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The stars must’ve been aligned the day Shmita joined BAC, a bar in Bukit Damansara. 

Because what are the odds that she would find Dean, someone whose career vision aligned so much with hers, and who would quit BAC a year later with her to start Round Table, their own supper club together as a couple?

Two peas in a pod

Growing up, Shmita would spend lots of time in the kitchen with her mum. That’s where she learnt to cook, bake, and developed a dream of opening her own restaurant. 

She began by documenting her baked goods online before growing it into a home baking business. Called Sugar and Rempah, she would whip up breads, homemade granola, cupcakes, and the like, for purchase. 

But there’s only so much you can learn on your own, so Shmita decided to gain more professional F&B experience. 

Image Credit: Round Table

That’s when she met Dean. He, too, had a knack for cooking from a young age.

After high school, Dean wanted to dive straight into working at professional kitchens. But his parents insisted he get professional qualifications which led him to graduating from Berjaya’s culinary school in 2017. 

He worked at several restaurants and later ended up as BAC’s head chef in 2021.

The pair started off as friends before becoming a couple. The more they worked together, the more they realised what a good team they were. “Our visions are also so in line with one another that we just knew we wanted to start something of our own together,” Dean shared.

Image Credit: Round Table

Figuring it was now or never, they left the bar to do just that and kickstarted Round Table in 2023.

Dreaming big but within reason

Shmita and Dean went about it realistically. A restaurant would require a large capital investment which they didn’t want to splurge without assessing the market first.

Hence, a supper club was the next best thing. It allowed them to test their recipes, improve their cooking and business skills, and properly gauge public reception before committing to a physical space.

It was fortunate that Shmita’s home was large enough to accommodate their needs. “Additionally, we love the warmth of a home and just wanted our supper club to feel like you’re going over to a friend’s place for a nice meal,” she explained.

Image Credit: Round Table

The brand’s name aligns with this as well. It refers to the small and round kopitiam table in Shmita’s home that’s fit for four pax. 

Her family would always have their meals there despite owning a larger dining room table. “Even if more people came over, we’d just drag stools and squeeze around this tiny table,” Shmita confided. “It became synonymous with good food and good conversations.”

Word of the supper club got out with the help of friends and family members they hosted. At the start, it was mostly their parents’ friends and those from the older generation. 

Image Credit: Round Table

But that all changed when Shmita established the supper club’s online presence and made use of her social media skills. That reeled in a younger crowd of diners that are more adventurous to try new things. It suited the duo better too as they love to experiment with dishes. 

Experimenting with flavours

Each new plate of food draws inspiration from their travels and personal upbringings. Though, they never really recreate any specific dishes. 

“Every element is rather simple but we put a lot of thought and effort into making it all come together as something unique. The simplest way to put it would be contemporary, modern comfort food,” Dean described the menu.

Image Credit: Round Table

For example, they would take a simple dish like chicken skewer and give it their own spin using ingredients like perilla, Mexican oregano, and jeow (a Laotian dipping sauce). So it’s not the usual fanfare you’d find at other restaurants. 

Not wanting to bore customers or themselves, Round Table changes its menu on a monthly basis. As Dean put it, “Sometimes making the same dish over and over will make you hate it.” 

They also set monthly cooking challenges for themselves to create completely new dishes, many of which have already ended up on their menus.  

Image Credit: Round Table

The supper club offers a five to eight course menu and is usually priced at about RM200 per pax. This can go up to RM350 depending on the menu and ingredients they source. 

It leans toward the pricier end when compared to a conventional restaurant and the couple acknowledge that. However, they clarified that this is due to the differences in operation.

“We don’t have suppliers delivering to our door daily [and] we often don’t meet MOQs (minimum order quantities) of suppliers to get wholesale prices and delivery for ingredients. This means that we’re driving everywhere, sourcing everything ourselves,” they shared.

Image Credit: Round Table

Bringing them one step closer 

The goal for Round Table isn’t just to provide customers with a delicious meal. Rather, it’s also about curating an intimate experience as a whole. 

Each dinner session only hosts 10 people and you have to book at least three days in advance. This allows Shmita and Dean the chance to gain one-on-one feedback from their customers to improve the dishes.

In all, Round Table is a chance for them to make their own dreams of starting a restaurant come true.

Image Credit: Round Table

The supper club has taught them a lot in terms of service and they’ve grown much the past year. But now they’re ready for the next step and are looking for a more permanent space for diners.

“Currently, we’re restricted to a set menu and we understand that it’s out of budget for many people. With a restaurant, we hope to be more accessible to everyone,” Shmita and Dean shared.

On a more personal note, they’re excited to continue their entrepreneurial journey as a couple. “At the end of the day, we can’t think of anything better than working with the person you love, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Image Credit: Round Table
  • Learn more about Round Table here.
  • Read other articles we’ve written about Malaysian startups here.

Featured Image Credit: Round Table

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Vulcan Post aims to be the knowledge hub of Singapore and Malaysia.

© 2021 GRVTY Media Pte. Ltd.
(UEN 201431998C.)