"Top Chef" season one finalist Tiffani Faison opened her long-awaited Southeast Asian spot just steps from her four-year-old barbecue joint, Sweet Cheeks, in Fenway, last month. She named it Tiger Mama, and it looks like if Rainforest Cafe and Indochine got together for a party of small plates.
A lush living wall lends fresh herbs for the kitchen, a large-scale mirror-encrusted elephant and two tiki bars transport you to the tropics. This is a good thing, though. Every vibrant inch is begging to be Instagrammed, including the food, which is playfully plated and as bold as its surroundings.
A standout dish is the Chili Jam Clams, Faison's rendition of hoi lay nahm prik pao, a shellfish stir-fry with a sticky-spicy-sweet sauce made with red curry and plenty of Thai basil. She serves hers — sticky, spicy and sweet as ever — with a piece of thick, dense Japanese milk bread, made in-house, lightly toasted until crisp and soaked through in a saccharine spread that Faison refuses to share the secret to, though she acknowledges that it's "super addictive." Guess we'll be coming back. A lot.
Chili Jam Clams are $13 at Tiger Mama, 1363 Boylston St., Boston.