SquareMeal Review of
Silk Road Camberwell
Cheap and cheerful, with lots of communal tables for sharing and socialising, this Chinese canteen’s geographical and gastronomic marker is Xinjiang – the vast north-west frontier province, once traversed by the ancient Silk Road trade route linking China and the Middle East. The food here is highly distinctive, with lots of Muslim, Mongol and central Asian influences allied to exotic spices and a liking for chilli – witness the unceremoniously titled ‘big plate chicken’, tripe and kidney shish kebabs or boiled lamb on the bone (‘use of hands recommended’, says the menu). Intriguing flavours and textures abound, from appetisers of cabbage with vinegar or ‘extra hot’ Chinese leaves to stir-fried pork with curly black fungus or hand-pulled noodles with assorted embellishments. The menu also extends to a decent selection of dumplings (pork and celery, lamb and onion, egg, leek and shrimp, for example), plus various tangy salads and nourishing broths. To drink, we’d suggest Chinese herb tea or a couple of bottles of Tsing Tao beer. Note: cash only.