Aasma Day heads for the Preston’s newest restaurant, The Silk Route on Strand Road
There may not be a Curry Mile in Preston, but there’s certainly no shortage of Indian restaurants.
The question is, are they good quality Indians? While there are some excellent Indian establishments in the city, I have to admit there are many that fit the description of “cheap and cheerful.”
So it was with interest on my daily commute driving along Strand Road that I first noticed a sign saying: “Indian restaurant opening soon” in the place of the ill-fated Chinese Ming Dynasty.
The Silk Route describes itself as an Indian fusion restaurant, creating dishes from the silk and spice trading routes from China to Europe and the menu certainly reflects this.
Forget your chicken tikka and onion bhajis – although these are all available, too – the Silk Route starters feature exotic seafood delights such as Tandoor roasted scallop with puy lentils, pan fried seabass, South Indian cod and marinated soft shell crab.
Intrigued by the seafood delights on offer, Hubby and I chose the Seafood Silk Platter for two (£14.95), which featured salmon, talapia, tuna, king prawn filo and South Indian cod.
Not having any babysitters, our children came along, too, but luckily they love a good Indian. Our son chose lamb tikka (£4.25) for his starter, while our daughter had the prawn chaat puri (£4.50).
While waiting for our starters, we were presented with complimentary poppadoms and prawn crackers along with dips and relishes. The prawn crackers in particular were heaped in flavour and nothing like ordinary ones.
Our starter platter was very tasty. The fish was succulent, tender and of high quality and marinated in tasty Indian spices which enhanced the fish pieces without being too overpowering. The only criticism was the salmon was a touch overcooked.
Our little lad immensely enjoyed his lamb tikka and was particularly delighted as it was tender and not chewy in the slightest.
Our daughter’s prawn chaat puri looked lovely and like a meal in itself with a generous amount of prawns cooked in a thick curry sauce presented on an Indian flatbread. She loved it.
For mains we were spoilt for choice and again there were so many temptingly different dishes instead of just the usual British curries of tikka massala, bhuna, madras, jalfrezi and vindaloo.
Keeping in with the Silk Route that Marco Polo travelled along, the menu features a number of Chinese and Thai dishes as well as things like crispy duck.
Entertained by the thought of having a Thai curry at an Indian, Hubby had the Chicken Green Curry (£7.50) with boiled rice (£2.40) while I was tempted by the lamb biriyani (£9.95) after reading the description saying it was: “Made as my Nani Ma (grandma) would create.”
Our children decided on a traditional chicken curry to share (£7.25) served with egg fried rice (£3.95).
The main courses were absolutely delicious with quality oozing from every mouthful and you could certainly tell the dishes had been created using fresh ingredients and spices. No powders or pastes here!
My biriyani was packed with chunks of tender, tasty lamb and the rice was packed with flavour and topped with egg. It was served with a lovely vegetable curry sauce.
Hubby was amazed to find his green Thai curry more flavoursome than many he has eaten at actual Thai restaurants. The fragrant sauce had plenty of chicken cooked with aubergine, carrot and French beans. It was certainly spicy and a bit too blow-your-head off hot for me, but Keith enjoyed the fiery kick.
Our children’s chicken curry was a proper authentic curry in the style my mother would make and, as a result, they were completely won over.
We ordered a naan bread to soak up our sauces and chose the totally different spinach and feta cheese naan (£2.95).
Although it looked and tasted lovely, the naan wasn’t as we expected as the filling was on top rather than inside, which made it slightly messy to eat.
With such generous portions of delicious food, we soon filled up, but luckily, the Silk Route does takeaways, too, so they packed our leftovers into cartons to enjoy the following day.
It’s just a pity there weren’t more customers inside to sample the lovely cuisine.
The electric sign outside the restaurant is clever in the way it changes colour, but it just isn’t eye catching enough from the road. Also, there is no menu or details of opening times in the window to tempt passers-by.
The Silk Route may be competing with some nearby Indians offering special deals, but the quality of the food is superior. Hopefully, once word gets out about the reputation of the food, they will curry favour with the whole neighbourhood.
The Silk Route, Strand Road, Preston.
Tel: 01772 378998.
Car parking: Yes