Sometimes being in the right place at the right time is a matter of pure chance. I came out of a performance of Us by Grit Theatre upstairs at Coco cafe on Smith St last night with a friend and we remembered that the new modern Thai restaurant, Easy Tiger, was supposed to be opening that night. We walked over, found it open, and went inside.

The warm smell of cooking rice and new carpet welcomed us as we sat. My friend had a beer and I had a subtle Australian arneis. We were not in need of a large meal and decided to order several of the smaller items on the menu. Like near neighbours Huxtable and Gigibaba, the food at Easy Tiger is designed to share. Queue usual apologies regarding trying to take photos of yellow food in low yellow light…

easytiger3 dinner at Easy Tiger, Smith St Collingwood

Easy Tiger have Twitter and Facebook profiles but the website listed on the latter does not exist, so I cannot check my memory of the dishes against the menu. All the small bites we tried were tasty, including the duck, something and anchovy broth (above, yes ‘something’ is deliberate, I forgot what the other ingredient was).

easytiger1 dinner at Easy Tiger, Smith St Collingwood

Prawn, pork and chicken mince on fresh pineapple (above). The fried meat morsels were rich and deliciously chewy like meaty lolly gobble bliss bombs.

easytiger2 dinner at Easy Tiger, Smith St Collingwood

Silky tofu with crispy eggplant shavings and basil puree. This is amazing – the eggplant is like bacon!

easytiger4 dinner at Easy Tiger, Smith St Collingwood

Betel leaf with prawn and fresh coconut.

easytiger5 dinner at Easy Tiger, Smith St Collingwood

Son-in-law eggs with chilli honey glaze. Deep fried boiled eggs with lots of dried chilli and sweet sauce containing honey and maybe something else, like tamarind? We didn’t order any of the larger dishes or desserts, so this review represents only a small sample of the menu.

The wording in a ThreeThousand article last month about the impending opening of Easy Tiger caught my attention.

easytiger6 dinner at Easy Tiger, Smith St Collingwood

A screen capture of made on 8 October 2010

Appearing to quote from a press release, it says:

[Owner Simon Kingsley Hall] says, “Hello everyone, I have sunk my teeth and moula into Easy Tiger, a fabulous Thai/asian restaurant that is opening in a few short weeks… In addition to working with us, we offer unsurpassable staff perks such as: no cash-in-hand work, lovely staff meals, fun and flattering uniforms, an incredible single vineyard wine list and lots of tastings of said wines too.”

Hmmm. I don’t call ‘no cash-in-hand’ (in other words illegal, untaxed, unregulated) work a ‘perk’. I call it industrial relations law. I call it the right of all workers to be on the books so if they are injured on the job they can prove they are eligible for workers compensation. I would like to know what some of Melbourne’s lawyer / food bloggers think about that. Exploiting workers may be common in the industry, but boasting about not doing it sounds supercilious.

But back to the food. It’s very good, and the space is quieter than some other new minimalist restaurants. I’m keen to return to work my way through the menu. With good service on opening night, Easy Tiger impressed me, apart from the missing website and possibly a dubious awareness of industrial relations law.

dinner at Easy Tiger, Smith St Collingwood

13 thoughts on “dinner at Easy Tiger, Smith St Collingwood

  • 8 October 2010 at 7:45 am

    Hey Brian,
    When I read that comment about one of the perks of Easy Tiger would be that they don’t pay cash in hand – I just thought that it was a well deserved jab at all of the restaurants around who do pay cash in hand. I guess considering there are so many of them around, especially Fitzroy / Collingwood area, it probably is a benefit of working at Easy Tiger. I imagine they included that in their press so that possible job applicants were aware that they weren’t looking at hiring on the cheap.
    The place sounds great though – good on you for getting in there on opening night! I wanted to drop by, but thought it would have been booked out / full.
    We definately need some decent Thai in the area – not a lot of it around, especially ‘modern thai’.

  • 8 October 2010 at 7:49 am

    I don’t think there’s a question here. I read his reference to ‘no cash in hand work’ as a clearly satirical statement – referencing the sad state of affairs where a proper contract is not something that hospitality workers can necessarily expect from other employers. By saying ‘perks’ he’s pointing out jokingly that he shouldn’t even need to mention it’s not cash-in-hand. (As a hospitality employee I appreciate what the guy is getting at.) Thanks for this review, sounds like a worthwhile place for dinner.

  • 8 October 2010 at 10:34 am

    Impressive speed with this review! I walked past in the morning yesterday and made a mental note to get there.

    Will definitely be checking it out soon!

    • 8 October 2010 at 11:15 am

      The tofu is sublime – like custard. Custard with smoky eggplant and basil – fantastic!

  • 9 October 2010 at 10:47 pm

    Obviously that would be eat and drink! Not so much rink. But modern Thai and roller skating would in fact combine two of my favourite things!

  • 18 April 2011 at 4:08 pm

    Love Easy Tiger. A friend of mine from Sydney told me about it.
    She ate their three times in four days on a recent trip to Melbourne.
    We headed on down and had a fab night. I have been trying to replicate the Mother In Law Eggs ever since – divine. Beautiful presentation, great staff. Love it.

    • 16 July 2017 at 9:05 pm

      They had a good run – 7 years is above average for a restaurant lifespan.


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