Red Silks is the kind of place I’ve walked past a thousand times as I’ve ambled my lanky sack of limbs up and down the Bourke Street thoroughfare. Up an easily-missed escalator and drowned out by the clamour of the city, Red Silks never really registered with more than a blip of recognition on my constantly-roving food radar. And that’s a bit of a shame, because the honest, flavourful food is worth stopping in for.
Mixed Vegetables with Mushroom and Bean Curd
After deciding that a three-hour wait for a table at Chin Chin was about as desirable as a kick in the eye, we opted to sit outside at Red Silks’ upstairs balcony to take in the balmy Summer air. The staff were accommodating and prompt, making sure to grab our drink orders before we’d been seated too long. I tried to play it cool with a Lychee Martini and my fellow Skinny Glutton went with the classic punch of the Long Island Ice Tea. Neither of the cocktails tasted like they had much alcohol actually in them but they were crisp and refreshing – which is a bit shit but if you’re coming here specifically for cocktails you’re probably barking up the wrong tree in the first place.
Lychee Martini – possible virgin alert
Note to self – martini is not a moustache
The mixed vegetables with mushroom and bean curd were authentically flavoured, with a rich saltiness and the buttery slipperiness of the highly-coveted mushrooms. I admit it, I’m a freak for a delicious mushroom wrapped in the chewy embrace of the bean curd.
The braised beef brisket in the claypot was a decadent textural delight. Bold chunks of ginger gave the dish surprising pockets of intense impact flavour, and the meat itself was soft, rich and a hair’s breadth away from melt-in-your-mouth perfection. Not quite there, but pretty damn decent.
Overall, Red Silks is a more than viable option if you’re looking for something quality and dependable. Although it lacks the creative flair and subtlety of Melbourne’s current crop of tall poppies, it’s the kind of restaurant that makes this one of the best cities for food in the world – if it’s a nice night out I highly suggest you stop in, but you’ll never come away raving.