Sometimes being in the right place at the right time is a matter of pure chance. I came out of a performance of Us by Grit Theatre upstairs at Coco cafe on Smith St last night with a friend and we remembered that the new modern Thai restaurant, Easy Tiger, was supposed to be opening that night. We walked over, found it open, and went inside.
The warm smell of cooking rice and new carpet welcomed us as we sat. My friend had a beer and I had a subtle Australian arneis. We were not in need of a large meal and decided to order several of the smaller items on the menu. Like near neighbours Huxtable and Gigibaba, the food at Easy Tiger is designed to share. Queue usual apologies regarding trying to take photos of yellow food in low yellow light…
Easy Tiger have Twitter and Facebook profiles but the website listed on the latter does not exist, so I cannot check my memory of the dishes against the menu. All the small bites we tried were tasty, including the duck, something and anchovy broth (above, yes ‘something’ is deliberate, I forgot what the other ingredient was).
Prawn, pork and chicken mince on fresh pineapple (above). The fried meat morsels were rich and deliciously chewy like meaty lolly gobble bliss bombs.
Silky tofu with crispy eggplant shavings and basil puree. This is amazing – the eggplant is like bacon!
Betel leaf with prawn and fresh coconut.
Son-in-law eggs with chilli honey glaze. Deep fried boiled eggs with lots of dried chilli and sweet sauce containing honey and maybe something else, like tamarind? We didn’t order any of the larger dishes or desserts, so this review represents only a small sample of the menu.
The wording in a ThreeThousand article last month about the impending opening of Easy Tiger caught my attention.
A screen capture of www.threethousand.com.au/work/easy-tiger/ made on 8 October 2010
Appearing to quote from a press release, it says:
[Owner Simon Kingsley Hall] says, “Hello everyone, I have sunk my teeth and moula into Easy Tiger, a fabulous Thai/asian restaurant that is opening in a few short weeks… In addition to working with us, we offer unsurpassable staff perks such as: no cash-in-hand work, lovely staff meals, fun and flattering uniforms, an incredible single vineyard wine list and lots of tastings of said wines too.”
Hmmm. I don’t call ‘no cash-in-hand’ (in other words illegal, untaxed, unregulated) work a ‘perk’. I call it industrial relations law. I call it the right of all workers to be on the books so if they are injured on the job they can prove they are eligible for workers compensation. I would like to know what some of Melbourne’s lawyer / food bloggers think about that. Exploiting workers may be common in the industry, but boasting about not doing it sounds supercilious.
But back to the food. It’s very good, and the space is quieter than some other new minimalist restaurants. I’m keen to return to work my way through the menu. With good service on opening night, Easy Tiger impressed me, apart from the missing website and possibly a dubious awareness of industrial relations law.