Tiger, Tiger : 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 place.
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 tbspns
Toast                                  4 slices

Cooking Methodd
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 soup bowls.
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 immediately.