Silk Road | Camberwell

I'm always amazed that I can afford to eat out these days, when I first started working and living in London I barely had two pound coins to rub together, let alone enough to go out for a meal. But as I've got older and wiser and my career has progressed, my lifestyle has improved to. I'll always be grateful for that, remembering how utterly crap I felt and how skint I actually was that first year. ANYWAY I actually ate out twice last weekend, once at Bodean's on Friday as mentioned previously, and the other at Silk Road on Saturday with some friends. 

Silk Road is a small Chinese restaurant on the Camberwell Church Road, specialising in cuisine of the Xinjiang region. You won't find prawn crackers and spring rolls here my friends. There's nothing remarkable about the restaurant itself and if you didn't know, you'd walk straight passed it, aside from any evening during the week and on weekends when it's few tables are reserved and being turned round one after the other. In fact the first time we went to Silk Road was coincidentally on the eve of the Chinese New Year - it was a wednesday by the way - the place was rammed. Saturday at 6pm - all we could get in for with a late Thursday that week booking - was just the same.

Every review you read about Silk Road will mention the aloof nature of the waiting staff, and it's true, they're not smiley-smiley, but that's probably because the place is busy. It's an informal affair so we got the beers in whilst we perused the menu. Having heard great things about the big plate chicken (£15) we decided to order fewer smaller dishes than last time and get the big plate. I guess now is a good time to mention how freakin' cheap Silk Road is; £2.50 for a bottle of beer, most sharing dishes range from around £4-£6 with the odd exception, meat, fish and tripe skewers start from £1 each and extra portions of rice and noodles around £2. Oh yeah and their noodles are homemade, thick and chewy ribbons sent from heaven. It's safe to say the quality of the food way outweighs the price, this place is a real gem.

This time we went for a bowl of rice each (and then two more later), and started with the garlic pak choi, then the homestyle cabbage (one of the most renowned dishes on their modest menu) some ox tripe skewers which I made a tactical swerve on, and then the big plate chicken dish which is a huge bowl of chicken broth, chicken on the bone, green peppers, chillis, potatoes and a serving of thick belt noodles placed in by the waiter. Quite the statement dish! I can safely say that every single last morsel was enjoyed by all of us, the flavours are just spot on.

Previously we've also had beef and onion dumplings (delicious), TEP noodles (divine) and other veggie dishes that I can't remember off the top of my head - all fantastic. I honestly think you'd be hard pushed to not enjoy anything on their menu. Granted, it's not extensive, like other chinese restaurants but I'm more than happy with that. There's enough choice to make you want to keep coming back, and to ensure the quality of the food that is served at Silk Road. 

Our meal, between four of us came to less than £15 each, consistent with how much we paid previously, and for how much we ate and how genuinely good the food is, a meal here is an absolute steal. 

If you're in or around the Camberwell area, or not but you still fancy a good meal, Silk Road comes highly recommended, even if you've got to travel Saaaffff of the river.

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