Today I was invited to “Silk”, a new lounge that is like nothing you have ever seen. Four and half years in the making, and all that time was well spent, considering the reaction of those in attendance tonight. A collection of hand picked elements came together to transport you into an exotic fairytale. Fresh blooms perfuming the air, buddha head statues adding mystic, crystalized embellishments for a bit of glam, and bevy of colourful textiles and purple highlights to bring it all together. Even the rivets keeping the booth seats together were purposefully patterned, together they spelled out “S-I-L-K” all around the room. This was the level of detail that we were able to appreciate. But don’t just take my word for it. Here the saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words” is absolutely true.
I definitely spent more time photographing the scene and myself within, as apposed to eating or drinking. And no doubt you would do the same if you visit. In fact, I want to come back during the day to literally capture the decor in a whole new light.
Here there is no “bad” seat. The dining areas is sectioned off-ed with string curtains and differing design elements to create visual interest. This ensures everyone is able to be engulfed in this wonderland of colours and patterns.
Even the washrooms were heavily decorated. The hall leading to it was lined with candles, fresh flowers bobbing in pools of water, and lights softened by coloured fabric. Within each individual washroom was a rainbow chandelier crafted from gems in every colour, the result: a multi-coloured rain casting over you as you did your business, in one of the cleanest restaurant washrooms that I have every visited. An important fact considering that they are a lounge with an expansive bar.
We grabbed one of the floor-level tables, towards the back of the restaurant. Removing our shoes, we would sit cross legged on flattened, embroidered cushions for the remainder of the night. From here we were served a collection of their appetizers, a handful of their entrees to share, ending on desserts.
“Silk” offers French style cooking prepared with spices and seasonings familiar in Indian cuisine. They pride themselves on preparing everything from scratch, in house. Like all the cheeses for their savouries and all the chocolate in their desserts. This is done from farm to table, with all their ingredients organically and locally sourced within BC, if/when the season permits. A point of pride and something necessary for creating good food when you are Gary (the owner), and have grown up working on farms for over 20 years. Utilizing this knowledge, Gary wanted to share the traditional Indian recipes he grew up with. Delicious portions prepared with hand ground spices. He found that there was nothing like this being offered in Vancouver, so took it upon himself to fill the gap; offering modern twists to his mother’s recipes.
Chatting more with him, I was able to tell that he is a very genuine and humble restauranteur, which are the very characteristics he has passed along to each member of his team working tonight. This is also seen in his decision to open a lounge with a more private setting. The goal was to host smaller seatings, in order to cater to each customer more intimately. To be able to look after them and to engage them fully.
And in order to do so and ensure everything is at its absolute freshest, evenings and early mornings are spent preparing for the dinner service. A commitment that they intend to keep, and have to, given that there is no refrigerator in their kitchen. The menu reflects this commitment to quality, with the cost of premium ingredients reflected in the pricing. Appetizers that eat more like tapas plates with 4-5 bites, range from $12-20; and entrees that have you wishing for a more run from $20-35.
They have been open since February of 2018, and on this day in April we were here to help celebrate their grand opening, starting with some drinks.
“The silhouette” was their welcome drink. A shaken cocktail made with chambord black raspberry liquor, Cointreau, vodka, fresh orange juice, and agave syrup; then topped with ginger ale and fresh orange juice, and served over fresh ice. This was so easy to drink: sweet and refreshing like a juice.
“Sangria”. A blend of brandy, snapps, wine, and fresh diced fruit. Available in red and white.
“In house Old Fashion.”. The “Silk” version is made with black barred tequila aged for 12 months, and distilled in the style of bourbon or scotch. This gives the cocktail cinnamon-y undertones, balanced by the inclusion of agave syrup. It is finished off with a flame zest-ed orange peel.
“Mojito”. A shaken drink mixed with white Caribbean rum, lime juice, and fresh organic mint.
“Kumbh kaali mirch”. These organic, locally sourced mushroom caps are vegan and gluten free. They are seasoned with fresh ginger, garlic, and hand milled black peppers. Each round was juicy with spicy notes, but more of a dull heat that rises slowly.
The “Steak bites” were the table’s favourite. Served with a brandy demi-glace and a few slices of their organic grain baguette. The beef was tender, easy to chew through with its pinky centre. The bread was made in house, spongy and soft, it just needed some in house made butter to complete it.
