I’m attracted to a fixed price set menu for two reasons;
1. I like good value and to know what I’m paying upfront. This applies whether it’s a midweek menu that’s £15 for two courses (as Tigerlily’s new Dine Out menu is) or Andrew Fairlie’s multiple course Dégustation Menu
2. The more I eat out, the more I like my choices limited. If you always have the full choice of the A La Carte menu, you can easily fall into the habit of picking your favourite dishes and combinations. It’s good to try new things and be challenged. If you want to go to the extreme of this, visit Seasons where you simply get an ingredients list and no choice of dishes at all!
Tigerlily’s Dine Out Menu features four choices for both the starter and main. What makes this menu a little different, and of extra interest to me, is that it was developed in collaboration with food blogger Hilary Sturzaker, who writes the My Monkfish blog. The concept is good food that doesn’t cost the earth – something I can totally get on board with.
Inside Tigerlily is all glitz and glamour. This is a place you go to see and be seen. There’s glitterball effect walls, a nod to cherry blossom season, marble, opulent seating areas. It’s every idea for a bar and restaurant thrown into one gorgeous townhouse. It really works and is a feast for the eyes. This is a place where the food isn’t necessarily the star of the show, the clientele themselves occupy that position.
The complimentary bread, olive oil and balsamic was a really nice touch, and unexpected as part of a midweek set menu.
We ordered the Chicken Satay with Chilli Yoghurt and the Garlic Sourdough, Thyme Forest Mushrooms with Parmesan and Truffle Pesto to start.
The chicken was really well cooked, and the garnishes were light and freshly made. I particularly enjoyed the little twist of stir fried vegetables which were really flavoursome. The chicken was much better cooked here, but I preferred the sauce on The Refinery’s version. If I could combine the chicken at Tigerlily with the sauce from The Refinery, that would be perfect for me!
The mushroom dish was a lighter version of this dish that comes with creamy white wine and garlic sauce. I liked the idea of lightening this up, the toast could have done with a little extra toasting though. I find a bit of char adds to the overall flavour and texture. A nice midweek starter that isn’t going to leave you feeling as though you’ve indulged too much – and with swimwear season fast approaching, this is a good thing.
My friend ordered the Slow Braised Beef Shin, Celeriac & Parsnip Puree with Kale & Pancetta Jus. This was a good portion, the beef was properly slow cooked and falling apart. The only minor issue with the dish was that it could have been a little warmer.
I had the Peelham Farm Pork Belly with Root Vegetables and Chive Mash. This dish had all the potential but was spoiled a bit by the pork. The portion of pork was relatively small – slightly larger than a deck of cards. The whole middle section was just fat, not marbled fat with meat as is the norm with pork belly and if rendered down is actually quite tasty, but the flabby type which I think most people find unpleasant to eat. By the time I’d removed the fat, there really wasn’t much meat and caramelised fat left. I did mention it to the staff who passed it onto the kitchen, and I hope I’ve just been a bit unlucky with a particularly fatty piece. I eat pork belly regularly, at home and when I’m out so I’d like to think I’m quite a good judge and prepared for it to be a fatty cut, but this went a bit beyond that. The chive mash, roast vegetables and jus were all really good.
For an extra £5 each you can add a sharing dessert of Warm Cookie with Salted Caramel, Chocolate Sauce and Ice Cream. This is served with your choice of tea or coffee. This is a comfort dessert, and loaded with calories, but who cares when salted caramel is involved!
The service at Tigerlily focuses on the functionality of the job, it’s efficient and leaves guests to enjoy the company they are with. I got the impression this is part of the vibe at Tigerlily – waiting staff don’t hang around to chat too much, and guests seem to like it that way.
A solid set menu with lots of potential, but one which fell down a wee bit on execution. That said, it was great value, and for those that want to enjoy the glitz and glamour of Tigerlily, the Dine Out menu is an affordable way to do so.
Location: 125 George Street
Price: Dine Out Menu Starter & Main £15 Each. Sharing Dessert £5 Each.