Fusion isn’t a word you hear much in 2018, when it comes to food anyway. In the late 90s you could barely move for restaurants wielding soundclash menus for people with more money that tastebuds. If food has a trend at the moment it’s dirty, it’s street and it’s unashamedly kidult. Burgers, pizzas and various pulled meats have their place, but Liverpool is awash with restaurants that seem built to stimulate our most basic reward centres. It may not be Fusion as it used to be known, but in offering a menu that stretches from The Mediterranean to China, with a few detours in between, Silk Rd feels out of step with the prevailing food trends. And we’re pretty happy about that.
This Silk Rd’s journey connects Heswall and Beetham Plaza – a rather shorter and arguably less exotic route. Barely a year since the first restaurant hit Merseyside (over the water), co-owner Javier Mellado has taken one of Liverpool’s most striking buildings and brought a flash of vibrant colour to the impressive, but somewhat austere, square tucked between James Street and Water Street in Liverpool’s business district. Many of the furnishings have come from Italy and Turkey; the hospitality is suitably warm. Chances are you’ll see Javier if you’re dining there – expect to learn more about his food. It’s simple, good hospitality.
Within spitting distance of Meet and the excellent Etsu it’s a part of the city centre that is being gradually colonised by restaurants and bars having long been the preserve of offices, Tipping Buckets notwithstanding. The way a long, glass fronted extension reaches into the paved square suggests the restaurant slowly colouring in Beetham Plaza – it makes for an inviting sight.
There are plenty of deals on food (half-price meat dishes on Mondays; half-price vegetarian dishes on Tuesdays between certain hours; bottomless Prosecco for a tenner on Thursdays if you’re dining) and two main sittings at lunch at dinner, but the Silk Rd owners have big plans.
There are 140 covers, a private mezzanine and outdoor terrace. Silk Rd is close enough to the business district, Liverpool One and Waterfront area to take advantage, though the ‘hidden gem’ location has not proved such an advantage for previous inhabitants of the building, including Simply Heathcotes, Hudson House and Home Canteen.
The menu? Exhausting. Trying to pick out three (OK, four) dishes from a mezze-cum-tapas style range of dishes reaching across three continents is no mean feat. Dishes are generous and range from circa £4-10. We asked the serving staff for their recommendations on wine and food. Track your journey across Asia with signature dishes such as Persian lamb, Malaysian steak and Yaour Tlou beef kebabs (Turkish, in case you’re scratching your head).
Monday morning got you thinking all fitness & health kick? Try our King Prawn & Mango Salad…it tastes so naughty without actually being naughty 😋 #silkrd #tapas #meze #bar #healthyfood #salad #healthylifestyle #kingprawn #silkroad #mondaymotivation pic.twitter.com/qsWRZZD2iU
— Silk Rd (@silkrd_tapas) February 5, 2018
Our favourites? Rich, unctuous crab croquettes, a tamarind curry and a sweet fillet of seabass on delicately spiced bed of rice. Your mileage may vary on an earthy cauliflower steak laced with tahini and sprinkled with pomegranate but co-owner Javier is keen to add more vegan dishes to the menu and Liverpool has plenty of fake-meat burgers and dogs already. There’s a variety of desserts too. We can vouch for the wonderfully light panacotta.
Once upon a time it was thought this area might be home to a network of raised motorways and walkways – it’s only a decade since a pedestrian footbridge connected a terrace outside Silk Rd overlooking The Strand to the Three Graces. If that’s a sign of how quickly times change then Silk Rd is a reminder that faddy foods may come and go, but simple, elegant food will always have its place.
Silk RdBeetham Plaza
25 The Strand