Tiger Rock Smithdown Road
With “south east Asian hawker food” the tagline for Tiger Rock, you can expect cheap and cheerful small plates covering mainly Thai flavours, but also drawing on salt and peppery Chinese, spice-strong Malaysian, vegan Singaporean, and sweet and sour Vietnamese cuisines.
The original of two restaurants, this two-storey (upstairs can be hired for dos) Tiger Rock near Penny Lane is the place to sample a range of Bellinis, including lychee, plus an interesting and oft-changing specials board to complement the regular menu of small bowls and plates, salads and sides. Let’s start in Vietnam, with healthy prawn-filled fresh rice paper summer rolls goi cuon and traditional crispy minced pork-flavoured spring rolls cha gio. Straddling the border between Singapore and Malaysia, we find nasi goreng, that recognisable chicken and veg fried rice topped with a fried egg and served with prawn crackers on the side – at Tiger Rock, it is also one of the many dishes available as a vegan or gluten-free option, or indeed both. Malaysia also delivers on the rendang curry as well as the satay front, with a choice of chicken (ayam) and beef steak (lembu) barbecued skewers. Also barbecued are the Chinese siu pai qat ribs and the char sui fan honey pork alongside steamed bak choi with garlic and dried shrimp mince and rice. Thailand is represented by its “vintage street food” dish pad Thai, which consists of stir-fried chicken noodles, hot and sour soup delicacy tom yam gai and also geng know wan gai, a chicken green curry that can be made to vegan and gluten free-friendly requirements. Then, of course, there’s roasted duck, grilled sea bass, tempura aubergine, crispy soft shell crab and handmade dumplings.
Desserts include plant-based and gluten-free mango-flavoured sticky rice pudding and apple spring rolls with coconut ice cream, as well as “special cake”, which definitely sounds intriguing.
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