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Silks does dim sum for lunch and Cantonese fine dining for dinner. You won’t find any boring fried squid tentacles or Mongolian lamb. However, avoid the satay chicken, lemon chicken, and equivalent dishes. These are simply included on the menu to placate casino-loving cubs (cashed up bogans) and foreign businessmen with corporate credit cards and no clue how to choose legit Cantonese food.
Fancy cutlery and double chopsticks
My very own Princess Diaries moment was staring at all the assorted cutlery and plates, which were already on the table when we arrived. There must be some grand plan! The waitress explained that the brown chopsticks were for sharing food (moving it from a communal dish to your own) and the cream ones were for eating food (which you already have on your plate).
Bamboo garden ($12); Golden Silks ($22)
I obviously ordered the cocktail with gold glitter. Let’s be serious, why wouldn’t I choose the signature drink if it has mango liqueur, lime juice, vodka, and a golden ball of ice? Smash the orb to prepare your drink: this is essentially the most expensive slushie you’ll ever taste.
My mum enjoyed her mocktail of sugar cane, lemon grass, and lime juice. A little more fancy than a roadside hawker stall in Malaysia…
Dismay was written all over my mum’s face until I assured her that not all the courses would be “so small”. The amuse bouche (like a teaser or taster before the meal) was a cube of incredibly creamy goose liver, rich in flavour and sprinkled with seaweed and palm sugar popping candy. Eeee popping candy in my dessert from Greenhouse was a surprise, but this was even more entertaining. My mum’s face was priceless, hehe.
Marinated cucumber ($15)
We munched on crunchy cucumber in Chinese aged vinegar. I like my simple home-made recipe better even though the Silks version is 10x more expensive. If you want to make your own cucumber, just add garlic + chilli + white vinegar + sugar + soy sauce to taste. Voilà!
Char siew ; crispy rice paper prawn roll; cabbage and egg roll
Return of the popping candy (that would be the worst horror movie title ever). The BBQ pork was otherwise fairly standard, with a not-too-sweet marinade on well-cooked tender meat.
A crunchy rice paper wrapper around the prawns made it a glammed up spring roll, paired with runny sweet and sour sauce. Not much to say about the pickly cabbage and egg roll, except that I enjoyed my first taste of real caviar which garnished the top.
Signature dim sum selection
I want to try Silks‘ lunch menu, where you can order upmarket dim sum like this plate of 3 dumplings ($25). Since Xintiandi shut down, I have wandered around Perth lost in my search for decent xiaolongbao (“little dragon buns”). The jazzed up pork and crab meat version at Silks was juicy and flavoursome, served with the traditional Chinese vinegar and ginger dipping sauce. Be super careful not to pop them or the delicious soupy insides will suffer the consequences.
I usually don’t care for scallop dumplings because they go rubbery and lukewarm in dimsum trolleys. The one at Silks was incredibly tender and perfectly prepared, complete with a slippery rice paper wrapper. A bursty prawn dumpling with hard little balls of fish roe was the perfect vessel for the house-made black bean chilli. Perhaps it’s worth paying 4x the usual price for dumplings like this…
Four treasures soup with abalone
Poking dubiously with my chopstick at the strange snot-green lump floating in my soup, realisation suddenly dawned on me. Abalone!! We munched into the unusual slightly spongy blob, feeling like true royalty. My mum loved it and wolfed hers down with crazy eyes. It turns out that my peasant tastebuds don’t appreciate this Asian delicacy, but I did love the prawns, fish, and tender squid in the rest of the soup. Mum happily polished off my abalone!
Wok baked lobster
Seafood joy continued with the ginger and scallion lobster. I love the taste of fresh seafood without the fuss. No need for foams, batters, or dipping sauces.
Braised pork belly with mantou
The standard char siew bao ain’t got nothing on this. A sweet fluffy mantou bun with a hollowed-out hole on the underside, how cute! We wedged in a pork belly cube with silky smooth fat and melt-in-your-mouth meat. I burnt my face in excitement as the steaming sauce dribbled out of the bun. Not deterred, I demolished the dish in two monster bites. Freaking delish.
Stir fried wagru beef with fried rice
Wagyu beef is top of the steak pyramid in my books. I normally go for medium-rare but this black pepper beef was incredibly tender and cooked all the way through! The slippery texture of black fungus was an interesting combo with the crispy puffed rice. I presume the stand-alone order ($88) would come with a larger serving. Surprisingly, the well-done steak at Silks beat the medium steak from my other freebie degustation at Fuku.
The Silks dessert was one of the best foods that I tasted at the Taste of Perth festival. We requested the mango crème to substitute the honey cake for the last course of our meal. The recipe had changed to include coconut and lime sorbet rather than sago, but the smooth crème, zesty lime strusel (crumble), and sweet compressed mango were just as delicious as before. If you’re popping into Silks for a drink and dessert (would anyone do that??), pick up this dream in a jar ($16).
Service was friendly and attentive, without intruding into conversation. I watched other tables just in case we were receiving preferntial treatment, but it seemed consistent. One thing that could be improved is for the staff to wait until everyone on the table has finished eating before clearing plates from the table (apparently this is a Western fine dining rule, so it makes sense to use it when adapting traditional Cantonese food to degustation-style dining).
Silks is not your average local Chinese restaurant: the chairs are thrones, the food is delicate and precise, the portions are petite, and the prices are steep. Bring your boss, bring your in-laws, or bring your partner on a special occasion. I might return for the dego when I’m a rich woman; but until then, I will save up for the $48 dim sum lunch menu!
Address: Crown Casino (next to Rockpool Bar & Grill), Great Eastern Hwy, Burswood
Phone Number: 1800 556 688
Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday: Lunch from 12pm and Dinner from 6pm