TIGER’S MILK: Great vibe, buzzy atmosphere and reasonable prices
By Bianca Coleman
THE Harbour House group is more like an empire these days, with restaurants including Harbour House, La Parada, Live Bait, Lucky Fish & Chips, Sirocco, Easy Tiger, Charango, and several Tiger’s Milks.
Adding to the seven already in the Western Cape and Gauteng, the latest one began trading recently enough in Kloof Street to still be listed as “opening soon” on the company’s website. Like the others in the collection, it’s evident there is a Midas touch at work here.
The restaurant is huge, with two entrances – one in Kloof Street and another in Rheede Street opposite Mabu Vinyl. From the former, you pass through an archway to the extensive L-shaped outdoors seating area, and from the other, you go directly to the ornate bar. You can take your chances at any time of the day, but if you want a seat I strongly urge you to book.
My friend and I arranged to meet for an early dinner at 5pm – less of the early bird old-age hour and more of “we have so many other things to fit in tonight”. It never crossed my mind it would be so busy at that time, but it was packed. Being sort-of summer and all that, it’s clearly already a massively popular place for Capetonians to take off work early and meet for drinks.
There is a great cocktail menu with some creatively different options with interesting names. Consider a thyme and mango margarita, a Red Rum Daisy, or a Ginslinger. As a fan of a traditional Old Fashioned, I tried the one here, which adds apricot and bacon to the original recipe. It was interesting, with a subtle apricot flavour and garnished with a strip of bacon, but ultimately too sweet for my palate. If you’re not that adventurous, there are classics like Cosmopolitans, Long Island Iced Teas and mojitos, as well as non-alcoholic ones (which are just cooldrinks, really).
I moved on to a glass of Spier chardonnay pinot noir with my starter of grilled calamari with “green sauce” – salsa verde, but let’s not mess about. My friend had a rather magnificent Caesar salad. Everything we had was served on wooden boards, of which I am not a fan. They’re almost as bad as “stemless” wine glasses – call them what they are: tumblers (thankfully not used here).
For my main course I had a 400g sirloin on the bone with a side salad, and further sides of truffle infused mushroom sauce and a glass of Ernie Els’s Big Easy cab sav. And then another, because why not? Unfortunately, the steak was not cooked as I requested it (overdone) – something which happens far more often than it should.
My other gripe was when I requested a toothpick, the waiter brought them – unwrapped – on a napkin held in the palm of his hand. Who knows where they had been before that? Just no. Both issues were addressed with management.
My friend skipped a main in favour of a dessert – bread and butter pudding with salted caramel and crème anglaise. I allowed myself one decadent bite and it was flipping amazing and easily the highlight of the meal.
Apart from the aforementioned, it was a good experience at reasonable prices. The vibe is great if you like a buzzy atmosphere, and the service was attentive.
Open daily for lunch and dinner, 12pm till midnight.
Tiger’s Milk is on 55 Kloof Street, Gardens (with another entrance in Rheede Street).
For reservations and more info, call 021 286 2209.