I was eager to catch up with Annie, as it had been ages. Of course, we met for brunch in Shaw, which seems to have all the best brunch spots these days. Tiger Fork launched brunch that very weekend, and we were on it! The Asian restaurant, inspired by Hong Kong, is nestled in Blagden Alley in the space that was once home to Rogue 24 (RIP). I’d recently been for dinner, and I’d enjoyed the dumplings and inventive cocktails immensely.
The space is absolutely stunning. You enter the tall, red brick building in the alley through a heavy black, Asian-style door. At the front of the sexy, sleek space is an octagonal, black wooden bar. Then, through the curtains there are large wooden tables for communal-style dining under paper lanterns. The space is lively, and stays very true to its inspiration of Hong Kong markets. It feels incredibly authentic, and not at all contrived like some ethnic restaurants. You genuinely feel like you’ve stepped out of Washington and into a bar in Hong Kong.
I arrived only slightly tardy (a win for me on a weekend morning) and Annie was already sipping on the Bad Girl Mimi, a tropical bubbly confection inspired by Rhianna. Crafted with prosecco, passion fruit liquor, guava and pineapple, this cocktail was frothy and light, not too sweet.
Our waiter was a friendly guy who was polite, helpful, and unintrusive. He added to the experience, rather than taking away, and didn’t mind our catching up and our photo taking.
I was in need of both booze and caffeine, so I ordered the Bang Bang Yuangyang, which was made with both coffee and tea, as well as brown sugar and five spice. It was nutty and frothy, with strong notes of coffee and spice. I really enjoyed it—this was one of those memorable cocktails you won’t find elsewhere.
We started with dumplings and the smashed cucumber salad, which I had enjoyed at dinner previously. I absolutely crave cucumber salads, and this one is packed with flavors of garlic, chili, and sesame. A clean, classic execution of Asian cucumber salad, but the cukes are of a thicker cut and smashed so that they absorb the flavor. It’s great.
We had two types of dumplings: the Har Gow and the Shumai. The Har Gow were steamed, classic pockets of dumplings filled with shrimp and served with a sweet chili soy. They were light and lovely.
Annie was skeptical about the shumai, but I love them, so we gave it a go. These open-faced, hearty dumplings are more dense, with chunks of shrimp and sweet corn, and topped with house-cured roe. They are packed with unique flavors and the sweet corn is an unexpected delight.
Annie loves Congee, and we both agreed that was a must. The rice porridge with braised shiitake mushrooms was topped with a beautiful soft-poached egg and a large, crispy breadstick. It was a bit runny—but that’s how it’s intended. It was warm and hearty; perfect for a winter’s day or brunch when you’re feeling a little under the weather.
For dessert, we decided on the egg tart, essentially a sweet egg custard in a pastry shell. This authentic Chinese dish was good, but not our favorite (Maketto’s still beats it, for us).
Meanwhile, we had mixed reviews on the Happy Toast. For starters, it was adorable. The toast was a happy face served with a dollop of butter. It was crispy on the outside and moist on the inside, with notes of coconut, condensed milk, cinnamon, and sugar. It was utterly decadent and incredibly sweet. I loved it, and Annie realized she did not because she doesn’t love coconut. Can’t please everyone!
Toward the end of the meal, I was feeling high on caffeine, brunch and time with one of my favorite Bitches, so I chose to order another cocktail. Annie was a bit under the weather (read: hungover) so she skipped this round. The All The Pretty Flowers was certainly pretty and impressed me, despite my distaste for gin.
The Bitches say: A. A cool spot with great decor and cool vibes, friendly, relaxed service, top-notch food, and a great cocktail program.
Tiger Fork serves brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. (202) 733-1152