Could anyone not be intrigued to visit a restaurant in the former courthouse where Oscar Wilde took the Marquess of Queensbury to court on a criminal libel charge, and where Charles Dickens once worked as a court reporter?
Courthouse Hotel, Soho: l-r, exterior, original cell gates leading to bar, former prisoners’ cells (now toilets)
Silk – serving Asian fusion food – looked a bit hit and miss, from the mixed reviews it gets online. What really appealed to me was the history: that in this court room, trials were held involving Oscar Wilde, Mick Jagger and Johnny Rotten.
On arrival at the Courthouse Hotel, a bloke – half naked in Roman skirts costume – ran passed us. That wasn’t really the historical scene I’d been expecting! But as the cheerful receptionist explained – there was a Hercules event on in the hotel that evening. We briefly pretended to be attending said Roman fancy dress event but after thoroughly confusing the receptionist, we proceeded (chuckling) to Silk, as booked.
Oak-panelled former courtroom
The wooden door to the former court room was closed. On opening, another cheerful waiter told us that this was the second oldest court room in England, pointing out the small restaurant’s special features including the glass ceiling window and an old silk route painting on the wall.
We ordered a bottle of South African Chenin Blanc white wine @ £23.50 (crisp and dry) and sat back for a leisurely read of the menu.
Lal Maans starter – seared beef
Pho Pia Je starter – Thai style veggie spring rolls
For starters I had lal maans – beef slices seared with red chilli and Thai spices @ £8.95 (the beef was really tender, and the spices made it dance) while L had Poh Pia Je – Thai style vegetable spring rolls @ £6.95 (really thin, almost pancake-like pastry, packed with crisp veggies).
Pla Yang Krachai – swordfish steak
Hakka Noodles – with crispy chilli tofu
For main course I had Pla Yang Krachai – swordfish steak marinated with Thai spices and krachai ginger @ £16.50 (a juicy, flaky fillet with blackened spiced top) with pulao rice @ £3.50 (packed full of flavours: cumin, cloves, and prawn – probably the best pulao I’ve had) and L had Hakka Noodles – Singapore noodles topped with crispy chilli garlic tofu @ £13.95, and a shared side of Phad Boong Fai Deng – stir fried pak choi with black bean sauce @ £3.50.
The only slight mix up happened when we were asked if we’d like to order desserts. We were full so no, we didn’t want desserts but – as we were enjoying ourselves – we ordered two after-dinner liquers: amaretto. Well after such a lovely meal, why not rest a little longer and digest our food? So we were quite surprised when two small ice-creams were placed in front of us (two complimentary taster portions of ice-cream it seemed?) – very rich and creamy; not very icey and certainly not something I could have eaten much of.
A short while after after that, the bill arrived but no amaretto liquer. It turned out we’d eaten our amaretto in ice-cream form, by mistake. It was too late to return them by this point so we could only laugh. Our total bill for two came to £71.18 (with a 2-for-1 Tastecard discount and including service) – very reasonable even without the Tastecard discount, for this standard of food and service.
The food at Silk was simply stunning; service was cheerful, attentive and informative (both in terms of the menu and the room’s history) and overall, a great experience.
~ Lardbutty rating: 4.5 / 5
~ Type: Asian, fusion
~ Address: 19-21 Great Marlborough Street, London
~ Postcode: W1F 7HL
~ Tel: 020 7297 5555
~ Nearest station: Oxford Circus, Piccadilly Circus
~ Website: Silk website
~ Sample menu: Silk sample menu
~ Photos on flickr: images of Silk restaurant at the Courthouse Hotel
~ Location: Silk map
More Soho dining:
~ Andrew Edmunds
~ Bistro1 – Mediterranean/Turkish food on Frith Street
~ Cây Tre – Vietnamese restaurant on Dean Street
~ Shoryu Ramen – Japanese noodles
~ Wagamama Soho
Filed under: Asian fusion, International, LardButty food / restaurant reviews | Tagged: 020 7297 5555, 4.5 / 5, 4.5/5, Asian, Asian fusion, Courthouse Hotel, Great Marlborough Street, Lardbutty, Lardbutty index, London, London food, Michelin, Michelin star, Michelin star restaurant, Oscar Wilde's trial, Oxford Circus, Piccadilly Circus, Silk, Soho, W1F 7HL | Leave a comment »