Silks, a fine dining Cantonese restaurant in Crown Casino, has to have one of the most impressive entry ways I have ever seen.
The photo below is taken looking back towards the entrance, which is a long room with a reception desk (to the right of the picture) and glass cases filled with artefacts.
Walking through the reception area, diners are escorted down a hallway, with a water feature on the right, and then a left turn is made, up a few steps and you enter the restaurant proper.
The main restaurant floor is split in two (there are also private dining rooms at either end of the restaurant), with the first area being more traditionally decorated and consisting of tables, a private dining tent and booths.
J and I were seated in one of the booths, and we could see over into the lower section, which, from what I could see, had little to no decor but is dominated by floor to ceiling windows overlooking the promenade and Yarra river.
Pretty plates and two sets of chopsticks were on our table.
J and I appreciated the staff allowing us to occupy our booth an hour earlier than our reservation time. We had been at the Australian Open tennis all day and when I made the booking I made it late as we did not know how long we would be at the tennis. However, the day’s play finished quite early and after a beverage and freshening up at the apartment where my mum was staying, we wandered over to Crown.
Silks is located on the first floor directly opposite the Mahogany room, make sure you go in the correct door! We politely told the staff we had a booking but were extremely early but it would it be possible to be seated. This was not a problem at all, and we were soon comfortable in our booth with a bottle of Moet Rose in front of us.
A bowl of nuts were provided but I found them a bit too sweet, plus I did not want to fill up on snacks.
Silks has an extensive menu, and is not inexpensive. There are also three omnivore banquets to choose from and if you start adding up the cost of individual entree, main and desserts, a banquet can be better value. Plus, you don’t need to make any decisions, just let the food come out.
After deciding on the second banquet, we informed the waitress of dietary requirements and she quickly ran through the substitutes she would make for me where there was a seafood course.
The first course was Lobster “Sung Choi Bao” (finely diced lobster, water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, mushrooms and pine nuts in a crisp lettuce leaf). I had quail instead of lobster.
I only noticed the crimped lettuce edges while writing this post up!
Here is a shot of the private dining tent, there was no-one dining in it the evening we were there.
There was a bit of a mix up with the second course, the dumplings (selection of dim sum served in a steaming hot bamboo basket).
The waitress had said she would get the chef to do the chicken dumplings for me, but when the basket came out, one of the other staff members realised that the chicken dumplings also have prawns in them. There was a quick table side conference and I was asked if I ate pork, and after confirming that I do, J received the basket and I was told another basket would be prepared for me.
I am not 100% sure but I think this mix up (which the waitress was most apologetic about) meant we actually got a double serve of dumplings. The first basket had one prawn dumpling, two chicken and prawn versions, and one vegie one. I think we were supposed to have two each. Instead, J had three and I had the vegie one.
The second basket contained another two vegie dumplings and, happily for us, two shao long baos.
I was nice and shared with J.
The next course was crab corn soup for J, and chicken and corn soup for me.
I can’t really comment on the quality as this is not something I normally eat, but it seemed nice enough.
The much anticipated next course was Peking duck (crispy duck wrapped in a thin pancake with cucumber, spring onions and Silks special plum sauce), two pieces each, and served one at a time.
A damn fine rendition, with the ratio of each ingredient spot on. Normally, J and I would order an extra piece or two each of duck, because two is never enough, but at $11 per piece it wasn’t going to happen this night.
J’s next course was wok-fried king prawns with XO chilli sauce.
He was impressed by the size and quality of the prawns.
I had sweet and sour pork.
I am not really a fan of sweet and sour dishes, so this was OK, but nothing amazing. For all the dishes on the menu I think they could have served me something a little more interesting.
Our final savoury courses were sautéed diced beef tenderloin with bell peppers and chicken fried rice with egg, vegetables and spring onions.
This was one of the highlights of the evening, an excellent dish with melt in the mouth beef pieces and tasty vegetables.
Dessert was a classy version of the standard banana fritter and ice-cream.
While I can take or leave a banana fritter, the vanilla bean ice-cream was amazing and the single strawberry had incredible flavour (no generic no-flavour supermarket strawberries here).
A pot of jasmine tea rounded off the meal.
We had a few communication issues with the staff, but they were friendly, courteous and pleasant.
Silks is a great fine dining restaurant, but I think Flower Drum just tops it.