North John Street, Liverpool
Review by Lawrence Saunders
The inside of Tiger Rock’s new city centre branch couldn’t be more at odds with its position on a rather gloomy stretch of North John Street.
Arriving for our evening booking and ascending from the spacious foyer into the restaurant proper, my partner and I were warmly greeted by a member of staff who showed us to our table.
As we waited for the menus, the pair of us had a chance to check out the simple yet classy décor which was given an authentic Southeast Asian feel with the rustic tableware and bamboo shutters decorating each
Tiger Rock is based around the concept of hawker food which, as the waiting staff explained, refers to the delicacies sold by Thai and Malaysian street vendors typically served in small plates and bowls – much like the bulk of Tiger Rock’s menu.
After getting the lowdown on the theory behind the grub it was almost time to put it to the test, but before we did it seemed only right to sample one of the speciality cocktails on offer.
Being partial to a lychee boiled sweet but never having tried the real thing, I went for a Lychee Bellini whilst my partner plumped for a Limoncello Raspberry Bellini (both £5).
My eastern example of the classic Italian cocktail was brilliantly refreshing with the fresh lychee garnish giving it a welcome sour punch to finish.
My date’s beverage was certainly more in keeping with the drink’s Venetian roots thanks to the lemon liqueur, whilst the burst of raspberry gave it a distinctly British summer vibe.
Time to crack on with the food and following some valuable guidance through the menu we decided to order five dishes to share – a combination of small plates and bowls.
First out of the kitchen was Shu Mai (£4.95), which is one of my all-time takeaway favourites and thankfully Tiger Rock’s interpretation didn’t disappoint.
The steamed homemade minced pork and king prawn dumplings avoided sogginess and the chilli dipping sauce had just the right amount of heat.
Small plate number two was Nasi Goreng (£5.95). Described on the menu as popular Malaysian hawker food, the combination of chicken fried rice with fried egg and prawn crackers was superb.
Next up was Malaysia’s national dish, Nasi Lemak (£5.50) – coconut rice with crispy anchovies, boiled egg, roasted peanuts and Sambal sauce wrapped in a banana leaf. Sounds delicious, right? Well unfortunately my partner can’t stand boiled eggs so she thought otherwise and I was left with the lot to myself – what a shame.
The crispy anchovies sounded like a great idea on paper and they proved just as clever in the flesh and, as you’d imagine, the combination of a boiled egg and nuts was incredible.
The penultimate plate was Mee Goreng Udang (£6.95) – king prawn fried noodles with chilli. Described on the menu as a popular Malaysian/Indian dish, these noodles are known to be served by Malay hawkers with freshly caught crustaceans.
Having yet to visit Malaysia I can’t say for sure whether Tiger Rock’s interpretation was as good as the real thing but it certainly tasted great.
Our last dish was Siu Arp (£6.50) – roast duck breast with bok choi and boiled rice. The duck was tender and the vegetables were well cooked but unfortunately the overall effect was rather bland and the dish would have certainty benefited from a smidgen more sauce.
For pudding the Apple Spring Rolls with coconut ice cream (£4.50) immediately caught my eye on what was admittedly a limited dessert menu. Think McDonald’s apple pie Southeast Asian-style – you’ve got to try them.
Even the £70 parking ticket that greeted us when we got back to the car on Victoria Street couldn’t spoil what had been a thoroughly satisfying evening of delicious, authentic cuisine.