I first went to Easy Tiger earlier in the year for my dad’s birthday, and when we were trying to choose somewhere to have dinner while my sister was in Melbourne recently, we decided it was definitely time for another visit. The combination of delicious food, friendly staff and a relaxed atmosphere was just what we were after!
We decided not to do the banquet and just order for ourselves, and whilst the menu doesn’t actually have a huge number of vegetarian options, the wait staff happily go through the dishes which can be adapted for a meat-free version, which is always helpful! The menu is divided into two sections ‘street food’ and ‘rice dishes’, and the idea is you all share the food, which is always okay in my book! (Also, sorry about the photos, it’s a very dark restaurant so getting clear pictures proved rather tricky!)
We started with the Betel Leaf ($6 each), with my parents getting the tea smoked scallop version and my sister & I going for the puffed rice. Both came with fresh coconut, peanuts and dried shallots, all delicately balanced on the betel leaf. These can be somewhat messy to eat, but they are incredibly delicious. The textures of the puffed rice and crunchy shallots go so well with the slightly chewy coconut and betel leaf, and the sauce over the top just ties it all together perfectly. I could eat a whole plate of them!
Mum and dad then ordered the Pork Dumpling ($6 each) and the Chicken, Corn & Garlic Chive Spring Roll ($6 each) which were both very well received, whilst Pip and I went with a recommendation from our waitress and had an enoki mushroom roll ($6 each) which was served on a chilli jam. She had said it was kind of like a spring roll, but what arrived was not quite what I was picturing! The roll looked like it had been cut into two pieces, but they were in fact joined in the middle still, and the outside was soft, rather than crunchy, so it was again slightly messy to eat, but nonetheless delicious! I particularly liked the chilli jam, which really added to the flavour combination perfectly.
Our final dish from the Street Food menu was the Salt & Pepper Silken Tofu with Iceberg Kimchi ($10 for 2 pieces). I love salt & pepper tofu so this was always going to be a hit with me, and I certainly wasn’t disappointed. The inside was perfectly silky and the outsides lightly crisped and full of flavour. The kimchi had a nice kick to it and was the perfect side to the salty tofu. Another dish I could have eaten a whole plateful of!
For our mains the parentals went with the Goat Curry with Pumpkin and Lotus Root ($34) and then we got a couple of others to share across the table. First up was the Wok Fried Rice Noodles with Cauliflower, Black Beans & Garlic Shoots ($30) which was another recommendation from our waitress. I’m very glad we listened to her as this may have been my favourite dish of the night (although by far the hardest to photograph)! The noodles were long and tubular and provided a nice contrast to the slightly crisped cauliflower and garlic shoots. This was jam-packed with flavour and we were scraping the bottom of the bowl to make sure we didn’t waste any!
We also went with the Massaman Curry with Kipfler Potato & Red Banana Chilli ($30) as my sister is a big fan of massaman curries, but it can be hard to find a good vegetarian version. This was also really tasty, with a generous amount of the vegetables, as well as a great sauce which we happily poured over our rice. A word on the rice, I really like that they bring it to the table in small containers, and replace them the second they get close to empty, so there is always fresh, warm rice on the table, rather than bringing out a large bowl at the beginning. It’s a small thing, but it does make a difference.
Finally, we got a Papaya Salad to share ($10) which came with a couple of very hot chillis on top which were kindly pointed out to us by our waitress (and avoided by me!). I always like having a papaya salad when having meals like this as it provides a great fresh element and helps lighten the feel of the whole meal. This one didn’t disappoint and was full of fresh papaya, coriander and tomato, as well as some crunch from the peanuts and shallots. Perfect way to end our meal!
Overall we had a really wonderful meal, and I think it’s definitely worth the prices. We left feeling extremely satisfied (and too full for dessert!) and the staff are helpful, attentive and happy to accommodate dietary requirements. Unfortunately we don’t have any more family birthdays this year, so I’ll have to find a different excuse to head back again soon!