole thing more fun. and yes, mooli's is all systems go now. we got to catch up in general.

Anonymous said...

22 hours and 12 minutes? But this will be a disaster: you have miscalculated the marination time by 31 seconds!

Jonathan said...

Mooli's chicken tikka R.I.P

sameer said...

LOL @ anon. R.I.P, i like it.

Ammu said...
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