Since I’m from London I’m a curry lover. London has some of the best curry restaurants in the world so we popped into newly opened hip Curry-Mary in Jeżyce and spoke to co-owner Michał over some Thai green curry to get his take on the menu!
Hi Michał. What does Curry-Mary mean and who came up with it?
Czary Mary in Polish means something like abracadabra so we played with the words a little bit and changed the first word to curry. And, to be really honest it was my wife’s idea ?
And who designed Curry-Mary?
Well, my wife is an interior designer so she came up with the concept, colors, and logo. She designed even the smallest details like the furniture. In fact, the tables are school tables!
So your wife has done everything?
She has done a lot. I came up with the idea to open a curry place though ? That was me ? My focus was more on the menu and kitchen and the everyday running of Curry-Mary. We are a good team!
I love this type of food. I remember a summer job I had back in the day in Sydney which was in a curry restaurant. I was young and I started with washing dishes but eventually, they let me cook and I fell in love with curry. When I returned to Poland I could see that curry restaurants were quite expensive so I wanted to do something different.
I did consider other locations. I live in Wilda but I couldn’t find a place that I liked. To be honest, Wilda or Jeżyce was good for me. I think they are becoming quite similar districts. Maybe Wilda is a few years behind Jeżyce but it’s catching up fast.
Are you an Indian restaurant?
Not really. Our food is all curry based but I like to think we have added our own twist to the curry theme. For example, we have a curry themed beef burger.
Being Polish, how did you come up with the menu? I see you have some curry cookbooks on the shelf ?
Well, I’ve always worked in kitchens since I can remember. I learned a lot while working in a curry restaurant in Sydney, plus I had my own small food shack in Poland back in the day. I’ve also traveled a lot and had the chance to try many different foods. In my last job when I was managing two restaurants in Galleria Posnania I also became friends with an Indian guy who was washing dishes. When he heard I was going to open a curry restaurant he asked if he could help me and he’s been with me to this day. It’s a big advantage because he has a palette well accustomed to curry flavors. I have to hold him back sometimes though because he likes really spicy.
You speak really good English. Did you learn it in Sydney?
Actually, I was also in Arkansas in the US for four straight summers during school holidays so that helped for sure!
So what were you doing there?
I wanted to visit the U.S and at school, we had an American native speaker who was in Poland to teach us English. She was still studying herself I think. She knew I wanted to visit the U.S so she offered that I could stay at her family home if I could arrange a visa. Once I got there, her father had a building company and I did some physical jobs for him. It was hard work but being in the US was a great experience. I also made a lot of new friends.
You’ve traveled a lot!
I love to discover new places. I’ve traveled most of Australia by car! I’ve also been to New Zealand, Most of Europe and even Nepal!
And where was the best food you’ve eaten?
Difficult to choose just one place but Nepal was inspiring to me. Cooking is very very simple there. I remember sitting on a rooftop peeling potatoes among friends while preparing lunch. Amazing!
So what is your favorite dish on your menu?
I love them all, but Massaman with beef, curry paste, coconut milk, potatoes, and peanuts is probably my favorite.
How about the most popular?
Thai chicken for sure!
We have a lunch menu for 18 PLN between 12-15:00 every day. We change the menu daily and you normally have four options.
The hardest thing to open a restaurant?
It’s quite easy to open your own place but not so easy to get the initial seed money to do it.
Thai Curry Green with prawns is the spiciest dish on the menu although some of our clients ask it to be even spicier!!!
Having experienced the whole process of opening up your own restaurant, what advice can you give to others thinking to do the same thing?
I would say you definitely have to have some experience in gastronomy. Also, make sure you plan everything. A business plan is vital to any business’ success I think with all the setup costs which must be realistic otherwise you could get a shock.
I think this place is going to be a huge success. I personally love the vibe of this place and your curry dishes and are very similar to back home for me which is London. I’m predicting there will be Curry Mary 2 coming up soon. Am I right?
Who knows ? Maybe Wilda…
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