17 May 2023

Hot in the City: Next stage of Tiger Lane to open at the end of May

| Lucy Ridge
Chef Gerald smiles in front of black and white photo of woman

Gerald Ong and the eponymous Mrs Wang at the newest restaurant in Tiger Lane. Photo: Rohan Thompson, Pew Pew Studio.

The highly anticipated Tiger Lane Precinct is set to unveil the next stage of the 2000 sqm development in the Canberra Centre at the end of May with a Chinese restaurant and five hawker stalls. The pan-Asian food precinct has delivered shabu shabu and yakiniku dining at Taki, and playful contemporary Japanese cuisine at Inari.

Tiger Lane has been revealed as a hyper-saturated urban thoroughfare – designed to evoke the neon streetscapes of Tokyo and Hong Kong – and will house five hawker-style eateries, a bar and Chinese restaurant Mrs Wang.

Tokyo metro sign with bar sign behind

The urban streetscape is designed to mimic the hustle and bustle of Tokyo. Photo: Rohan Thompson, Pew Pew Studio.

Chef Gerald Ong will be the executive chef of restaurant Mrs Wang, which he described as “an expression of the ever-evolving Chinese food culture created in Australia”.

Chef Ong earned a loyal following from Verity Lane pop-up Project Enoki and has been working closely with chef Shaun Presland, who is overseeing the entirety of the Tiger Lane precinct.

“I want to look at the migration of Chinese food around the world and explore what Chinese food in Canberra looks like today. China is bigger than Europe, so when we say ‘Chinese food’, it’s like saying ‘European food’: there are so many different cultures within that,” Mr Ong told Region.

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Mrs Wang will pay homage to yum cha culture and is styled in a 1930s art deco theme, with a vintage black and white photo of the real Mrs Wang on the wall.

“Mrs Wang is actually the mother of Tiger Lane’s investor, but the odd thing is that the English name for Wang and my name Ong actually have the same Chinese character. So it’s named after her, but it’s a funny coincidence that it’s my name too,” says Mr Ong.

Tiger Lane logo with neon lights

The neon lights are designed to look like cars zipping by in the hypersaturated space. Photo: Rohan Thompson, Pew Pew Studio.

Five hawker stalls will pay tribute to the hawker centre culture in Asia from Korean fried chicken at Sticky Beak to a playful take on sushi rolls at Blowfish. Chef Ong will oversee the menu at BBQ stall Lucky Duck, drawing on his experience cooking traditional Cantonese-style roast meats at Canberra institution Chairman and Yip.

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He will also recreate the flavours of his hometown of Singapore with the menu of Golden Panda, which will serve up classic hawker dishes.

“Hawker culture is all about value and flavour: everything on the menu at Golden Panda is under $20. In Singapore, we eat at hawker centres more than we eat at home. They’re communal hubs where everyone gathers and eats a normal meal; there’s no occasion for it,” said Mr Ong.

“I’m really keeping it authentic. I’m trying to have the exact flavours of all the food I miss from home.”

pyramid of sushi rolls

The hawker stall Blowfish will feature quirky sushi. Photo: Ben Calvert Photography.

Chef Shaun Presland will oversee Inari Express, the little sister of signature restaurant Inari, which will serve grab-and-go versions of classic Japanese Street Food.

The precinct has been designed by architecture firm Interior Life, led by director Tomas Scerbo. The space will feature quirky Asian vending machines, a full-size bus stop, and strips of red and white neon lights imitating traffic on city streets.

Tiger Lane is set to launch the new eateries in late May.

Follow Tiger Lane on Facebook or Instagram to stay up to date. Tiger Lane is located in the Canberra Centre, at 148 Bunda Street, City.

Original Article published by Lucy Ridge on Riotact.

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