Tiger beat

Brace yourself for the confusion that’s about to ensue. Soon, Asheville will be home to Tiger Mountain, the downtown bar frequented by the hipster set, and Tiger Bay Café, the restaurant taking shape behind BattleCat Coffee bar in West Asheville.

Here are two crucial differences: Tiger Mountain refers to a Brian Eno album; Tiger Bay is a district in Georgetown, Guyana, on the edge of the Caribbean Sea. 

More importantly, where Tiger Mountain is drinks only, Tiger Bay promises to deliver slow-cooked meats in American, South American and West Indian stylings (along with curries for the vegan set).

The newly minted restaurant owners are taking over Hank’s BBQ, which has occupied that space since 2012. They’ll change the name but keep the smoked pork and chicken while adding to the menu.

“I didn’t want to throw out the community that’s already coming to get Hank’s food,” says co-owner Philip Singh. “That’s why we’re keeping the [barbecue] menu.”

Singh grew up in Asheville, but his father was raised in Georgetown, and his mother is Ecuadorian. He wants to combine the West Indian-style fare of coastal Guyana with the South American eats of Ecuador.

Accordingly, Tiger Bay will have a “Third World café” feel, Singh says. “Asheville needs it and I think will definitely appreciate it.”

The eatery is accessible through BattleCat and through a separate rear entrance. As the concept transitions from Hank’s to Tiger Bay, the kitchen will remain open. In fact, some West Indian specials are already on the menu. At the end of the month, the new owners will celebrate the transition with barbecued goat in the front yard of BattleCat.

Singh’s cousin, Tara Singh, provides the West Indian recipes, which are vegan in their basic form. Omnivorous customers have the option to top the curry with smoked pork or chicken from the barbecue menu (the meats are also available as plates or sandwiches).

Co-owner (and DJ) Oscar Santana focuses on the South American fare. A recent special featured roast pork, rice, beans, beet salad and llapingachos, stuffed potato pancakes from Ecuador.

The café will serve breakfast and lunch, as Hank’s did, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Late night hours will begin soon, Singh says, with service from 10 p.m. until 3 a.m.

Tiger Bay doesn’t have a Web presence yet, but you can visit the café at 373 Haywood Road behind BattleCat. For a taste of the smoked goat, check out the grand opening festivities on Saturday, Sept. 28.


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