Sunday, 3 April 2011

Easy Easy Tiger!

Ok ... so we had the banquet at Easy Tiger on Saturday night. Easy Tiger profers a modern take on Thai food and sits comfortably on the Gertrude street end of Smith street which is fast becoming a gourmand's paradise of modern cafes and wine bars serving serious food for the more discerning amongst us, and at relatively modest prices (although you could go to town if you wanted, or exercise practical moderation) too. But this is Fitzroy, so if a good night out means drinking beer out of a glass from your cleavage ... then just keep walking.

As standard, you're encouraged to share your meal with your fellow diners. Ordinarily, we're less inclined to order the banquet, especially in an Asian style venue, but a few of our must-trys were included in the selection, and at $65 per person, it made sense to simply go with that and place ourselves completely in the hands of our able hosts. And let me tell you that there was a lot of food ... and free flow rice if you wanted! They were even accomodating with our request to swap the banana fritter portion of the dessert choice but maintain the sage pudding and strawberry agar.

Decor wise, its like stepping into an Ikea photo-shoot, which isn't necessarily the worst thing. Service was quick and the right balance of relaxed and efficient.

But obviously its the food that is most important, and it started a little shakily, but each successive dish only served to compound the fact that in the pantheon of flavour combinations, the Thai triumvirate of lemongrass, fish sauce and coconut milk is peerless!

We started with ma hor (or galloping horses):

Easy tiger's version is served on watermelon slices instead of the more common pineapple. And uses dried prawns and chicken. This was the first and only mistep. There was a little 2 much dried prawn which tended to overpower the sweetness and the freshness of the watermelon. And texturewise it was a little too chewy for my liking as a result. But the flavour was there and the hint of heat in the chilli aftertaste was exciting.

Next we had the seared scallop in a lime sauce. This was scumptious!!! We could have easily had a whole plateload of these with a bowl of rice to mop up the sauce and we would have given them rapturous applause.

Next was Easy Tiger's version of Mieng Kham (betel leaf with prawn and fresh coconut) - pretty decent!! Although I would have liked it a little better if there was less of the ingredients on the leaf so that it could have been easily wrapped. But the balance of the flavours was spot on. I'm dying to try replicating this at home. I just need to find the right sauce recipe.

And the last of the entrees was the Chicken and Coconut Galangal soup with Shimeji Mushrooms, served in the cutest little Bodum glass. A tad on the salty side, but I'm sure if you were served this on the streets of Bangkok, it would have just as heavy a salt hit as this. Asian food is generally not that subtle. And for those of you who are into this sort of thing, the material that the soup glasses are sitting on in the picture below is repeated on the floors and the splashback of the serving station at the back.

They allowed a decent enough time for us to digest all of those starters before commencing the main course. Thank god! As it was we were struggling at the end.

The highlight for me out of the mains was the Jungle Curry of white chicken cooked with asparagus. This was a spicy treat heavy on lemongrass and was the perfect marriage of sweet and salty. And the super fresh basil leaves provided a brilliant herby counterpoint.

The Son-in-Law eggs were the best I have ever tasted. Mine squirted all over the table when I cut into it. Watching all that yellow yoke goodness ooze out onto the rice was exquisite. I was almost giddy with excitement (or maybe it was the wine!) and the taste combination was tdf.

The other curry included was a coconut braised pork belly & prawn with ginger. This would be what my friend Wendy would call the perfect dish as it has both pork and seafood! The pork simply melted in the mouth! But this was a rich proposition and was probably the dish that tipped us over into dangerously full territory. (We refused a second serve of rice - which they offered without prompting)

To cut all of this richness, they served a simple salad of whitlof and iceburg lettuce, garnished with chives, and it was welcome relief indeed.

Our evening ended with a sago pudding topped with a layer of strawberry agar agar, drenched in Palm Sugar (yum!!!) and served with 2 pieces of stewed dragon fruit (our banana fritter substitute). I think I still have the flavour in my mouth even now. Is there anything better than Gula Melaka --- I'm wracking my brains and coming up with nothing.

Go. Try. Like.

PS - this is what we thought of it honestly:

Easy Tiger on Urbanspoon


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