Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Fish head curry at Gayatri Restaurant

To taste fish head curry, a Singapore specialty (pictured above; the pineapple slice must have been removed to show the fish eye, though), I visit the Gayatri Restaurant, following a gourmet friend's advice, during the lunch time.

Unlike other Singaporean foods, a fish head curry is not a cheap food. The menu says it costs at least 20 Singaporean dollars (still only 10 euro, though). For Mondays and Wednesdays, however, the Gayatri Restaurant serves it for 15 dollars. And it's a big portion because the fish head is quite big. I realize it's a dish for at least 2 persons. But it is possible to finish by yourself because you cannot stop eating, thanks to the Asian addictive taste of umami. The fish head curry pot is served with a large banana leaf used as a plate.

Fish head curry is a great encounter of Indian and Chinese cuisine styles. A profound mixture of Indian curry spice meets with Chinese fish soup broth. As a result, the curry soup is less thick than the usual Indian curry while it's thicker than the usual Chinese soup. It leads you to a new world of taste. The tomato-based curry includes not only a giant fish head but also pineapple slices and okuras. I didn't know okura could be this tasty. The fish head is surprisingly meaty: lots to eat in the forehead and cheeks (and don't forget there is the other side of the fish head). The fatty texture behind the eye balls adds an extra richness to the whole culinary experience. I eat it with a naan bread, but I regret it because eating with rice is a better way to savour the curry soup.

When I ordered the curry, I asked the waitress to bring a cup of masala tea after the meal. She seems to forget it. And the restaurant gets quite busy. But don't worry. Each table in the Gayatri Restaurant is equipped with this:

When you press the appropriate button, someone immediately comes to your table.

The Gayatri Restaurant's interior

Race Course Road, a street on the edge of the Little India district that the Gayatri restaurant faces, has other Indian restaurants serving fish head curry such as Muthu's Curry (the restaurant which invented fish head curry, according to Time Out City Guide Singapore) and Banana Leaf Apolo, which appears to set the trend of serving foods on banana leaves in these restaurants. For repeated visitors to Singapore, it would be fun to try these other restaurants as well to see which one serves the best fish head curry in your opinion.

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