What’s up? Tiger Lilly

The new Thai sister restaurant enhances Sarona Market.

Tiger Lilly Restaurant (photo credit: PR)
Tiger Lilly Restaurant
(photo credit: PR)
If there is a secret to being successful in the Tel Aviv restaurant industry, chef Yanir Green of the Tiger Lilly restaurant has certainly uncovered it. Since opening almost five years ago, Tiger Lilly has established a regular clientele and promises a packed house nearly every night of the week, making reservations a must! Tiger Lilly’s vision was born out of Green’s love of Thai cuisine. Green spent many months traveling through the different regions of Thailand on a culinary journey to acquaint himself with the aroma and authentic flavors of Thai street food.
Thus inspired, he recently opened a sister restaurant in Tel Aviv’s Sarona Market. My first visit to the new Tiger Lilly establishment did not disappoint.
What appears to be a very nonchalant look from outside, turns into an impressive, full-scale restaurant the moment you walk through the doors. Beautiful decor accented by subtle lighting makes for a wonderful ambience. The restaurant is sectioned off so you don’t feel lost inside, but you still get an intimate restaurant vibe.
Upon being seated at our table, my dining companion and I were presented with banana cashew shakes (NIS 28) from the bar, which were creamy, healthful and delicious.
Our course of appetizers began with chicken satay skewers (NIS 32) in Thai curry, coconut milk and peanut sauce. The chicken was juicy and flavorful, as opposed to the bland, grilled-to-a-crisp things that are often served at chain type restaurants.
The peanut curry sauce was a little thick and chunky, which added a lot of tang to the chicken but didn’t overpower it.
This was followed by yam pla tod (NIS 36), which consisted of baby anchovies with cherry tomatoes, purple onions, coriander and mint. It was a delightful fusion of sweet, spicy and citric. The anchovies were salty, crisp and quite delicious (this coming from a non-fish fan).
We were then served the green papaya salad (NIS 35). This was one of my favorite dishes of the evening. I’ve tried similar dishes before, but this one really captured the goal of a papaya salad. The flavors and textures came together perfectly – sweet, sour, salty, acidic, crunchy all in one bite.
Thinly shredded papaya, peanuts and a flavorful vinegar dressing. Very impressive.
Next up was the nam tok (NIS 46), which consisted of thinly sliced sirloin pieces tossed in chili, lemon grass, coriander and mint. Nam tok means “waterfall,” which some say refers to the sound of the meat’s juices dripping into the fire. The sirloin had a tender, melt-in-themouth texture, accentuated by bold flavors that had a real kick.
After a bit of a breather and a round of cocktails, we were served the chicken massaman curry (NIS 74). I’d never had massaman curry before; or if I had, I never paid attention to the name. This was one of the tastiest curries I’ve ever had. The creamy curry was simmered in rich coconut milk as is usual with most curries, with tender potatoes as a filler. The chicken was methodically slow-cooked and tender.
This went very well with the side dish of sticky rice, which soaked up all the delectable curry sauce.
Equally delicious was the pad sieu (NIS 59) with broad rice noodles in black soy sauce with egg, chopped beef, Chinese cabbage, broccoli and bok choy. It was a nice infusion of deep, earthy flavors without being overly hot.
When I didn’t think that I could take another bite, they brought out the classic Asian dessert: banana loti (NIS 38). It consisted of a caramelized banana crepe served on a plate drizzled with toffee sauce. Simply put, it was delicious.
All in all, Tiger Lilly is a great place for a post-work drink and appetizers or for dinner with friends on any occasion. My cravings have not subsided since my visit, and I can’t wait to go back to enjoy this gem again.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
Tiger Lilly Not kosher Sarona Market, Tel Aviv Tel: 1-700-707-097