NE Restaurant Week Review – The Silk Room, Quayside

After my post earlier in the week saying I wasn’t going to get involved in #ne1restaurantweek I was tempted out of my self-imposed retirement by meat. I was reading through the offers and one stood out to me. I’d never eaten in The Silk Room, which is situated next door to Café 21, but had often examined their menu when walking past. There was something in both the starters & mains offered that appealed, so I asked my foodie friend Laura if she wanted to accompany me.
It was problematic getting there due to an issue with Jnr, and Laura entertained herself with a glass of Champagne while she waited. I dislike being late as I get stressed, but everyone seemed ok about the delay. The restaurant was quiet to begin with anyway, but it was still early evening.
Once I’d calmed down I was quick to give my choices for food, as was Laura. She said the house red was amazing- a Chilean Merlot- but I was sticking to the soft stuff. The starters arrived very quickly: Laura had her favourite- chicken liver pâté- and I had carrot & coriander soup.
Laura was happy there was a decent toast:pâté ratio and it was beautifully presented. I was slightly underwhelmed with my soup, by contrast. There was a wedge of what looked like a bun my work canteen makes sandwiches from tucked under the bowl rim, as if it was embarrassed to be seen. I was tempted to order the soup by the promise of parsnip crisps, but what garnished my bowl was not crispy or parsnippy. I am a soup aficionado, and while people may say it is a boring option to start with I think it can show the flair of a restaurant. I’ve eaten veloute at JDH and the Burj al Arab, and they were neither boring nor tasteless. They also came with lovely fresh bread and interestingly flavoured butters, like seaweed. The Silk Room kitchen needs to work on that, for sure! The soup itself was fine, it just needed a little more *wow*.
All the food was served quite quickly, although the restaurant was busy by this point. Laura and I do tend to talk a lot, which can delay us finishing our meals. Laura chose chicken for her main, while I was looking forward to a nice steak. I was told my minute steak could only be cooked rare or well done, which worried me. I’m not a fan of really pink meat, but this- when it arrived- was good enough for me. We also ordered a side of onion rings, which Laura was grateful for as her main course was bereft of carbs.
She felt a bit cheated by this and I can understand why. My complaint was that while my chips were piping hot the steak was on the cold side. I appreciate a rare steak may not spend as long in the pan, but a warm plate might have helped retain some heat. I didn’t want to leave it to get colder while waiting for the chips to be edible so I ate it, but I like to eat a little bit of everything with each fork full. I’m also not going to suggest they serve their steak on a wooden board to help, as I’m not a big fan of presentation like that!
Although the Restaurant Week special only covered starters and mains we decided to order desserts regardless. Laura had a chocolate brownie and I ordered my favourite- Creme brûlée. I have raved about the brulee I previously had at Jesmond Dene House, but this was better. I could have eaten a bucket full! The addition of Amaretti biscuits was a nice touch, although I couldn’t manage all 3. We definitely had no complaints with the puds 🙂
As we were paying we were given a shot of Amaretto to finish the meal, which was a nice touch. Tip: pop some Amaretto in a glass of milk. It tastes deliciously like Battenburg cake, in my opinion. All together, with wine and Champagne, the meal cost us £80 plus tip. This was on the expensive side, but we’ll attribute that to Laura’s tipples. I have always questioned whether Restaurant Week was merely a ruse to get you to spend more, and maybe there is some truth in that. The sides and other bits are the unseen factors when you are lured in by the promise of  ‘2 courses for £15’.
The Silk Room showed promise to me, regardless of the quibbles. It is beautifully decorated, and the service was faultless. I’d be keen to return again to see if Him Indoors thinks their minute steaks are similar to those he had in Brazil. Another restaurant to add to my list.
Thanks for reading,
Pip x

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