Easy Tiger

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It seems that white boys can cook Thai food.  Jarrod Hudson is the chef behind Easy Tiger on Smith Street, Collingwood and boy does he know his way around a wok.  This is not your typical neighbourhood Thai restaurant.  The first giveaway is the space with lots of low slung communal seating and a huge mural of a yellow carp along one wall.  Through the restaurant proper there is also a covered courtyard at the back with fairy lights, bamboo and a cheery pot belly stove for heating.  It’s a tiny slice of urban jungle and you can pretend you are in Thailand, or at the very least Sydney.

Betel leaves topped with prawn, peanuts and fresh coconut
The second realisation that you are not in Kansas anymore comes when you see the menu.  Elegant but concise it doesn’t list any of the usual Thai dishes like Pad Thai or Massaman curry.  Instead the menu is divided into “Street food” to start and then more substantial “Rice dishes”.  All of it, our friendly waiter assured us, is designed to be shared.

Singha beers in front of a pot belly stove
To start, betel leaves ($5) topped with a mixture of diced prawn, peanuts and fresh coconut had the perfect Thai mix of sweet, sour and salty along with the textural contrast of soft but crispy.  MTV boyfriend then could not resist ordering the one traditional Thai sounding dish, the spring rolls ($6).  These were filled with a mixture of chicken, shitake mushroom and water chestnut which made them more interesting than your typical springie.

Spring rolls
The grilled chicken and coconut salad ($24) again displayed the perfect balance of ying and yang Thai flavours, combining the chicken and coconut with segments of grapefruit and sprinklings of coriander, lime and dried chilli.
    
Grilled chicken and coconut salad
Springy stir fried calamari and snake beans ($28) were died jet black by its accompaniment of toothsome of house made squid ink noodles laced with just a dash of chilli oil ($28).  The combination was sensational, my only quibble being that Hudson could have been more heavy handed with the chilli oil

Stir fried calamari and snake beans

However the dish of the night was probably the side of son in law eggs ($4).  The eggs were soft boiled and then lightly deep fried and topped with curls of chilli, crisp shallots and fresh coriander.  Mixing the oozing, yellow egg yolk into the rice was all kinds of delicious.

Sensational son in law eggs
There is a decent wine list which lists lots of independent wineries and boutique breweries but we were boring and stuck to Singha beers ($7) because they were the cheapest on the list.   For me, the food at Easy Tiger was a revelation of liveliness, execution and the unexpectedly clever.  Each dish was a new and delightful surprise.  Jarrod Hudson cooks  the sort of food that I like to eat in exactly the sort of restaurant I like to eat at.  
 
 
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Essentials
Details:  Easy Tiger, 96 Smith Street, Collingwood 3066 (Ph 03 9417 2373)  Tues–Sun  6-late 
Damage:  Pricey.  Our bill came to $94 for two with four beers. 
10/10

Easy Tiger on Urbanspoon

11 comments

  1. This sounds great. I think I want to start a food blog just as an excuse to get out and eat good food more often!

  2. Oh no … no dessert? You will have to go back and try the desserts. Glad you enjoyed – I quite like Easy Tiger too. It’s easy to like 🙂

  3. I quite love Easy Tiger too, though Gingerboy’s son-in-law eggs are far better, imo. I second essjayeff’s comments on desserts too — we blogged about it here, http://momoandcoco.wordpress.com/2011/11/8/easy-tiger/ they are more consistently lovely than the savouries at Easy Tiger.

  4. What a fun read! And I would love to try those eggs…

  5. Son in law eggs are such swoon-worthy stuff… you’ve inspired me to try and stalk some down in London- any tips on where I might find them?

  6. It does look nice, and quite pricey too, but if the quality matches up to the pricing then it’s great!

  7. Alison – It’s a great excuse to eat out (not that I need any encouragement)

    EssJay – I have heard the desserts are sensational but (very out of character) I was just too full so had no room.

    Momo and Coco – Right it sounds like a return visit just to try the desserts is required.

    Hanna – The eggs were delicious

    Tori – I know I love them but I really can’t recall seeing them on the menu anywhere in London

    Ms IHua – Yes I think it was worth it.

  8. Thanks. I will go to Easy Tiger and enjoy them.

  9. I read this awhile back but didn’t have time to comment but I filed it away in my memory for my next night escaping the suburbs! I’ve booked a dinner with 3 friends to go here in a couple of weeks and I can’t wait!!!! Thanks for the fab review.xo

  10. We went here last night on your and Melbourne Gastronome’s recommendations and it was brilliant!!! Such a delicious meal and lovely service and a gorgeous atmosphere. The prawns on the betel leaf, pumpkin curry and the caramalised custard with poached pineapple were the favorites of the night. That dessert was incredible – one of the best I’ve ever had!

    I don’t get too many dinners out in the big smoke these days, and to have to organise dinner for the kids, either my hub home a bit early or a babysitter, quite a lot of work goes in to a dining experience. It’s nice to not have to play Russian roulette with my restaurant choices and make a night out really amazing and worthwhile! Thanks for the review!xo

  11. Info Travel – Good to hear

    Amy – So happy to hear that you loved it. Can’t believe I didn’t try the caramalised custard with poached pineapple – will have to go back for that one for sure.

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