During the mid 1990’s, when Oasis and Blur were battling head to head for Brit Pop honours, and Tony Blair was confidently perceived as a great political hope, The G and myself were frequent visitors to the Siam Garden on Smithdown Road. Here, we always enjoyed great food and hospitality to match, and it proved to be a worthwhile introduction to the delights of Thai cuisine.
Fast forward 20 odd years, and we find ourselves at the North St John Street site of Tiger Rock, a reboot of the Siam Garden ethos – being that this new venture is from the same gastronomic stable. And the question is, does this new culinary venture hold up against the warm memories of meals past, the nostalgia of youth?
Well, simply put, yes. Absolutely. Tiger Rock is a triumph all round: great service and superb food. Under the expert supervision Anna, we were guided through some six “small plates” which acted as an excellent introduction to what Tiger Rock has to offer. The Shu Mai and mussels were delicate and sensuous on the palate, and the lamb satay exquisitely delivered. Lamb dishes can be very easily over-cooked, but this dish was spot on, thanks to Wil the Head Chef’s expert eye.The sea bass was also very well executed, and the Som Tam – a papaya and carrot salad with fresh chilli, peanuts and fish sauce – succeeded in being a worthy accompaniment. Our puddings of a delightful and delicate apple spring roll and the aptly named Special Cake (salted caramel with mouth-watering ice cream), all washed down by an elegant French Rose, rounded off the dining experience in a highly commendable fashion.
So the food at Tiger Rock is clearly top notch, but this can be said for quite a few Merseyside dining establishments. What makes us want to re-visit is the fabulous friendly atmosphere that Anna and the rest of the Front of House team effortlessly create. The warmth they show their customers, their knowledge of both dishes and beverages, is quite astounding, and is testimony to the quality of training they have received. The management have clearly invested in their staff. In truth, Anna curated our visit, and she was spot on with every dish and drink she recommended; her insights were welcomed and nuanced. But this is also a team effort, so hearty congratulations to the rest of the kitchen and front of house staff.
Are we enjoying a “golden age” in the quality of food and dining experience offered by our Merseyside restaurants? Going on what we have experienced recently, I would have to concur. There is an obvious passion, knowledge and commitment to the culinary experience that is so clearly evident in the likes of Anna and the team at Tiger Rock. The future is secure in their young hands. Simply fantastic.