The Place Located in Amara Singapore in Tanjong Pagar, Silk Road has been a Chinese restaurant which earned its reputation over the years for its authentic provincial cuisine inspired by the ancient Silk Road. Its location attracts a strong business crowd on weekdays as evident from one of my lunch visit during my good old working days in Tanjong Pagar, and it is not hard to understand why. The ambience of the restaurant is not overly casual, yet it is formal enough to impress your audience.
The Food During our latest visit last month, we tried some of the new dishes by one of the new chef, Chef Jack Huang, who is from Inner Mongolia with a strong penchant for making noodles. One of the starter dish, the Pan-fried Shanxi Dumpling (S$14) was fried to a nice golden texture while retaining the juicy bits. If you notice the dumplings carefully, there are open edges which allow the pork broth to flow out during the pan-fried process, giving the dumpling skin that extra flavour touches. This was so good.
Comparatively, the Fish Paste Dumpling (S$12) is another unique flavour I have come across lately. The dumpling was made from scratch with fresh carrot extract, while the fillings contained fresh fish meat, ginger and pepper. Don’t be deceived by its plain appearance.
For noodles, each noodle I tried has its strong characteristics, kudos to the chef for creating distinct flavours in every noodle. The Knife-shaved Noodle with Braised Pork Belly (S$10) is unique in the shape of its noodle – think thin edges with a thick midsection in the shape like a willow leaf. I love the pork belly, which was braised with Sichuan chilli paste for over two hours, which was perfect with the silky noodles.
The Chilled Noodle with Sichuan Pepper Sauce (S$8) is also one of my favourites. This is typically served during the warm months in Sichuan to compliment the weather, which contained minced pork belly pan-fried with spices and herbs, along with peanut and cashew nut paste with black vinegar, Sichuan pepper oil and sesame oil.
The Xian Spicy Noodle (S$8) was once the favourite of ancient traders along the Silk Road, characterised by its wide, thick and flat noodle texture. Similar to the Chilled Noodle, it is also served with freshly minced pork belly pan-fried with Sichuan chilli paste and peppercorn in a slow fire for over 20 minutes.
If you love your beef with noodles yet with a touch of Sichuan element, you will probably enjoy the Homemade Noodle with Special Braised Beef (S$12), which is also auspiciously coined the longevity noodles in Shanxi province. The tender beef brisket was the highlight for me, which was braised with herbs and spices to enrich its flavours. My take on all the noodles I tried is that the flavours are on point, with a nice and balanced Si Chuan flavour without coming across as overbearing to the palate.
Other than the new dishes created by Chef Jack which we last heard are only available till the end of May, we couldn’t leave Silk Road without trying some of its classic dishes over the years. The Chilled Chicken in Spicy Bean Sauce (S$11) was wiped off the plate within minutes. There is something addictive about tender white chicken soaked in spicy Si Chuan sauce, it was a comforting and familiar feeling which I attribute to our Asian roots.
The Deep-fried chicken with capsicum and Sichuan Chilli (S$20) was like an addictive plate of popcorn chicken in my memory. It wasn’t very spicy, but those small bites of crispy chicken will make a perfect bar bite anytime.
The Traditional Mapo Tofu (S$16) was very spicy, not for the faint-hearted for sure. The silky smooth Tofu was tasty and went well with the white rice without a doubt, though I wished that I have a higher threshold for spiciness to fully enjoy this dish better.
Another surprisingly good dish we had was the Deep-fried Prawn with wasabi and crispy potato (S$28). The wasabi element was just right, and who can resist those crispy strands of potato?
Rants There were a couple of really good items, but are unfortunately seasonal and not permanent items on the menu. That’s a pity.
Will I Return Again? We were not impressed during our last visit to Silk Road where we tried the Chinese New Year dishes as most of the dishes lacked character and wasn’t distinctive, but this time round we left feeling very satisfied. The new dishes have a strong affiliation to the ancient Silk Road inspiration this time round, while the classic dishes like the Mapo Tofu and Chilled Chicken we tried were on point. You need to pay it a visit at least once.
This was an invited tasting, though all opinions expressed are our own.
Taste bud: 4/5
Hole in the pocket: 3.5/5
Overall Experience: 4/5
Silk Road Restaurant
165 Tanjong Pagar Road
Level 2 Amara Singapore, Amara hotel
Tel: +65 6227 3848
Daily: 11.30am to 3pm; 6pm to 10.30pm
Ranted by The Ranter