The first venues in Canberra Centre’s new pan-Asian foodie precinct Tiger Lane have earned a host of loyal fans since they launched in 2022.
Welcoming eateries like Inari and Taki—as well as a fresh-faced sushi train at Hero Sushi—in an atmospheric greenery-laden corridor, eagle-eyed diners will have noticed that the precinct is not yet complete, with hoarding still along the wall where Fitness First once lived.
Now, we can reveal that the hoarding is finally coming down on Thursday 25 May and it promises to be an unforgettable experience.
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Because instead of a single final eatery or bar taking over the space, the space will bring the promise of hawker-style food centre to life, with stalls encompassing Korean, Japanese, Chinese and South-East Asian flavours.
Tomas Scerbo of specialist interior architecture firm, Interior Life, who made the Tiger Lane vision a reality, says the space has been designed for maximum impact.
“We worked hard to evoke the feelings that you get in bustling Asian streets like Tokyo, and Hong Kong from which we drew inspiration. Places that are all joined by a common thread of vibrancy.”
Expect a “life-sized bus stop” and “quirky Asian vending machines” as well as an “Australian-first digital LED floor and responding soundscape to capture your attention and welcome you inside.”
In the centre of the space will sit a bar, with a modern Chinese restaurant, Mrs Wang, rounding out the final piece of Tiger Lane.
The Tiger Lane precinct will span 2000 square metres in total and is sure to be a food experience never seen before in Canberra.
We’re also excited to see none other than brilliant chef and Nicest Man Alive™ Gerald Ong (of Project Enoki fame) helming Mrs Wang as Executive Chef.
Gerald explains that despite the luxe red interiors promised by the renders, Mrs Wang is for everyone, at any time.
“Mrs Wang is modern Australian Chinese that’s interesting enough for the well-travelled gastronaut, yet familiar enough to call it your new Chinese local,” he explains.
“Some of the menu will change daily, based on what we’re getting from local farmers and what’s in our fish tanks. There’s also a lot of fun speckled throughout the menu with dishes like fried ice cream with char siew caramel.”
“Or one of my favourite dishes based on a tale where a beggar stole a chicken and hid in mud, only to find that once cooked over fire with the right aromatics, it tasted delicious. Except it’s 2023 and inflation is creeping up so we’re making ours with cabbage.”
With its rich red interiors, Tomas Scerbo adds that “Mrs Wang, in particular, is a place of discovery—it’s an anchor of the precinct and gives a sense of the unexpected, paying homage to yum cha culture, with a glorious 1930s art deco style.”
Gerald’s nous will also be present at two of the hawker stalls, Lucky Duck and Golden Panda.
“Lucky Duck is inspired by traditional Cantonese barbeque culture, with a wood-fired duck oven at its heart, while Golden Panda honours the hawker, dai pai dong and Tze char shops of Asia.”
Rounding out the remaining three hawker offerings will be Sticky Beak, Blowfish and Inari Express, whose menus will be designed by celebrated Chef Shaun Presland, whose keen eye and palate have steered Tiger Lane from the beginning.
“Sticky Beak is where you’ll find Asian Fried Chicken and Korea’s version of the dagwood dog,” explains Shaun. “Inari Express is the little sister of our signature restaurant Inari and serves up everyday Japanese street food favourites on the go.”
“Blowfish offers next-level hand rolls and groovy poke bowls, putting a pop culture spin on your standard sushi roll using everyday sando concepts like a bacon and egg sushi roll, a Philly cheese roll and a fried chicken and curried egg roll.”
Excited, Canberra? We are.
Feature image: Ben Calvert.