First look at the newest food court stall in Chinatown.
Steak, grilled barramundi and Hai nam chicken. And the owners are…
Shiok!, a popular Eating World food court attraction, is no more. The punters used to flock there for their Hainanese chicken – boiled in a broth flavoured with onion, ginger, lemongrass and pandan leaves over high and low heat at different periods to extract maximum flavour.
Stall 213 is now Tiger Cave. It’sΒ just one week old. While Shiok! was pretty singled minded in its offering, this new place makes you do a double take. Steak, fish and chips sit side by side with yen ta fo and hai nam chicken.
It’s hard to categorize, what is this new beast?
And it’s a presumptuous new beast too, declaring eight dishes as their ‘beast seller’, though they’re a week old.
A brief chat to the staff, and a glance at the winter special poster below, solve the mystery. The owners are Thai. And it seems like they’re hedging their bets with the menu, picking Chinese and Thai standards as well as quick Aussie fixes (I’m an awe at #12 that, umm interesting looking chicken schnitzel)
I’m at a loss and out of loyalty for Shiok! as well as at least establishing some comparison point, I order the hai nam chicken (or hai nan as equally correctly spelt on the menu).
It’s not hard to spot the Thai hands in the kitchen; the chilli sauce is rich, dark and spicy while the side clear soup has a tad more flavour than usual thanks to generous additions of coriander and black pepper. These slightly tricked up additions are pretty good (hey I’m a Viet, we spice everything up a notch, too). The chicken is generous; silky and well cooked, it completely covers the piled-high steamed rice. Purists will rejoice – there aren’t any bean sprouts to be seen.
The menu might be a little confusing at first, but the first take is positive. I’m liking the hai nam chicken. Will try a Chinese, Thai and of course Aussie dish in the future to round up the Tiger Cave experience.
Eating World Food Court, Harbour Plaza
25 Dixon St, Haymarket