Dundee born James Ferrie opened his Indian-inspired delicatessen Jim’s Delhi Club six weeks ago which serves up authentic Indian food.
Having never visited India, James’ fascination with the country’s cuisine and a need for a change of career is what spurred him on to open his own eatery.
Working in social work with the Dundee City Council for 12 years, he decided it was time for a change in December 2019 after his demanding job began to impact his mental health, causing him to burn out.
He had shared his dream of having his own cafe with colleagues for five or six years and finally bit the bullet and turned to his passion, food, as a career.
How it started…
A lover of Indian food, James committed to his favoured cuisine and decided to create something out of it.
The entrepreneur rented a kitchen space at Dundee One at City Quay in January 2020 where he began delivering hot Indian meals to customers. He believed that by mid 2020 he would have his own premises to cook and serve from.
However, with Covid-19 round the corner and first lockdown in March 2020, James was forced to take a break from his deliveries.
He decided to use Instagram as a way of reaching new customers and started posting videos to show people how to make Indian food with his own twist.
The response was “mad” and James says his recipes “kept people’s spirits up” during lockdown.
A few months later he went back to renting his kitchen space and instead started delivering chilled meals with instructions on how to heat and eat.
Selling out in minutes
He built up a following online and started promoted his new service online.
Every Wednesday night at 6pm, James would post an Instagram Story about what was being made with the title ‘Clubs Open’. After reaching between 30 to 60 portions the club would be closed. These meals would then be delivered on a Saturday afternoon.
He said: “The record time for selling out 30 portions was 43 seconds”
For James the most important thing is quality over quantity, with all his meals, salads, sauces and accompanying breads all homemade.
He finally acquired his delicatessen on Albert Street in Dundee, and designed the layout for the café himself. Open Thursday to Saturday from noon to 7pm, customers can sit-in or take away.
Offering three or four dishes per day, James says “the food speaks for itself” as his focus is purely on quality and this smaller menu allows him to keep things tight.
The menu features naanwiches which are sourdough naans packed with a delicious fillings, tacos plus other dishes, and changes monthly.
Inspired by James and his wife, Jamie Lee’s, travels around the world, the delicatessen is somewhere guests can learn about Indian flavours.
Jamie Lee has been assisting her husband, serving at the shop alongside working her full-time job. They have been together since they were 15 and are now expecting their first child.
With a baby on the way it’s the deli owners vision to have a family business some day.
James feels that trying new things is one of the other catalysts that also drive him to launching his own business.
“Having new experiences and trying new things is important to anyone’s life. I hope to give a bit of that back,” he said.
And although despite having never visiting India before, James loves the diversity of the cuisine and creates his own version using social media recipes or cookbooks from Indian authors including Maunika Gowardhan, Meera Sodha and Madhur Jaffrey.
Collaborations, Christmas and future plans
Teaming up with Heather Street Food, the catering van at Dundee’s V&A is currently serving up a butter chicken bagel with picked onions, coriander and apple cider mint raita.
He is looking into offering a Christmas special of turkey keema naan with all the trimmings or small Yorkshire puddings with curried turkey.
Furthermore, James has plans to add thali trays where he can serve up multiple dishes to people in order to allow them to try more of what’s on offer.
Since opening the shop deliveries have been old hold, but he is looking to start them up again, ideally at a weekend or for early week pick-up or delivery.
He has a zero-waste policy at his shop and is looking forward to a promising future as part of Dundee’s growing food and drink scene.