The controversial Crown Towers precinct has no shortage of places to dine and drink, with 14 restaurants and bars jostling for attention on the Barangaroo harbourfront (and still more to come). Silks, the elegant fine diner that’s a fixture at all the Crown resorts, offers traditional Cantonese food – with a few modern twists – and several nods to the fiery dishes of China’s north.
“Our vision for Silks is to create an opulent dining-room experience that merges historic and contemporary influences [and] feels like you are in a Chinese mansion – overlooking one of the world’s best views,” said Crown Sydney executive general manager Mark Holmes in a statement.
And it does. The room is lavish, with copper screens and glass orbs dangling from the ceiling. At night, they’re reflected on the soaring glass walls, mingling with the city lights and the stars, almost giving the spectacular daytime view of Sydney Harbour a run for its money. The colour palette represents a fusion of cultures, with Blue Mountains-inspired hues and jade – a stone loaded with meaning in Chinese culture. Deco-influenced, mushroom-shaped copper lamps sit on the tables and can be adjusted to create brighter or more ambient effects.
There is no cocktail list. Instead, tell staff your cocktail of choice and have it brought to you from Teahouse, the gilded, birdcage-festooned bar next door. The signature Lychee Martini is delicate and delicious, served with a sweet violet floating in the centre.
The service at Silks stands out – particularly for a restaurant located within a hotel with so many moving parts. Our waiter guides us through the menu with authority. “I grew up eating this,” she whispers, steering us gently towards the Yangzhou fried rice.
Daylight hours bring an upmarket take on yum cha, with intricately crafted dumplings. Turn your thoughts away from your usual Sunday-morning order and towards high-rolling ingredients such as lobster, scallop, lemon myrtle, sea urchin and Berkshire pork. Other menu highlights include cheung fun (rice-noodle rolls), and Wagyu and bean curd balls.
On the dinner menu, a serve of spring rolls turns out to be five skinny cigars of lobster with black truffle. The roasted maremma duck’s skin is so crisp it sticks out from its pancake like a sail. The addition of lobster to the signature mapo tofu adds elegance to the comforting home-style dish. And the bite-sized mouthfuls of Angus reserved tenderloin with Tasmanian honey and black-pepper sauce is the dish we’ve been thinking about long since the meal was over.
Dessert is a short list of dainty dishes. The egg-yolk lava ball with sesame sponge is finished with a coat of gold sesame seeds. If you eat them with your hands like we did, you’ll end the night with a light dusting of gold powder on your fingertips.
Crown Sydney, Level 3/1 Barangaroo Avenue, Barangaroo
(02) 8871 7171
Mon to Sun 12pm–3pm, 6pm–10pm