Silk Road has long been a haunt for London's young bargain-hunting gourmands. Presumably its remoteness adds to the appeal. The closest tube station is Elephant and Castle, but look at a tube map. There's a vast no-mans-land the size of Utah south of E&C. Nightmare.
I held a farewell leaving do here a year ago, and detected a glimmer of recognition in the manager's eye. It's obvious that he was deeply traumatised by cramming 60 twenty-somethings into the front room on a Friday night, because he now has a topknot.
Silk Road serves the culinary offering of Xinjiang province, in China's far west that borders the 'stans. Ten years ago, I paid a visit to the area, riding furry camels and taking overnight trains through the Taklamakan desert to Kashgar and Urumqi. It was magical, but the food didn't make an impression on me at all.
My companion (the Mouse) and I kicked off with standard-issue pork and leek dumplings, and a cucumber salad. Bitty lamb skewers arrived with alarming speed, followed by the superbly-named Pork and Fungus.
I have no idea what this frilly fungus was, but needed to pin each and every piece between my teeth, and suck them until each one disintegrated.
A round of fish skewers stole the show. Red snapper dusted with salt, cumin, and chilli, grilled over charcoal.
The spice mix coats the inside of your mouth, like a breath of spicy coach exhaust. They look as though they've been dropped in a bucket of savoury brick dust.
Our final set piece was Middle Chicken, a giant trough of fat parpardelle-like noodles in a spicy broth, with potatoes and chicken. The noodles have a great chewy bite to them, and slurping up that tingly broth is a absolute pleasure.