Saturday, 22 January 2011

Pearl Liang, 8 Sheldon Square

This week we went to another Chinese restaurant. Pearl Liang had always been on my "to go" list but my family have always been lazy and stuck around Chinatown. Pearl Liang is situated just off Paddington underground so it isn't too hard to get to.

I do warn you, I did miss it the first time I walked past Sheldon Square, it's next to Sainsbury's Local but their banner isn't that easy to see from far away. Anyway I was very impressed with the d├ęcor when I got inside. The waiting area isn't that interesting, bar the small goldfish pond, but when you walk into the dining area you at once realise that this is one of the few cheap Chinese eateries that focus on surroundings as well as food. I'd say out of all the cheap Chinese restaurants, cheap being I can easily eat under £30 with my dad, Pearl Liang had one of the best interiors. The wait staff were unusually young which made the whole place feel more like a restaurant that a dim sum eatery. You'd think at a place like this dim sum would be £4-5 a dish but most range from £2.70 to £3.20. The list of dim sum isn't extensive but the you'll find the basic Chinatown selection, though some have been given "posher" names than what they really are. 

Anyway I ordered Shanghai dumplings, Pork Rib in Black bean Sauce, King Prawn Cheung Fun, Fried Ho Fun with Beef and Paper Wrapped Roasted Pork Ribs with Lemongrass and Chilli. The Shanghai dumplings were very good, amongst the best I've eaten in London. The skin I'd say is the best in London - when hot. I seem to find that the dumplings stiffened up quite quickly when left to cool but if you eat it straight after being served then they should be fine. There is a lot of soup inside which makes the dumpling seem quite large and puffy, the pork filling is decent but not outstanding however overall it is definitely one of the best in London. The pork rib in black bean sauce is a dish I order occasionally because I find that when it's made badly it doesn't taste of much at all. Whilst Pearl Liang did ok here I felt that the meat was too tough and slightly tasteless - this dish is made much better in Hong Kong. King prawn cheung fun was the first dish served and it was done well, unlike in Royal China it was smooth and delicate, whilst not amazing it was of a good standard. The fried ho fun was a substitute to the lobster with noodles that I really wanted but I rarely order anything labelled "seasonal price" when I am with my dad because I don't want to get a bill exceeding £40. However the ho fun was nice, the beef was tender, whilst the ho fun wasn't fresh made it still tasted ok. Finally the roasted pork ribs were nice and fragrant but I'm not sure I would charge the £7~ price for them.

Overall I would recommended this place, the food is ok but the surrounding are fantastic for a Chinese restaurant I'd say. I didn't however see any older generation Chinese dining there when I went, most of the diners were non Chinese or young Chinese groups. The price of 5 dishes and the usual Chinese tea came up to £29.50, a reasonable price I'd say. I would like to visit here for dinner in the future so I can taste the extensive dinner menu.

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