I think I can speak for most of Britain when I say the thought of a fish head being the only source of flesh in a curry is a bit of a strange one (I mean what is there to eat on there bar a couple of cheeks?) let alone having a restaurant renowned for fish head curry. Well here in Malaysia fish head curry does exist - and is very popular - and so do said restaurants and we ended up in one for our first meal after reaching Kuala Lumpur.
Normally I like to be a little drunk when trying a challenging new food for the first time but as this was our first few hours in KL it was the evening after the morning after the night before and whilst the ngau lam was very good at curing hangovers beer was the last thing on my mind, along with fish head curry for that matter. Whether I liked it or not we were having it though.
As mentioned the restaurant was renowned for fish head curry but it did have a full menu too, with all kinds of stir fries, noodles, rice, porridge and vegetables on there. For the two hours we were there though not a single table went without ordering a bubbling claypot of the signature dish though and for some it was the only dish. As a table of five we needed more so to go with our claypot we had a stir fried venison with ginger and garlic, kang kong belacan (pronounced blachan), prawn foo yung (Chinese omelette) and boiled rice - but it was all about the fish head curry.
I've seen it served as a whole head before but here the big grouper head was chopped big lumps. I thought there would be nothing to eat on it and whilst the flesh may have been in quite short supply the bits that were there were good, the cheeks are a well worked muscle and stood up well to the simmering. The none flesh bits were a revelation too, sinews had turned to rich jelly and the skin (something I'm never too fond of on a fish, even when crispy) was melt in the mouth. I even had the dubious honour of the eye which turned out not to be the horror I thought (I imagined something popping in my mouth) but another gelatinous delight. I'm not sure I'd want to dissect a plain boiled head but with the rich curry sauce as a foil it was very nice.