It has been a few years since Rogue 24 shut down in Blagden Alley. Knowing how much work Chef R.J. Cooper and his team did to transform the raw space into a beautiful restaurant, it was only a matter of time until something new filled this prime spot. Enter Tiger Fork, a Hong Kong kitchen which opened this week from the team behind The Fainting Goat. They are serving dim sum and Cantonese specialties such as kowloon buns, pork ribs, and crispy whole Dourade. The restaurant is tastefully decorated with rustic wooden tables, hanging Chinese lanterns, bold colors, and murals painted on the exposed brick walls. We arrived around 6:15 pm and it was relatively easy to snag a table, but by 8 pm the place was packed with an overflowing bar area and not a table available in the house.
We started the meal with a few small dishes from the Dai Pai Dong section of the menu, which refers to food from open-air stalls or street foods in Hong Kong. The Cheung Fun thick noodles are stuffed with shrimp and chives and then rolled and sprinkled with black sesame seeds and placed on a bed of peanut sauce. This was my favorite dish of the evening. I also enjoyed the clams with black beans, chili, and basil which were served in a deep bowl accompanied by small soup spoons so you can dig in for the sauce and delicious bits at the bottom.
I was disappointed and slightly put off by the turnip cakes. The menu listed them with XO sauce and pickled mushrooms, however when they arrived they were covered in dried shrimp and the flavors were overly fishy. I understand that this might be a common preparation in Hong Kong, but I think Tiger Fork could better qualify the ingredients on the menu so people actually know what they're ordering. The table next to us had the same experience and also was surprised by the preparation of the dish. I prefer my turnip cakes sweet, like the ones Chef Scott Drewno does so well at The Source.
Another standout dish was the beef chow foon. The thick rice noodles come with pieces of brisket and bok choy. It's a comforting and satisfying combination, and one I will be coming back for. We enjoyed the Chinese cauliflower with flowering chives and chili. The portion was plentiful, and was a nice compliment to the noodle dish.
As we were finishing our main meal, the waiter put the check on our table along with two fortune cookies. While we were happy to enjoy the fortune cookies, the dessert menu caught our eye and we had to order the bubble waffle with matcha ice cream. The waiter really undersold it, but we were totally into this delicious concoction. The waffle comes in a bowl atop of newspaper and is adorned with green tea ice cream, and some chocolate covered pretzels and other salty and crunchy components that make this hard to resist. Save room for dessert at Tiger Fork!
My first meal here was a good one, and based on the crowds just a few days in I have no doubt that Tiger Fork will be successful. The restaurant brings great flavor and diversity to the growing options in Blagden Alley and the Shaw restaurant scene.