I’m so excited to share my experience at the newly opened restaurant Tiger Mama in the Fenway area! Located at 1363 Boylston Street and a short walk from the Fenway T stop on the green line (D), this restaurant opened the second week of December 2015. Eater, Boston Globe, Zagat and Boston Magazine are among a few of the press that reported their anticipated opening! I feel quite lucky that I was able to watch this restaurant tick only days after their doors opened!
Tiffani Faison and her wife, Kelly Walsh imagined the concept for Tiger Mama through their travels in Southeast Asia. Their food isn’t strictly traditional to region but rather inspired by many memorable dishes and flavors. Tiffani opened Sweet Cheeks Q a few years previous and also competed on Top Chef- just a few drops in the bucket to prove her credibility!
My friend from college, Frank, is a true foodie so I love going out to dinner to try new restaurants and dishes with him! He used to work with two front of house managers at Tiger Mama, Dana and Heather, and wanted to visit! As soon as we arrived, the vibe was very cool, laid back and authentic. Eagerly greeted at the door by the hostess and a blinged out elephant, we were seated in the center of action allowing us a view of either end of the restaurant.
Super unique in design, there is an array of seating arrangements available for small or large parties. The menu is similar- full of small plates and larger portions meant to share. There are also two bars at either end of the restaurant. They feature two different drink menus and are served across the restaurant. One of the bars even features a tiki drink menu!
At the rear of the restaurant lays an open kitchen with a chef’s table available for reservation. The decor fully matches the menu as funky and fresh- live palm trees, a living plant wall, and a cool neon sign reading, “TALK DON’T, COOK RICE”.
Pleasantly greeted by our waiter, Patrick, we dove into the menu eagerly discussing what we wanted to try. Despite only being open two weeks, Patrick had many suggestions for both the drink and food menu and could recommend things based on our individual palettes. You could tell he was very passionate about the industry and was especially excited about the work happening at Tiger Mama.
Let’s get to the good stuff- the food.
As we were deciding what the order, the kitchen sent us the Lobster Fresh Rolls: charred lobster, bright veggies and spicy silky peanut sauce.
This was the perfect introductory course to the rest of our meal. These lobster rolls were super fresh, crunch, sweet and the heat from the peanut sauce warmed the palette for an overall nice balance. YUM. I could probably eat a hundred of these and never get sick of it!
Crispy Garlic Prawns “LOS”: garlicky shrimp, crackly shells, brown butter
This was INCREDIBLE. The shrimp were so delicious and the shells weren’t characteristically greasy like fried foods. The shrimp sat on top of charred and salted cabbage and scallions. The crunch to soft ratio of this dish was spot on!
Chili Spiced Short Rib Crudo: rich chili seared short rib, herb “salad”, black vinaigrette, charred leeks.
Not my favorite dish but only for the fact that I’m really sensitive to spicy components. While the dish was very spicy, the short rib was tender and mellow and acted a great dish to share!
Lamb Roli: brickfields spiced and braised lamb, crispy roti, holy basil raita, mint cilantro jam
Frank ordered this dish and was ooh-ing and ahh-ing as he ate it! It’s presentation was simple and could also act as a dish to share.
Pig Rice: bacon, braised frilled pork, issan sausage, pork sung
Despite how full I was, the rice was SO delicious. It was meaty and salty without being overpowering. The rice was perfectly cooked and supported many different textures.
Lastly, for dessert we ordered the Milk Toast! A piece of brioche soaked in coconut milk or an anglaise and then seared on a flat top. Simple, pure and delicious.
Frank and I also ordered two rounds of drinks throughout the meal! My first drink was fruity and girly with a twist of tang while Frank ordered a drink that focused more on the spirit. The second drink we ordered was delivered with crushed ice in a large golden pineapple- equally delicious! And to top off the night, Chef Tiffani Faison made her rounds in the dining room connecting with guests!
Overall, I had an incredible dining experience at Tiger Mama! Everything from service, to seating and decor and especially the food, was outstanding. You could definitely sense the passion from the workers in both their service style and food. This is a restaurant you won’t want to miss! I can only imagine their success for the future and cannot wait to make my return trip soon.
Thank you Tiger Mama! Kudos on a job well done!
Thanks for reading Food for Thought Thursday and don’t forget to check back on Tuesday for another look into my post grad life!