The “Basil chicken tikka” is the one I liked the least. I found the free range chicken thigh marinated in a ginger, garlic, and basil rub; dry and flat. Where the other items didn’t need the sauce that it came with, here my piece of chicken took a generous dip.
I was much more impressed by the “Prawns diablo”. Lemon butter and wine marinaded prawns served with some organic chilli and more organic grain baguette. Not everyone tried the bread, not realizing it was made in house, therefore I wished the servers had highlighted this. As for the prawns, they had a little heat in them, if you needed more you could get a mouthful from the innocent looking chillies to its side.
The “Stuffed jalapeños and rancttera sauce” is another vegan friendly dish that is gluten free. Here, organic jalapeños are stuffed with cashews, walnuts, spinach, and grilled guajillo peppers, then topped off with a house made rancttera sauce. They weren’t as spicy as the prawns above. A slightly firm pepper, grilled crisp with a cheesy taste. This was a nut made cheese without the crumbly texture of crushed nuts. It is best eaten after a drag through the tangy sauce smear on the plate.
“Paneer tikka”. Handmade paneer (Indian cheese) slow cooked in a traditional clay tandoor oven. This too is vegan and gluten free. In the dark of the lounge it looked like grilled pineapple so I was surprised when it tasted like cottage cheese with the texture of ricotta. Good, but I felt like it need more, the dip helped but I wanted something richer to give this more muted dish some kick.
Overall the appetizers were easy to share, but I would have liked a base like rice or naan to go with them; something to make them more complete. Given their presentation I wouldn’t necessarily order them with drinks in this lounge setting. With their bold flavours they ate like a meal, and not like tapas.
We would see to my craving of rice and naan during our round of entrees. Little did we know, they actually offer three types of roti, each a different taste and texture based on the type of grain used to make it by hand. Had we known, we would have tried all three. If you are expecting doughy and fluffy naan, this isn’t. It tasted healthy with that tell-a-tale dry and firm whole grain characteristic.
The vegetarian and gluten free “Spinach paneer” utilized the same in house made cheese that we had above, but in this dish my original concerns of plain cheese is addressed. This is a traditional Indian cheese dish cooked with spinach. The creamy spinach paste engulfed the soften cubes, offering a texture more like a stew. Great with the side of rice. This was done more like traditional Indian style cuisine than a fusion with French cooking.
I find “Butter chicken” is always a good tell of Indian cuisine, as every Indian restaurant offers their own rendition of it. Here, this traditional Indian curry is made with organic cream, fresh tomato purée, and organic butter. This was the leanest butter chicken I have ever had, like all of their dishes thus far, nothing was overly rich. Great, considering this is a lounge and the thinking is that you will spend most of your time drinking. With these dishes, you were full without feel bloated
The “Rack of lamb” is the showstopper. A pistachio crusted rack of local grass fed lamb, in a pomegranate jus, served with a seasonal organic vegetable ratatouille and potato purée. The lamb was done right, tender with pink and bits of gristle. The pistachio crust offered a nice crunch, and the jus was the gravy you wanted to coat your creamy mashed potatoes in. The vegetable ratatouille rounded the serving off with some freshness. My only complaint is that I had to share.
For dessert the cheesecake is the one to get. This too is made from in house made cheese, available in three fruit flavours. Each slice is made with organic milks and housemade fruit jellies, served with fresh fruit and a brandy goat cheese caramel. Depending on the fruit it adds a different texture to the cake. Each came with some of their unique caramel sauce. The caramel wasn’t overly sweet, but more milky like a watered down dulce de leche (in a good way). You are able to mix in the caramel to add some sweetness to cake.
The kiwi flavoured had an extra texture with the kiwi seeds baked in. Think a poppy seed muffin, but as a denser cake. It is nothing like you have ever tasted, let alone cheesecake. Original, different, good.
The mango was the most refreshing flavour, its puree helped to make this the fluffiest cake, in texture.
But I like the texture of the strawberry one the most, it was most firm and most like a new york style cheese cake. As for the taste, it was like melted strawberry pocky with this yogurt-like sauce.
Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
I liked that they offered a full menu of food, but given their location and the setting, I am more likely to recommend them as an after dinner spot. A great place to stop by after dinner or after work, to pick at some French style Indian tapas. Or better yet, stop by for a cocktail and one of their cakes to end your night on a high note. My only apprehension would be their location, a walk away from easy transit, in a neighbourhood most rather not walk through at night. Although still worthy of checking out thanks to a team of great staff and an Instagram worthy space that you won’t soon forget. Don’t deny your cravings.