by Brian Baxter
An oasis of calm and quality food in the heart of the City
It’s impossible to say how many nationalities are
represented by restaurants in Chiang Mai out of the 195
different independent countries that make up our fragile
world. I guess in proportion to that figure it is relatively
few. Apart from the countless Thai eating places there seem
to be a disproportionate number of Japanese and Italian
restaurants and after that a huge gap.
If one discounts ‘fusion’ which can hardly be called a
cuisine, we are left with a small and often uninspired mix
of Chinese, German, Indian, Korean, Mexican and Spanish plus
a rather larger number of French restaurants, some at the
top end of the financial tree and others of only moderate
interest. There are also handfuls that spill over into
‘Mediterranean’, of which Chez Marco remains the best but
nothing that I can think of from Eastern Europe, Central
Africa or South America. Any suggestions or comments
welcome, especially a recommendation for a good Burmese
All of which brings me to mention an attempt by a
Mediterranean ‘style’ venue, Tiger, Tiger, which comes into
another category the ‘international restaurant’ – a notion
loved by hotel chains. This place, situated near the Night
Bazaar directly opposite the Pornping Hotel and Bubble
discotheque, has come up with the idea of a smallish menu
with what might fairly be described as classic dishes from a
variety of countries.
Thus, from the list of salads you may select Caesar, from
the soups, tomato, under pastas there is Arribiata and from
the main list you could have a choice of Peking style duck
with pancakes or a salmon steak and to finish on the
puddings list, apple pie with ice cream. On Sunday, in
possible deference to the Brits., there is a lunch time
roast with all the ‘trimmings’ at just 275 baht, with a
choice of chicken, pork or beef. Not being a lunch person I
can’t vouch for it but it sounds good value.
The restaurant itself is quite spacious, with a large patio
on to the rather noisy road, busy with empty tour busses.
There is a more pleasant interior with background music
based around Spanish and Latin American songs. There is a
bar to the right as you enter and a range of tables with
comfortable chairs mainly arranged in twos and fours. An
upstairs section has further seating, seemingly not in use.
Large white napkins are on the brightly coloured tables and
the service seemed willing and amiable. There are specials
on the blackboard and a clearly printed menu plus one for
drinks. My companion and I went respectively for a glass of
white wine (120 baht) which was well chilled – as was his
second glass, of red – and a large Singha beer (100 baht).
There was wine by the carafe and fancier stuff by the
bottle, other beers plus soft drinks and spirits.
Our starters were Wexford Mushrooms (120) and Drunken Prawns
(150). Both came in very generous portions on thick cut,
toasted whole meal bread. The sautéed mushrooms were in a
creamy sauce dotted with little pieces of piquant blue
cheese and were described as ‘tasty’, a sentiment echoed
about my prawns which had been fried in garlic and white
wine and then served in a tarragon sauce. Very filling.
As a main course my friend went for an interesting looking
fillet of white fish with a crust of herbs and bread crumbs,
served with rather oily sautéed potatoes and well cooked
asparagus and rather too al dente broccoli. My fish was
rather less interesting and it might be better for those
with a large appetite to go for one of the house
specialties. This is a pasta dish called Mamma’s Meatballs
and I quote: Three huge Italian meatballs cooked in a rich
tomato sauce. A feast at 160 baht!
We finished with a pie and ice cream and for me a chocolate
ice cream (40 baht) which was perfectly pleasant. Expect to
pay anything between 250 and 500 baht a head depending on
alcohol and appetite. You will find Tiger, Tiger at 23/7-8
Charoenprathet Road. Tel: 081 8855 169. Open Mon – Fri from
3 p.m. until late and Sat - Sun from 11 a.m. until late.
French Onion Soup
There are many, many variations on this theme, but this is a
very easy one which can be made quickly and easily. The original recipe called
for whole meal toast, but I believe that any old toast will do. The cheese
should also be a mild cheddar so that the taste does not overpower the onions.
Ingredients Serves 4
Onions, sliced 6 large
Butter 2 tbspns
Grated lemon or lime rind 1
Beef stock 2 liters
Sherry 4 tbspns
Cheddar cheese grated 8
In a large pan cook the
thinly sliced onions in butter until they are soft. Add the stock
(three cubes in two liters water) and grated rind of one lemon (or
lime) and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain off the rind and return the
onions and stock to the pan, adding the sherry and simmer for
another five minutes while you make the toast. Pour soup into four
Put the grated cheese on top of the toast and pop in the microwave
for about 1 minute on full power to melt the cheese. Now place the
toast with melted cheese on the top of each soup bowl and serve
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