Tigerbakers Bar & Cafe – Beware the Tiger

Tigerbakers Bar & Cafe – Beware the Tiger

I would like to start this review by saying I don’t usually write bad reviews. If I have an unsatisfactory meal I usually chalk it up to experience, delete the images and move on.

I had intended to do just that when we left Tigerbakers on Darlinghurst Rd. I had already reformatted my memory card and started thinking about my next meal. Then I took a look at Urbanspoon and read the comments. Although the restaurant somehow has a 73% “like” rating, the majority of comments were overwhelmingly negative.

I really wish I had of read the comments prior to taking a seat. After a little bit of pondering and checking my iPhone images I decided to write the story.

Tigerbakers Bar & Cafe

Tigerbakers Bar & Cafe

Anais and I were drawn into the café by the European atmosphere and pretty decor.   The tables on the street included a posy of flowers, there was a bar looking onto the street and plenty of “twenty somethings” enjoying their morning coffee.

We took a seat and I ordered my usual cappuccino in a mug on almond milk. I don’t have milk intolerances but for the last six months I have enjoyed my morning coffee on almond milk.

Anais ordered an orange juice which was brought out quickly with my coffee.

Skim Milk Cappuccino

Skim Milk Cappuccino

My habit is to spoon the chocolatey froth from my coffee before drinking. Upon doing this I noticed a strange taste. By moving the froth aside I found the “milk” below to be completely curdled and separated into water and curds.

I explained the problem to the waitress and she explained the almond milk had just been overheated. This didn’t account for the unpalatable flavour so I requested a new coffee on skim milk.

My second coffee was lukewarm at best. I didn’t want to complain again so I just made sure I finished it quickly before it was completely cold.

Anais Orange Juice

Anais Orange Juice

I prefer a lighter breakfast so I ordered the raw beetroot salad with poached eggs and smoked salmon. It sounded like a nice healthy start to the day.

Smoked Salmon & Raw Beetroot Salad w Poached Egg

Smoked Salmon & Raw Beetroot Salad w Poached Egg

When my meal arrived it certainly looked like it would be the vitamin packed meal I was craving. I poked the knife into the poached egg to get an image of yolk spilling onto the salad.

What I found made my stomach turn. Only about two millimetres on the egg white was actually cooked. When I broke open the egg, egg white spilled onto the salad.

I moved the uncooked egg aside and checked the other egg. It was the same. You can still see some raw eggwhite in the water, but I managed to move most of it out of the salad. I decided to just eat the spinach and beetroot.

Water at the bottom of my salad

Water at the bottom of my salad

I took a mouthful of the spinach and beetroot salad. There was no flavour. The chopped spinach had obviously just been washed and was sitting in a significant amount of water, so the salad consisted of nothing more than raw beetroot, spinach and water. It was not in the least bit palatable. I decided to just eat the beetroot batons by themselves. They were fine, boring and without dressing or flavour but fine.

I then noticed the thinly sliced smoked salmon under the watery liquid in the bottom of the bowl. I mistakenly thought this might improve the flavour of the salad. It did not. It was waterlogged like eating a cold spinach and salmon soup.

I went back to eating the beetroot batons.

Tigerbakers BLAT

Tigerbakers BLAT

Anais fared much better than I did. She had ordered a simple BLAT. Her meal arrived on a massive bread roll with lovely layers of filling.

She ate happily for a while and I was relieved to know that I would an alternative to my salad, as there was no way she would finish the dish.

When I tried her meal I was surprised. Whilst there was nothing really wrong with it, there was nothing nice about it either. The Aioli was completely devoid of flavour and once again the lettuce had been washed to within an inch of it’s life, and then not dried at all. The tomato was hard and unripe and the bread was disproportionate in size to the filling contents and flavour.

So I guess my warning is don’t judge a book by its cover. Tigerbakers Bar and Café may look pretty but read the reviews on Urbanspoon.

Tigerbakers Decor

Tigerbakers Decor

So why did I decide to write a negative review when my policy has always been to ignore the bad meals we experience.? I noticed Tigerbakeres had only been reviewed by 2 foodbloggers. This is a VERY low number for a Sydney venue! I realised why the anomaly had occurred after our disappointing meal. Other food bloggers, like me don’t like to write negative reviews, so we tend to ignore the terrible cafes and restaurants in favour of praising the stars!

Consequently it is very easy for an unsuspecting customer to fall foul to substandard dining experiences. Beware the Tigerbakers.

Tigerbakers on Urbanspoon

Tigerbakers Cafe & Bar

294 Victoria St
Darlinghurst NSW 2010

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About Julie


  1. I, like you, Julie, tend to ignore the bad ones – but I do usually try to say something when buying the bill, but regretfully didn’t a couple of weeks ago – the meal was OK if a little boring (certainly not blog worthy), but the coffee was so bad I couldn’t drink it and that what really annoyed me that I hadn’t complained about the coffee at the time – especially as I have heard since that others have found the coffee very average!

    • I always have a feeling that I want to do no harm with my writing so I only find great places to write about. Today I realised that my “no harm” policy hurt consumers. Especially after reading other experiences.

