The tiger has earned its stripes.

Posted on September 1, 2011

5



Easy Tiger has earned its stripes by creating fierce Thai meals, served in a casual environment, reminiscent of a bustling upmarket restaurant in Thailand. This place has mastered the art of flavour, creating some of the best Thai dishes I have tried in Melbourne. Although it is on the pricey end of the scale, it is well worth the money. With a more concentrated focus on minor front of house issues, this place will evolve soon enough. The restaurant is a culmination of three friends desires and frustrations,  to create something unique and uncomplicated. Jarrod Hudsen is heading the kitchen, he has previously worked at Innocent Bystander winery and Giant steps in Healesville. Hudsen has teamed up with front of house managers Simon Hall and Suzanne Tyzack.

Easy Tiger

For such a late booking, I was pleasantly surprised to be grab a seat outside. The restaurant is separated into a front dining area inside, which also includes a communal table and the outside area. Half of the area is covered, whilst our table was in an open space. The fireplace is hot, seriously hot, to the point that at times I felt like it was burning the side of my back. I restrained from complaining because I’d rather be hot than uncomfortably cold. However, this is something they should try to address next winter. Wooden furniture, bonsai trees and a glowing design of lights bring warmth to the dining area. There is a graffiti painted rubbish bin stacked with branches which hangs in the corner, an odd to their youthful demeanor. Everything here reminds me of Thailand, the earth coloured plates and coasters, to the plants which adorn the walls. It was a pleasure to remove myself from life and relax in this Thai escape.

Easy Tiger

This place is exactly what Collingwood needed, the only thing that really bothered me, was the waiters pushy nature to enforce the share plates option. Share plates are so on trend and sometimes I want to be selfish and eat my meal to myself: Is that a crime? In addition, I felt the waiter tried to push us into ordering too much, which was annoying after the fact once the bill arrived. In layman’s terms: one entrée, one main and a dessert is more than enough.

Easy Tiger

The eating options are a banquet or al e carte. We settled on the al a carte menu because I wanted to try the chocolate pandan dumplings which were only on the vegetarian option. I was craving meat. Mr M and I both settled on a Japanese Choya plum wine to start our meal off, followed by an entrée of Ma hor and Thai spring rolls. Service is seriously quick, which is great for hawker style entrée’s. Ma hor is a ball of sticky pork and chicken mince which is cooked in palm sugar and served on pineapple. It has the most incredible aroma, and the flavour is an ode to Thailand, a clever mix of salty and sweet, with an incredibly unusual texture. The serving size is minuscule though, two would have been preferred. The spring roll has a crunchy and flaky pastry and a nice combination of water chestnuts, chicken and shiitake mushroom. The crunch of the chestnut pairs well with the rubbery texture of the mushroom. A nice combination.

Easy Tiger

The wine list is short and concise, with a focus on independent producers from single vineyard sites. There is also a range of beers from Asia and Melbourne, sake and asian inspired cocktails.  I choose a glass of Frankland Estate Riesling to pair with my spicy curry to follow. Next up was a plate of three fish cakes, which brought with it the most beautiful scent of Thai herbs. The cakes were flavourful and a generous serving size, I assumed that they would be crisp on the outside, however the texture was rubbery and did nothing to complement the flavours. Mr M was extremely satisfied with his Kingfish sashimi, which was fresh, lively and well cut. Medium slices of raw kingfish, topped with a miso glaze, cucumbers and wasabi fish roe.We then had two servings of Son In Law eggs, which I gobbled in one mouthful as an ode to my favourite eggs from Gingerboy. If you have been to Gingerboy, you would have experienced the sheer embarrassment of trying to fit an entire egg in your mouth, all at once. They were well cooked and delicate in flavour, although I had no problems with the dish I still prefer Gingerboy’s eggs. More spice, more flavour.

Easy Tiger

Easy Tiger

Our mains arrived shortly after: a slow-cooked Riverina lamb shoulder in a red curry and a white cooked chicken stir fry with garlic shoots, green peppercorns and charred holy basil.  We were both quite content that we had ignored the share plate option, I wasn’t giving this one up for free. Lamb cooked till it is falling apart is always a good sign in my books. This curry transported me back to a dingy street stall in Chiang Mai, where I experienced one of the best red curries in Thailand. The curry was sweet without it being intrusive to the palate, however I would have preferred a tad more chilli. Mr M’s stir fry was a bowl of excitement, the noodles were cooked perfectly and the flavours were well-balanced. For me, most dishes with holy basil and green peppercorns are outstanding.

Now for my favourite part of the meal, when the drinks make me chat crazily and the dessert comes to silence the banter. Three pandanus leaf dumplings sit amongst rock melon and green melon balls, on a bed of a salty coconut cream, garnished with micro basil leaves. What is inside the three dumplings, is an old friend of mine : Monsieur Truffe chocolate. The balls burst in the mouth, whilst the pandanus gelatin remains, leaving behind a vanilla hit. This is the reason I came here, after reading Stephen Downes review (23/10/11) , it became my mission to try this curious dessert. As life goes, I got sidetracked. There is something incredible about food which surprises and surpasses our expectations. What the chef has created is something truly unique and different, combining Thai flavours with French technique. Sadly there are only three pandanus balls, and for the pig inside me I want to winge and say they should include more.

Easy Tiger

My experience was exciting but calm and relaxed at the same time. Emulating the Thai way of life: savouring the moment. The food is top-notch and besides some minor flaws, it was terrific. This offers Collingwood a much-needed Thai haven, I will be back once summer peaks, to experience a tropical night right in the middle of Collingwood,  perhaps even just for the dessert….

Easy Tiger on Urbanspoon

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