I was wandering around Solenad in Nuvali after watching Star Wars: The Force Awakens and was hungry for lunch, because the movie was that long. As I don’t go here often, I wanted to make sure that I sampled the local cuisine that isn’t available anywhere else.
So I stumbled upon this place called Harry’s Cafe de Wheels. It has that old-school mid 1900’s American diner look to it, and reminded me a lot of Bioshock and Fallout 4, which I coincidentally am also playing at this time.
Unfortunately, when I went inside nobody was wearing roller skates. Instead, I got treated to a classic old-school American diner look, the only thing missing is the cheesy old 50’s American music. From the look of it, it’s not the waiters who were on wheels, but the cafe itself. The kitchen area, which would have represented the cafe itself back in the World War 2 days, depicts some tires at the base, so it looks like Harry’s was originally a mobile cafe that moved around the place. I haven’t researched on it, but it’s an interesting concept you don’t see in America these days.
Well anyway, I went and ordered their house specialty, the “Tiger Pie.”
This is called the Tiger Pie. In particular, it’s the Tiger “Chili” Pie which has a spicier beef chili topping on top. A Tiger Pie is basically a savory pie topped with mashed potatoes, mashed peas and some ground chili beef on top. The regular Tiger Pie has a non-spicy ground beef, while the one in the picture has some spicy chili slathered on top.
You also have a choice of what pie to get. I opted for the Beef Pie here, but you can also get vegetable pie, seafood pie, chicken pie, and mushroom gravy pie.
In retrospect, the Beef Pie was a poor choice. What I love about this Tiger Pie is that the savory pie underneath has a wonderful crust. It’s soft, flaky and buttery, just like the kind you find in top class empanadas or apple pie. It’s very similar to the kind of pie crust we use at home when we bake pies, so color me impressed. It’s slightly crumbly, but doesn’t disintegrate immediately, is very tasty, has a wonderful texture, and is really just perfect.
However, the contents were not as impressive. There were huge beef chunks, which were not exactly soft. Not hard or inedible, but rubbery and basically not good quality beef and not particularly nice to eat. It was pure lean chunks though and not littered with lipids or fat, but wasn’t cooked very well and thus not so enjoyable. It was slathered in what seems to be a kind of gravy flour sauce, which was okay but not great. The nice surprise was that there was a single onion ring hidden with the beef, and it was all soggy and drenched, but I love onions with my beef. Their actual onion rings though are amazing. We’ll get to that shortly.
The mashed potato portion was a bit disappointing. It wasn’t a smooth creamy mashed potato, but instead had lots of big bits of potato stuck inside. It’s not well-pureed and felt like a rushed mashed potato job, or it could be they purposefully like bit potato bits. There wasn’t enough milk with the potatoes, so it was crumbly rather than smooth. Not bad, but not the best mashed potato in my book.
The mashed peas though were awesome and made up for it. It’s the goodness of green peas, but turned into a mush. I loved it. It was a nice texture that I was expecting the potatoes to have, but tastes great like peas do, and added a nice texture and color to the dish. It went well with everything on the pie.
And lastly the chili — it’s quite spicy. Mildly by my standards, I didn’t even need to reach for any more water than I usually drink, but those who are sensitive to heat will find it a little too much likely. The ground beef is excellently flavored and some beans are present as well, adding another fine chewy nugget into the beef mix. The overall mix is slightly sweetish but not overly so, and makes a great complement to the rest of the components. What makes this pie work though in my opinion is the pie crust, which is just amazing.
I also ordered their Onion Rings, which if done right is really one of my favorite dishes.
These are some really good Onion Rings. I recently praised the Onion Rings at 8Cuts Burger, which were good, but mostly great because of their spiced flavor and the value they represent (at 45 bucks). Harry’s Onion Rings are significantly better. The batter is just perfectly fried and has that sumptuous crunchy texture that I adore in deep-fried foods. It’s like classy tempura batter done perfectly. It has no other special flavor aside from some light peppery taste and the onions inside, but the sweet taste of the onions combined with the batter is perfect for me.
You can dip it with their included chili sauce dip or sour cream dip. The chili dip is the same sweet chili dip you’d get from UFC or Del Monte, and is forgettable and best not touched. Instead, opt for the sour cream dip which is something different, and the sour taste goes well with the sweetness of the Onion Rings. However if spicy sweet chili is your thing, go ahead and by all means.
Overall the dining experience was delicious. The Tiger Pie was sufficiently sinful and delicious. I wouldn’t call it perfect bliss, but the food here is very good and worth trying when you’re in the neighborhood. The next time I pass by I’ll try their desserts, that Dirty Dutch Mudpie shake is just so tempting.
Come visit Harry’s when you pass by Solenad.
Here is their full menu for your perusal: