Simon Stevens and Intan Yusoff
In this interview, Simon Stevens and Intan Yusoff, owners of S+I, tell of their journey in creating this British restaurant in Bangsar.
What do you do?
We are the owners of S+I, a full-on British restaurant in Bangsar. Simon (S) is the head chef and the master of the kitchen and Intan (I) looks after marketing and promotions for the restaurant. We both work hand in hand to manage the operations of the restaurant.
How did you get into the industry?
Simon: I have been a professional chef for the past 30 years. Throughout those years I have owned a restaurant, managed bars, cooked for restaurants and renowned hotels from all over the world. The decision came naturally to start S+I as a passion project in which we are both very much invested.
Intan: I came from the opposite side of the scene where retail marketing has always been my forte. Owning a restaurant together with my husband is an absolute dream come true as his food is hands down top quality and there is nothing more I would love to do than to make sure it goes out to everyone. If anyone ever talks about comfort food, this is literally what we have at S+I.
Share with us a story from behind the scenes.
We were sat across the street for breakfast on the first day Simon was back from the UK during this pandemic and saw this unit we are in now. Although we have always had plans for S+I to materialize, the moment we saw this place and the great location, we knew this is S+I right here.
What’s a food memory from your childhood or travels that stands out?
We have both travelled extensively and are always on the lookout for good food and different tastes in different countries. For Simon, nothing beats a traditional roast with family on Sundays back in the UK. Intan reckons no one can replace her mother’s traditional Malay dishes when she was growing up.
What’s the best/ worst part of your job?
Simon: Being able to work with my beautiful wife – answer to both questions.
What’s your favourite food and beverage pairing?
Simon: BIR curry in the UK with a beer.
Intan: Steak, mash, buttered broccoli and wine.
What’s one of the craziest things you’ve seen behind the scenes?
We’ll have to get back to you on that after Christmas since we’re so new. But one of the craziest things we’ve done (or achieved) would be to get this place up in 3 weeks from the ground up.
The perfect day off would be…
… a good lie in followed by a nice lunch with the family.
A day in the life of a…
Simon Stevens is…
Simon: Wake up at 6.30 am, drive to the restaurant, turn everything on. While waiting for everything in the kitchen to heat up, have first coffee for the day and then make hollandaise sauce. Mise en place, prep and get ready for breakfast while making sure we’re all ready for lunch. Finish lunch service, have some lunch then get ready for dinner service. Done with dinner service by 9.30 pm, wait for my wife to get ready, go home and have a beer. Go to bed at 1 am and repeat.
Intan Yusoff is…
Intan: I get up at the same time and we go over to open up the restaurant. Make sure the place is all well and good to go for the day. Bills bills bills. Work out the week’s promotional plans, make sure guests are alright and service is all good. Sneak into the kitchen once in a while to see my husband.
What do you do for fun?
Simon: Watch the mighty Aston Villa. Let the lions roar! UTV SOTC!
Intan: Shopping, having a meal and drinks with the girlfriends, movie with the kids.
What’s something you’d like guests to know about S+I?
That everything is freshly cooked here and all the recipes are handcrafted by Simon himself. There is no other place we know of that is as authentic and cooked with love as it is here.
How has the pandemic changed you, your perspective, or the way you operate?
It hasn’t, really. Personally, we both survived the tough separation due to the pandemic and it stays true that where there is a will there is always a way. More so, we appreciate each other even more now that we are together and running a business side by side. The same principle goes to our business, we are very much dedicated to serving everyone the best we can offer and we believe this is the right path.
What’s something you’d like people to know about being a chef/ in marketing as a profession?
Simon: It’s hard work and long hours but rewarding at the same time.
Intan: It’s not as easy as it looks. Think the meme “What people think you do, and what you actually do.”
What’s your view on the F&B scene in KL?
Being in the city capital with various cultures and cuisines, from corporate hotels to street hawkers. Some serve fabulous food, some don’t. Either way, it’s great fun exploring the city and the delights it has to offer. We also feel that where we are the community is much closer to each other as compared to what it was before. It’s comforting that the F&B operators are striving to work and support each other.
What practices do you currently implement or hope to implement in the future to work towards social responsibility and sustainability?
We always try to avoid waste. We use biodegradable packaging for takeaways, which we hope to carry through once we are up on Grab delivery. We would also like to encourage our patrons to bring their own containers for takeaways so that we can all do our part to reduce waste and be gentler to the environment.
What’s in store for you in the upcoming months?
We’re all geared up for Christmas and New Year, as well as looking at some new additions to the menu in January (think tea time specials).
Find more interviews similar to this one with Simon Stevens and Intan Yusoff here, and stay up to date with the latest food and beverage happenings in KL here.
Lovely couple! I like that typical English telephone booth!
I bet they do fish and chips too.
Wonder what type of fish is mainly used in Malaysia for this dish.
Oh I had shark and chips in Brisbane before! I didn’t know that then, but it was nice.