  2. Hi Julie, here in the states we use “yelp” to see what other’s think of restaurants, but I myself never write anything. My husband and I will never go back, not even a second time.

  3. Like you I rarely write bad reviews (only one in two years of blogging) but every now and then you just gotta do it.

  4. Thanks for sharing Julie. I think it’s important to share both good and bad experiences – reviews don’t always have to be good.

    Did you raise any of your issues with the venue? Perhaps you caught them on a ‘bad’ day or there was a new cook who was still learning. They may not know about any of your (and other customer) disappointments if they aren’t given feedback at the time.

    • I mentioned the coffee to the waitress, she said it had curdled because of the heat , not because the milk was bad. She was quite abrupt but swapped the coffee for me. I didn’t mention my meal because I felt a little taken back by her tone with regard to the obviously curdled coffee. It was very clear to see the uncooked egg whit on my plate also.

  5. So much respect for you speaking up. I am much the same when it comes to a negative review, dont normally bother, but … when it is crazy obvious that something is wrong, people should speak out, especially those that always use their voice for the positive. Wont be adding this one to the list. Hope you’ve had a wonderful weekend and enjoyed the summer. Gosh it was nice to take in some Vit D. Cheers, Anna

  6. I think not sharing bad reviews is like not publishing scientific studies that don’t have significant results – you get a really biased view of the state of play! I’m glad you did write this up and am sure many others will be grateful too. I also think bad reviews are different to rude reviews. You’re perfectly polite, just highlighting the rather awful food 🙂 What a shame!

  7. Hi there.

    Sitting here reading this and looking at your photographs, pre breakfast… and my stomach is turning. Your honest review is greatly appreciated, though given some of your comments, I am wondering if this place should perhaps be reported to the relevant health authority, too?

    My policy on bad experiences is as follows: “If I am particularly unhappy about a product or service, I will discuss the matter with the producer or provider, rather than publishing a scathing review.”

    I’m not sure if you spoke with the owners, or just the wait staff, but sometimes I think the owners need to be made aware too. Particularly when things are this bad.

    Peter and I don’t dine out that often these days, and when we do I don’t tend to write about it (as you know, my journal is about cooking rather than dining experiences), unless I’m interviewing the chef… Besides, I’d much rather cook myself a beautiful breakfast at home, than fork out good money for a bad meal, particularly one as bad as this looks and sounds.

  8. Well looks like you’ve done a PS (public service) message for those in your area, Julie….The photo of Anais sipping her orange juice is adorable…That’s a good thing, too, yes? =)

  9. I publish all my experiences, not just the highlights. I think as long as you’re fair in your comments and observations then there can’t be any problem in letting others know what you thought of a particular venue. There is no way I would eat that salad; I can’t stand greens that haven’t been spun to remove the liquid and an egg that isn’t properly cooked is terrible. Definitely that bun was too big for the amount of filling and at this time of year, there’s no excuse for not using a ripe tomato xx

  10. Looks like an amazing restaurant!
    Melanie @ meandmr.com

  11. Not a great experience at all but you were still being so thoughtful. The picture of the raw egg white is freaking me out. I think you did the right thing by sharing this.

  12. Oh Julie everything looks so niceee!!!
    LOL !!
    I understand is a place not to be ! And you are very brave to write a negative article ! Normally when I don’t have a good meal I don’t write about it ! But you are right, there is so many place that because they are beautiful give the awful food …it’s an scandal! Well done girls 😉
    Ps: If once I gone to Australia I know where I will not go ! Thanks Julie 🙂

  13. I hate it when I have a bad experience at a new place but there is simply no excuse to not being able to provide simple but good food. There’s nothing overly complicated about these dishes so it just looks like they can’t make good food, simple as that.
    I’d normally give a place 2 tries. Just in case they’re having a bad day or had the main chef replaced by a less experienced trainee. If the service (or coffee at the very least) is decent, I’d give them another try, most times anyway 🙂

  14. Oh wow, that’s a completely disappointing experience!

    I think it’s true what you say about most bloggers not wanting to waste their time writing a review about a bad place, when there’s so many good places to write about! It’s important to share these experiences though I think.

  15. Tigerbakers has been in business for over 12 years and in that time has served thousands of happy customers. Most of the reviews on the net as a whole are positive. Thanks for making tigerbakers an exception to your rule of not writing bad reviews you certainly went out of your way with this one; nothing seemed right. The cafe has the rating it has because people have obviously disagreed with your one sided viewpoint. Looking through the reviews I have to disagree with your statement the majority of comments were overwhelmingly negative there are plenty of positive statements if you only care to look. However you have your opinion and see what you want to see which you are entitled to do. Tigerbakers is one of the busiest cafes in Darlinghurst and is obviously filled by people who haven’t got your knowledge of food and are unaware how bad the food really is! Having read your review I looked at your blog and found it very boring middle class, vanilla and predictable and just as pretentious as I expected it to be.

    • Thank you for your comments Peter.
      Your thoughts have been noted. I am sure your opinion of your cafe and my blog will help readers in their dining decisions. I write my reviews based on how I find the cafe or restaurant on the day, and what is served to me. My reviews are for my readers and as such I must be honest.

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