Silk Road

March 14, 2010

Home Style Aubergine

We deserve more decent restaurants in South East London. I’m forever wanging on about the regions nether of river but there’s only so often one can shout about the same places. We needed fresh blood and Silk Road is it.

The interior has a distinct lack of frills. As we bundled from the cosy bosom of a nearby pub into the freezing night air it was all of ten paces to Silk Road but once inside, you could’ve fooled us we were still out. Bums hit rock hard benches and coats stayed on to protect from the icy blast accompanying each new customer through the door.

Our cold starters did nothing in the way of warming us up but it didn’t matter, they were delicious and supplemented with beer. Kelp was slippery with chilli-garlic oil. Tripe, which came doused in the same, was soft, chewy and cut to just the right thickness. I find eating tripe a little like playing Russian roulette – every so often you find yourself dealing with a piece that tastes musty; it hums faintly of what it contained. This happens infrequently enough that I keep eating and enjoying it, but I’m constantly living in fear of that next farmyard hit. I would have liked a bit more chilli from both dishes but only afterwards noticed the pot of extra chilli oil nestled amongst other condiments.

Dumplings were satisfying as ever; not the prettiest of their kind but the two varieties were well skinned and packed full of rich minced beef and pork and spring onions. They were certainly nothing special but whet my appetite for the hot dishes to follow.

Home style aubergine was brilliant, not least because it wasn’t what I expected. The pieces were peeled and cooked such that they retained a fresh juicy burst alongside their characteristic silkiness. As much as I love my aubergines bathed in liberal quantities of oil, there was a freshness to this dish which made for a welcome variation.

Lamb skewers came skinny, salty and cumin doused; flash grilled and steamy. Sadly while the meat on mine was hot, the eagerly anticipated fat was not and the glistening globs wobbled swiftly to the side of my plate. My fellow diners happily chomped down superior crisp, sizzling nuggets.

Middle plate chicken was actually rather on the large side. Beneath anise-scented broth bobbed tender pieces of bone-in chicken, soft potato sponges and shreds of kelp. Once fished clear by a mesh of eager chopsticks the waitress arrived with a plate of slinky, wide ‘belt noodles’ which were slipped into the pot, shortly followed by another batch. Tricky little customers, it was a delightful game trying to fish one out without flinging sauce in your neighbour’s eye.

The only real failure was a shredded pork and kelp dish which I can’t really remember much about but it didn’t matter. Although at first I was the only one to claim I wasn’t full, it took all of a few minutes for my brain to kick in and tell my stomach to stop whining. Together with a few beers each the whole meal came to a puny £13 a head. For that money, I can forgive the odd bum dish. And really, one out of six ain’t bad. It’s the kind of local restaurant that I know will serve me well. Not really a place to linger but nigh on perfect for a fun bite with friends.

Nothing sates like good food at bargain prices; we giggled with glee and coughed up our dosh with garlic baited breath and the tingle of chilli on our lips, stumbling off towards the glow of the pub once more.

Silk Road
49 Camberwell Church Street
020 7703 4832

Silk Road on Urbanspoon

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  • Avatar
    Reply Lizzie March 14, 2010 at 8:36 pm

    It’s a brilliant find! I loved that aubergine so much.

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    Reply Chris March 14, 2010 at 8:49 pm

    Brilliant place this. And a laughably cheap bill. What’s not to like? Oh, except from the weird dark room at the back. That’s a bit scary.

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    Reply ginandcrumpets March 15, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    Lovely meal, and as ever it cost less than £15. I can’t understand how it’s always that cheap. Agree the pork was a bit of a misfire, but I think it was just out of place with all the other dishes we’d ordered. It didn’t really fit in and maybe needed rice. Looking forward to my next visit.

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    Reply Gourmet Chick March 15, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    £13 is an absolute bargain for that amount of food and beer. Great find.

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    Reply shanmugam March 15, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    Admirable prices . What a miracle? My mind never agree with the price.. But this is really a great services to the food lover.

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    Reply Jonathan March 15, 2010 at 5:39 pm

    You mean to say you’ve actually played Russian roulette?! Wow. My admiration for you has sky rocketed into the stratosphere! Great analogy.

    I love the splat of oil and juice around the serving bowl. If I was involved I would have been covered in juice.

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    Reply shayma March 15, 2010 at 7:33 pm

    that is such an amazing bargain. hard to come by places like that in London. a ha, so i see you and Ms Hollow Legs both got to taste this amzing food! a beautiful write-up, helen, with lots of beautiful imagery. but that is always the case with your writing. x shayma

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    Reply rosie lovell March 15, 2010 at 11:49 pm

    this looks delish! can’t wait til move and get stuck in- particularly love lamb skewers – have you been to gourmet san? xx

  • Avatar
    Reply Helen March 16, 2010 at 8:52 pm

    Lizzie – Me too! It was a revelation.

    Chris – Ah yes. There was the bit with the huge dip in the carpet in pitch black darkness.

    ginandcrumpets – it just doesn’t make any sense. I’ve thought about it but it hurt my brain so I stopped. I mean, how do they survive?

    Gourmet Chick – It is. You must go – although it’s quite a journey for you?

    shanmugam – it’s almost unbelievable isn’t it? I promise that is all we paid.

    Jonathan – Oh yeah, all the time. It’s a wonder I’m still alive.

    Shayma – They are hard to find but certainly out there! It is typically this sort of food that does well in the price wars. You will often find that Lizzie and I have eaten together…x

    Rosie Lovell – And Peckham can’t wait to have you! I have yet to visit Gourmet San which is an absolute crime. Have you? x

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    Reply gastrogeek March 17, 2010 at 10:37 am

    this sounds like my kind of place, worth making a trip down south for, even. Love your descriptions, particularly of the russian roulette tripe – spot on!

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    Reply James March 18, 2010 at 5:44 am

    Need to find somewhere like this in Cheltenham….. £13?

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    Reply Julia March 19, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    speaking about good camberwell eats – have you tried FM Mangal on Camberwell Church? Absolutely amazing….they grill their bread over the lamp shish sticks….which then turns the flatbread into succulent, juicy bits that melt in your mouth. plus – they offer you apple tea & turkish delight and the staff is one of the sweetest i’ve ever seen!

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    Reply Helen March 20, 2010 at 4:03 pm

    gastrogeek – Thanks. Come down and we’ll go. I promise you won’t turn into a pumpkin at midnight.

    James – You’ve got no chance mate 😉

    Julia – No I haven’t but it’s a crime on my part to be honest. It’s only round the corner and I drool every time I see pictures of the food!

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    Reply Niamh March 21, 2010 at 5:09 pm

    I’ve been hearing so much about this place! Must check it out, if only for that lamb. I dined at Chilli Cool again this week, I just love it there, but I really should expand my spicy horizons 🙂

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    Reply Whoopie Kizzy June 4, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    I go to this restaurant at least once a week. And each time it is as delightful as the last. I totally recommend double cooked pork, pak choi and lamb with spring onion. Oh and I have booked for tonight. All 7 of us!!

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    Reply Steve Plumber September 10, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    I went to the Silk Road last week with my husband and it was one of the best places I’ve visited. The service and food was amazing and I especially loved the Lamb skewers. 10/10

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