Lil’ Tiger is a small but promising cocktail bar on Robertson Walk offering a range of fun cocktails and an eclectic bar food menu.
Considering how many drinking holes call Robertson Quay home, it’s surprising that there hasn’t been a proper cocktail bar in the area for a while now. Enter Lil’ Tiger.
Lil’ Tiger is a new cocktail bar hidden in plain sight at Robertson Walk, in a space that used to be occupied by a small Japanese omakase eatery. It is opened up by the same people behind Wildfire Chicken & Burgers, but the concept cannot be any more different than that casual fast food burger joint. Instead cosy Lil’ Tiger – it comfortably accommodates around 25 people at most – offers a cocktail programme that hopes to rival some of the best bars in town.
There’s a rather extensive list of 16 different cocktail offerings at Lil’ Tiger, split between a section for highballs, one for signature cocktails, and another for showcasing a barrel-aging programme.
The Gin Sonic and the tequila-based El Diablo are relatively easy-drinking and refreshing highballs that are just complex enough to be interesting, while its Vodka Soda and Whisky Highball are the kind of uncomplicated tipples to wash off the dust of the day.
If you like strong yet mellow flavours, any of the options from the barrel-aged cocktail section work. We like how barrel-aging helps to integrate flavours and take the bite off harsher spirits, and in particular the White Negroni here has benefited very well from the treatment. Also enjoyable is the Orientalist Old Fashioned, a more rounded and sweeter version of the classic due to the use of the blended Asian whisky as opposed to the usual bourbon or rye whiskey.
Cocktail hounds looking for more experimental flavours should look towards the signature cocktails. The Grape Mistake is a fruity liquid repast bursting with kyoho grape flavours, while the Carmencita is their unique twist on the spirit-forward Boulevardier. We did really like our Rico Suave, a floral take on the Gimlet using a touch of lavender tincture.
And if nothing catches your eye, you can always ask the bar to make you any classic.
If you’re not into cocktails Lil’ Tiger carries a range of wines as well. They are not your plain vanilla drops either. We were pleasantly surprised to find a a Mosel Riesling in the Schloss Lieser Riesling Trocken, or Stellenbosch, South Africa’s Reyneke Organic Chenin Blanc, in a cocktail bar, for example.
As for food, Lil’ Tiger’s bar bites menu is an eclectic one that draws culinary influences from all over. There’s a raw bar, for example, offering the likes of Fresh Oysters and Scallop Tartare. The latter is really more a ceviche than a tartare with its tangy vinaigrette, but is a treat when washed down with a highball.
There’s a taco section too, among which the standout is the Chicken Neck Tacos, featuring grilled boneless chicken neck that was both juicy and flavoursome. There’s a lovely char on the chicken neck thanks to being fired in a binchotan charcoal-fired Inka oven, which is surprising to find in a cocktail bar. That oven is also used for grilled items the likes of Hanger Steak Wagyu and Iberian Black Pork, featuring quality meats more commonly found in high-end restaurants too (Snake River Farms and Presa Iberico, if you’d like to know).
But we really did relish their Signature Burger, comprising of a superbly grilled USDA Black Angus beef patty drenched in chili con carne on a brioche bun. It made for messy, but delicious, eating. Likely the experience at sibling concept Wildfire Chicken & Burgers has rubbed off here.
And if you love your fries, the Chicken Fries are a must-order. They look like regular shoestring fries, but are dusted with chicken skin that’s been dehydrated, fried and then ground into powder. It gives the fries a most lovely umami hit.
Previously the only places in the Robertson Quay area for a decent cocktail was La Maison du Whisky, and the now-defunct Summerlong. It’s new and there’s room for improvement, but Small Lil’ Tiger fills that gap rather nicely if you’re on the prowl in the area for a tipple or three.