Curry Fish Head @ Up & Up Restaurant, Jalan Yang Kalsom, IpohDecember 19, 2009 | 8,890 views
Good food don’t come easy. For instance, in search of the BEST curry fish head in Ipoh, one may have to bear the brunt of relentless traffic on Jalan Yang Kalsom, the Malaysian weather in her most glorious episodes of mood swing (scorching one second, chilly the very next), and even have to (SHOCK!HORROR!) walk up a seemingly endless flights of stairs to reach the restaurant situated on the third floor of Wisma Kinta, named Up & Up Restaurant, aptly.
A pleasantly hearty meal in the most unassuming of location – Up & Up Restaurant @ Jalan Yang Kalsom
Even the lady boss herself, named Anne, admitted that the location of the restaurant is by far, not the most strategic one. With no obvious signboards nor directions, Up & Up Restaurant is huddled up on the top-most floor in a rather deserted building named Wisma Kinta, which no doubt has seen better days.
Passing by the now jaded structure on Jalan Yang Kalsom, a pale shadow of its former self (Philippe Sum, the famous hair stylist had an outlet there back in the glory days), you would be squinting for any signs of life left in Wisma Kinta. And probably wondering aloud whether J2Kfm played a trick by directing you to a secluded spot with a somewhat haunting ambience.
The Undisputed King of Curry Fish Head in Ipoh …… 30 years of history speaks volume of its popularity, does it not?
But wait, as you ascend those stairs (okay, you CAN take the lift, which is in its most rickety state to start with), you’ll soon catch a whiff of those fragrant curry powder/paste, the inviting spices and aroma of freshly cooked curries, and tangy tamarind aroma from the assam curry being cooked.
On the third floor of Wisma Kinta, you’ll bear witness to one of Ipoh’s best kept secret, Up & Up Restaurant, famed for its Curry Fish Head, Sambal Prawns with Petai, and Vinegar Pork Trotters.
The eerie-ly intimidating buttons in the elevator, the flight of stairs one has to brace before reaching …..erm, nirvana?!! And Wisma Kinta from the outside. No signboard of the restaurant at all.
The restaurant can easily seat a crowd of about 50-60 people, and fully air-conditioned. Of course, if you’re coming a large group, it’s highly recommended to reserve a table in advance. Relatively speaking, this restaurant adopts the what you see is what you get concept. No fancy menus, no specials of the day, nor even dodgy background music serenading your meal.
Either ask for their signature dishes, or practise the trusted point and order technique, referring to what the adjacent patrons are having. And I can assure you, people come to Up & Up for the Curry Fish Head, at least 80% of the time.
The gigantic fish head came in a most brilliant form. Served with a whole tomato, ladies fingers (okra), and drowned in a most tangy, slightly spicy (no fret if you’re one who suffers from IBD) gravy that’s redolent, almost creamy, with spices and bursting with flavours. Definitely more sour than the others I have tried (the imitators!), and packing a well-loved punch, the curry fish head was a lovely cross between thick, coconut milk-laden curry and assam curry (evident in the tangy flavour from the tamarind).
As sloppy as the Sambal Petai (stinkbeans) was being dished out, the dish was a delectable amalgam of flavours, perfectly combining the sour, sweet and spicy tinge from the paste, accentuated by the pungent (some may find them repulsive) aroma of the stinkbeans. And the addition of succulent prawns was completed the ensemble on a high note. A must-try, really. If you’re not fond of stinkbeans, you can choose to omit them, and have the Sambal Prawns instead. But if you ask me whether ‘petai’ is necessary in the dish, please refer to Motormouth’s 7 Deadly Sins post, and come to your conclusion.
The other two dishes we ordered were the simple fibrous option of Bean Sprouts (Tauge) with crunchy pieces of salted fish, and the Foo Yong Dan, or Omelette with Onions, Carrots etc. The latter was a little too greasy to our liking, and lacking the oomph in better versions with chopped Char Siew (barbecued marinated pork) and Shrimps. The Tauge was no doubt satisfactory, for those who think that Ipoh’s tauge sucks MUST have gotten up from the wrong side of the bed …….
Doesn’t this just SCREAM classic?!
The meal came to RM96 / USD27 for the four of us. A little pricey for Ipoh’s standards, but the fish head was well-worth the price paid. (It should be from a red snapper’s, though I can’t confirm the species, sorry).
Location & Contact Numbers :
Up & Up Restaurant
39-43, 3rd Floor, Wisma Kinta,
Jalan Yang Kalsom,
Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia.
Telephone : 605-241 7089, or 605-255 6478.
Opens daily from 12pm until 9pm. Closed on Sundays.
Here’s a GOOGLE MAP TO UP & UP RESTAURANT
Here is a review by Julian Si who proclaimed it to be the BEST in Ipoh.