I went to eat dinner at the Magistrates’ Court where John Lennon was tried

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Legal Cheek‘s Katie King reviews Silk


Last week, I went to eat dinner at Asian-fusion restaurant ‘Silk’.

As for the food, it’s what you’d expect from a fancy restaurant based in central London — really posh, pretty expensive and very tasty. But the restaurant’s unique selling point is the building that it’s located in.

The restaurant is part of the Courthouse Hotel, a five-star rated, Grade II listed building opposite Liberty London, just off of Oxford Street — and any keen law student should go there.

The building (pictured above and below) is a refurb of the Great Marlborough Street Magistrates Court. This is one of seven former Public Offices established in the capital in 1792, and until its closure in 1990, it was the second oldest Magistrates’ Court in the UK.


The building’s animated history is demonstrated by the number of high-profile media-trials heard between its walls — including cases featuring Oscar Wilde, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Johnny Rotten. John Lennon was also hauled in front of magistrates here in 1970 for exhibiting sexually explicit material in a London art gallery. Going further back, Charles Dickens reportedly worked in the court as a journalist in 1835.

And though its function has undergone a total transformation, the building’s original features remain. Silk is a modern rework of the main courtroom, where diners can eat from the Asian restaurant on the courtroom floor, with the authentic judges’ bench, witness stand and dock still on show. Elsewhere, the iron bars from the former court’s prison act as a separation between the lobby lounge and the bar, providing some impressive photo opportunities for criminal law enthusiasts.

Diners are shown to the restaurant from the main hotel entrance, where the waiting staff were there to greet you and keen to talk about the hotel’s colourful history.

The restaurant itself was a modest size and very dimly lit, but it had an authenticity and romanticism about it that I really liked (though I did seem to be the only one there that wasn’t on a date). With original features in place, the dining area, despite its modernisation, felt like a traditional old English courtroom, which sparked my interest about the important events that had happened right where I was sitting.

The menu looks like it has been created using Word Art, but despite featuring some unusual ingredients (‘onion kulcha’ and ‘tamarind’ anyone?), there was a lot of choice. My friend had lamb kebab to start, and tiger prawns with quinoa and baby spinach for her main. I had tiger prawns to start, and duck for my main. Both were delicious — though the duck was a bit fatty. I’ve also now found out what a kumquat is (and that I don’t like them).

The experience was a pricey one — even with a two for one voucher I still forked out over £30. This was because drinks were not included in the deal, and the service charge was calculated pre-voucher-deductions. The staff were, at times, overly attentive, hanging around the table and refilling our glasses after every sip of wine — but this was certainly not the sort of place I felt able to dock the service charge.

I don’t think I’d visit Silk again — it was (quite a bit) too fancy for me, and too pricey for your average drowning-in-debt graduate. However, for a one-off experience I really rated it, and I’d recommend the restaurant to anybody who wants a one-of-a-kind dining opportunity.

Silk Restaurant is based in the Courthouse Hotel London in central London.



What is this.



“though I did seem to be the only one there that wasn’t on a date”

Katie is making a hint to Alex I think.



Tom is gutted. He spent 2 hours across the table making eyes at her and pretending to be interested in what she said.

All he got was a non-date peck on the cheek and a cold shower when he arrived home.



… and later that evening, even though he had promised himself he wouldn’t, as the frustration built inside him, Tom found himself reaching for the phone to text Not Amused for solace.

The reply was swift and typical. A long, pompous and preachy message, spread over 4 texts as it was so lengthy, with at least 14 mentions of “poor-born kids”. Reading the first and last line only, he cursed himself out loud, regretting not having not deleted the number months ago. He knew that it would be a long night.



At this, Eliza and Ezra rolled together into the one giggling snowball of full-figured copulation, screaming and shouting as they playfully bit and pulled at each other in a dangerous and clamorous rollercoaster coil of sexually violent rotation with Eliza’s breasts barrel-rolled across Ezra’s howling mouth and the pained frenzy of his bulbous salutation extenuating his excitement as it whacked and smacked its way into every muscle of Eliza’s body except for the otherwise central zone.


And at the thought of such joyous unions, the great Lord Harley wept into his silken gloves and beat away silently into the unloving abyss of space.


“The experience was a pricey one — even with a two for one voucher I still forked out over £30”

I assume it was somewhere between £30 and £40, then. Pretty cheap for central London!


Get Thee to a Waitrose

How can someone in today’s day and age, dining at an Asian fusion restaurant, be querying what tamarind is?


Get Thee to a Waitrose

…and for that matter a kumquat; crumbs Legal Cheek… even Up North in the ‘shires we know what these are!



What the fuck is this?


Bananas & Custard

There should be lots, I mean LOTS, more restaurant reviews on this site.


Light Bulb

Can we have reviews of the following please?

– Best luxury flats that used to be courts.
– Best building sites that used to be courts.
– Best brothels that used to be courts.
– Best canals that used to be courts.
– Best public toilets that used to be courts.
– Best lighthouses that used to be courts.
– Best fields that used to be courts.
– Best Coutts that used to be courts.
– Best courts that used to be courts, and then became courts again.
– Best tennis courts that used to be courts.



You had me at brothels (unfortunate choice of words).


Alex Aldridge (fake)

I can confirm that I went there with Katie, and not only did she not put out, but she has also threatened to take me to an employment tribunal when I commented on her stunning appearance and went in for a gentlemanly snog.

Where’s Lord Harley of Counsel? I’m in need of his Lordship’s excellent services since Katie has gone nuclear and instructed sourpuss Charlotte Proudman 🙁


Bun's Wife

Stop being rude everyone! I enjoyed the review. Thank you Katie.



@Bun’s Wife. That’s hardly getting into the spirit of things!


Annie Onimouse

– Best luxury flats that used to be courts.
– Best building sites that used to be courts.

^^^ Both covered by Central London County Court

– Best brothels that used to be courts.
Well a casino anyway – Biff’s Pleasure Palace's_Pleasure_Paradise_Casino_%26_Hotel

-Best library that used to be a court

– Best museum that used to be a court
The nominees are:

-Best Welsh Inn that used to be a court

-Best art gallery that used to be a court


Light Bulb

This is truly excellent, thank you.

If you spot any lighthouses that used to be courts, I would be very interested as I’ve always wanted to visit one of those.


Lord Lyle of the Isles

apparently the smallest courthouse in Britain is in Rye or maybe Hastings. I visited it once. it was just a reception room at the bottom and a small room above. Apparently when it was in use the word is no requirement for a magistrate to be literate


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