Saturday, July 16, 2011
Tiger Tiger Cafe and Bar
The reviews on Urbanspoon are mixed about this place, with most people having negative experiences here, mostly due to the staff or the manager, which is unfortunate. It appears the negative reviews about the staff have been more recent, as the older reviews of Tiger Tiger are very positive.
Aesthetically, its really cool, its down an alleyway in the city and has a real op shop chic vibe. I loved the look of it... Your tea is served in cute mismatched vintage tea cups, your side plates for meals are, again, mismatched and vintage - which adds to the op shop feel of the place. Inside is warmly lit, with big red booth style seating against the wall, and chic metal/black chairs on the other side. Obscure, alternative and arty pictures, posters and paintings hang on the walls.
The menu is tapas style with smaller things like Tiger nuts ($5), bread and dips, chorizo with lemon, chermoula chicken skewers, chicken liver parfait, duck salad, and host of other things. There are share plates including a Ploughpersons, which looked nice. They have an extensive wine list, though the cheapest is $35 by the bottle and only have about 4 reds by the glass. Admittedly I didnt look at the white list, because I dont really drink it... It was quite expensive for drinks, and if you arent a wine drinker then you'll struggle because there was was only 3 beers (Weihenstephaner for $12, VB for $5 and another darker beer which was about $9 I think), and 1 cider. Hmmm....
But thats the generalities outta the way... Onto our experience with the place...
We had 3 scoopons, which entitled us to $180 worth of food and drinks. Booking was necessary, so on friday evening we rang up to book us a place and spend our virtual cash. I was told that they dont take bookings anymore, and they dont take scoopons on fridays after 5pm. When I told her (her turned out to be the manager/owner), that this condition wasn't on the voucher, she sighed and with an aggro tone asked me if I just wanted to do it my way then? Um... I just wanna use my voucher and your made up rules aren't written anywhere... She conceded, and booked us in for the following friday. It wasn't a good start but I assumed that maybe she'd had a rough day?
Next friday I gave them another call just to reconfirm our booking. The guy I spoke to had no idea about it, and said they don't take bookings and they don't take scoopons after 5 on fridays. After explaining that I had arranged it last week with the manager, he said it was all sorted out. When I asked him if he'd like us there earlier, as I knew it got busy and I didn't want to make things difficult for them, he said no its fine, it'll all be arranged, and then hung up on me.
Needless to say I wasn't looking forward to going there, which is an ordinary way to be feeling about a night out with your friends! I was grateful they had made an exception for us though, even though we were only asking to redeem a voucher under the conditions that we purchased them with. Not a big ask?
We got there a bit early, and I told the waitress who I was and said I was happy to come back later as I knew I was early. They had a table waiting for us already (we got there about 40mins early), and she showed us in, saying to the manager "this is Jacqui", and then got some funny looks from other staff, and I overheard someone saying "ooh THATS Jacqui" as if I'd kicked up a huge stink about getting a table. Obviously we felt really uncomfortable. The manager came over and said "oh so you're Jacqui? *looked at her watch* bit early..." and walked off.
We got menus, they offered us some drinks, nuts/bread to start off with etc, then our friends arrived, and from then on in we didnt really feel like we got much attitude from the staff, they were perfectly civil and did their job.
I was drinking the shiraz which was nice, served in glasses which look like a normal wine glass without the stem, which I liked. Being a red drinker, there isn't as much importance placed on how cold the wine is, however my friend who drinks white doesn't like them because the heat of her hand makes her wine go warmer, faster. Fair point. Have a look at this article to decide whether or not you think a wine glass needs a stem...
Anyway... someone was hungry so they ordered the grilled chorizo with lemon, chermoula chicken skewers and the duck salad. The chorizo came out as fat little sausages that spat fat at us, looked a bit undercooked but were tasty, served with a lemon wedge. The chermoula chicken skewers came out with 4 servings, drizzled with a yoghurt dressing. They were nice, tasty but very dry, and a bit stingy on the chicken. I would have liked to have seen chunks of chicken rather than a tenderloin sliced in hald and threaded onto a skewer. Duck salad was nice, but I hate coriander so didnt eat much of it. The duck was cold, and it was light on the meat, but it was nice. The duck meat wasn't as strong as I've tasted it before, but sometimes I find duck a bit overpowering, so I was pretty happy with the mild flavour.
One of the girls ordered a latte which they said was really nice, came out well presented and looked good, but we werent really there for coffees.
It was time to pay, and we were off. The night had been good, even though we'd copped a bit of attitude from the staff. One of our friends had his own tab and when he went to pay, his bill was pretty big... Turns out they'd been putting some of our drinks, on his tab. He was paying for everything whereas we had vouchers, so they were pretty much trying to scam a bit of money out of us... The waitress, again, got snarky about it saying how good a deal this was etc and that he should have just said it was wrong. Obviously a bit pissy they'd been caught out. They then tried to tell us that we could only use 2 of 3 scoopons, because that was part of the terms and conditions. One of the girls argued about it, and we managed to get it sorted. But again, Tiger Tiger tried to change the rules without telling anyone, so that the game suited them. When we went to leave I apologised to the waitress for the inconvinience, and that my friend can be a bit of a stickler for value (she did argue a bit...). She half smiled and rolled her eyes at me.
Tiger Tiger has the potential to be such a cool place. The decor is funky and cool, the wine list is good, though expensive, and the menu looks good, and tasted pretty decent. However the staff are awful. They treat you like they're doing you a favour by letting you be seen in such a cool cafe. Its such a shame as I really wanted to have a good experience here but I didnt really. I want to love it, but I cant because the staff were so aloof and snarky.
I won't be going back to Tiger Tiger...
Photos c/o The Travel Project, and Lonely Planet.