So my Summer break food adventure continues and decided to try the Sichuan Malatang at Tiger Chinese Restaurant hidden in the Laneway of Holland Street. I have seen these places in Melbourne but never tried it as they were always so busy and I did find it slightly scary going in due to it being so packed and everybody in there knew what they were doing. So I decided to try this for lunch one day and scope it out.
In the corner, there is a refrigerating unit where it is loaded with different ingredients you can add into your Sichuan Malatang. There are many different vegetarian options that you can add to your bowl and there is also different types of seafood and slices of raw meat you can add to your bowl.
In my bowl added some shrimps, squid, mushrooms, rice cakes, black fungus, rice noodles, beef and some pork. You then take it to the little counter where it gets weighed and then taken away and cooked. I decided to go for the medium spicy option to my Sichuan Malatang.
The bowl arrived and it was loaded with soup and the bowl just seemed to never end as I think I added too much to my initial bowl. The soup was really nice and spicy and had a nice depth to it, but I do wonder what the base of the soup is. I did found it weird there was some raw finely chopped garlic in the soup and made the soup slightly bitter and added a slightly weird texture when you bit into it. The medium spiciness was a good level for me and I think, I will only possibly go out one level. The cooking of the ingredients was a mixed bag. The beef and pork were chewy and I do wonder what cut of meat they use. The shrimps and squid were good and as were the noodles, rice cake and black fungus. The Chinese mushrooms were a bit weird and not initially rehydrated enough.
Overall not a bad place to eat but I did find this place overwhelming. The service was not great and does not seem welcoming to people who want to try this place out for the first time. Also, I would consider this place a bit on the expensive side and a bit of a novelty.
Update 25/02/21: So recently I was told to try it again and give it another try. I went back for Christmas and I have been back numerous times since. Yes, I would still say this place is overwhelming and if you go with someone who does not know what they are doing then it is different. Some tips would be to get four or five items and just little amounts and they take it up to the bench to be weighed. Get the Mild or No Spice option even if you think you can take the heat. Middle is uncomfortable because of the Sichuan pepper corns. If you want heat then get some chilli oil which is on the table where you get you original bowl. In my chilli oil, I also add vinegar and soy sauce and then add it to the soup when it arrives.
I honestly, cannot stop going back to this place. The service is still not good and if it is busy, food can take a while. They sell Bubble Tea which is really good. The price is OK if you control how much you put into your bowl. It is better to put lets than more. I now highly recommend this place.
Facebook Page: Tiger Chinese Restaurant