96 Smith Street
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I don’t normally do this: visit a restaurant one evening and blog about that very night. However, my evening at Easy Tiger was such a delight that it triggered the need to wax lyrical about our very non-Aussie dinner on Australia Day.
Fakebooo had arranged for dinner for us lot (The Boos and The Angmoh and myself) at Easy Tiger on Sunday, which is banquet night. He had even requested the window seat to allow natural light for prettier photographs. We were greeted by a leaping deer, a gasping fish and pensive wise monkeys.
After agreeing on the 2 course meal for $50pax, we nestled into the couch and got comfy with drinks. A detox palate cleanser of sunset lily tea washed off any remaining nuances from the tongue and prepared us for the tasty balls of Ma Hor. These little spheres of pork, chicken and peanuts bound by sticky palm sugar, crunchy peanuts and pungent dried shrimp sat on a slice of tart sour pineapple. They were tasty morsels, quickly devoured in a single mouthful.
Bright green heart-shaped betel leaves greeted us next. Each leaf was piled with shredded smoked scallop, fried eschallots and fresh coconut. A light dressing of lime juice requires the dish to be wrapped tightly and open the mouth up wide. It was the winning dish of the evening, so much so that it even transported Fatbooo to Vietnam, where he pictured himself sailing on a narrow sampan down the calm languid waters of the Mekong.
Our last entrée was another beaut: snapper and ocean trout, pureed and massaged into a bouncy chewy fish cake, lightened by spring onion and a smidge of coconut cream. The house-made sweet chilli sauce made a great dipping accompaniment to balance the salty flavours of the fishcake.
Unlike the entrees which were staggered out, our mains were set down all at once. The 2 dishes were split into 2 portions for easier distribution (and photo-taking). There was sour orange fish curry, nahm prik and son-in-law eggs. The eggs were exactly how they were described to us: oozy on the inside and crispy on the outside. These were Fakebooo’s virgin experience with the ooey gooey delights and boy was he delighted. As he gushed about the texture of the eggs, he kept spooning the sauce of chilli, garlic and palm sugar all over the dish.
The sour orange curry was my favourite dish that evening. It was sour indeed, reminiscent of tamarind, or asssam. The snapper was perfectly cooked and the vegetables of kangkong, snake beans and daikon gave the dish an uplifting green freshness. The chilli fiend in me secretly wished for a stronger kick though.
The Angmoh and I were simply too full to fully devour the shredded roast duck and green mango but enjoyed it nonetheless. Watermelon played an interesting part in overcoming the rich flavours of the duck and fish sauce. Crudites of witlof, cucumber and iceberg sat by its side, giving it a burst of crunch.
With initial intentions of forgoing dessert at Easy Tiger and heading down the road to Gelato Messina, we were quickly swayed by a verbal spiel of the sweets available. We just couldn’t turn down the chocolate dumplings and a terrine of sorbets. The dumplings had a chewy pandanus dough encasing a decadent river of dark chocolate from next door’s Monsieur Truffe. They were surrounded by balls of melon and sat in a bed of savoury coconut broth. The surprise of coriander shoots and seeds were a clever, clever touch. The terrine comprised of layers of pineapple, Thai basil and mandarin sorbets, fenced off by a perimeter of coconut sorbet. A crispy layer of white sesame wafer added a touch of crunch and sweetness. The sorbets were a delight and perfect for summer.
I was always sceptical about Easy Tiger and generally find the need to approach fusion food with an open mind. However, dinner tonight blew my caution to hell and back. There was balance. Ingredients were chosen carefully and flavours married well. No element fought for attention and every aspect of each dish was a happy team-player. Easy Tiger offers up a roaringly delicious meal and has to be one of my happiest, most memorable foodie experiences.