Posted by: mikeydude | January 14, 2010

Pearl Liang Paddington Restaurant Review (7.5/10)

At last… Chinese food to be proud of!

I’ve been to far too many chinese restaurants that serve mediocre food topped with bucketfuls of MSG and yet receiving rave reviews from the public. Over the years it has left a rather sour impression of my country of origin’s style of cooking. I will never claim myself to be an expert of judging chinese cuisine, as I simply don’t eat it often enough nor have I sampled China/SE Asia’s finest. Some people say for instance the roast duck is best in Peking itself, others say HK, whilst some even say Australia. I can only tell you that the best Peking Duck I have ever had was in a hotel in Hong Kong which I tried way back in 1997. I can’t remember the name but my uncle brought me there where they bring the whole roasted duck over to the table, and carve the crispy duck skin in front of you onto a platter. They then wheel away the rest of the duck to make a different dish with. That duck skin was the crispiest and juiciest duck I had ever had in my life. I don’t think any duck I had ever eaten in the UK had even come close, up until I found this little restaurant just located 5 mins walk from Paddington train station…..

I think I’ve been here at least 3 times now after it was recommended by a fellow food blogger. It is also very conveniently located near Paddington which is the main hub that connects Cardiff to London and so it’s a perfect quick dinner prior to boarding the train home. We weren’t particularly hungry this time round, but it’s Chinese food and so with its appetite stimulant properties I wasn’t particularly concerned about us not being able to eat much!

The interior looks very snazzy. Modern decor but yet not to the extremes of Hakkasan. Anyway… here’s what we ordered on this occasion. Oh we had a 25% discount on all A La Carte items today due to a January offer and so we were much more generous than usual with our orderings! 😀

Fish Maw Broth

The Boss was freezing and so wanted to drink some hot soup. She tells me she has this soup back home (fish maw is some innard of the fish) in the form of a clear soup. This one however was thick in consistency and so wasn’t quite what she expected. To me it just tasted of all the other thick chinese soups that seem so popular in this country. Crab and sweetcorn anyone?

Fried Rice with Dried Scallop & Egg White

Since one portion of rice is around £3 we decided to just pay the £7 for a larger bowl of fried rice with scallop and egg white. This was nice; the rice carried the added fragrance of wok heat as well as the seafood flavours from the scallop. The seasoning was also spot on as to not overpower all the other dishes we ate with it.

Barbecued Roasted Duck

Ah ha! The reason why I always come here! The portion is noticeably smaller than the other places you’ll find in Chinatown, but the quality is divisions higher than most. Four seasons restaurant in Bayswater is renowned for its roast duck, but I always find it a bit hit and miss. Here I’ve always enjoyed the crisp crunchy skin with the meat succulent and juicy. It still doesn’t quite match up to my memories of 1997, but it’s the closest I’ve found so far. Delicious, although I’m not 100% convinced that it’s half a duck.

Stuffed Prawn Paste in Three Kinds of Vegetables with Black Bean Sauce

This is another dish that I’ve always had since young. It consists of prawn paste stuffed in the 3 items of green pepper, aubergine, and tofu and then fried. Some black bean sauce is then poured over to produce one of my favourite chinese dishes. Variation between restaurants is not so big on making this dish. However the tofu was super fresh (soft and not smelling off) and the black bean sauce wasn’t overly oily which are all common pitfalls. Good.

Kai Lan

My wife’s favourite chinese vegetable. This was simply stir fried with ginger and garlic. Still had a nice crunch to it and the garlic/ginger gave it that extra needed flavour.

Dessert #1: Sesame Ball

Desserts were a bit rushed as we had to catch our train soon at this point! Nevertheless this sesame ball was covered in peanut fragments. It had a nice soft consistency with sesame paste oozing out the centre. Not bad but I doubt I would order it again.

Dessert #2: Toffee Banana

My mum has always been an expert of banana fritters, and so this dish brings back childhood memories. Deep fried balls of banana topped with a toffee syrup. The batter was deliciously crispy and the toffee syrup was top notch though a little bit too thick. Good.

The total cost came to approximately £45 all inclusive with 25% discount. Although it has its flaws the food here is definitely one of the best I’ve had in the UK and consistently so over my 3-4 visits here. The place is also famous for its Dim Sum, so feel free to wander here for a quick lunch if you’re stuck in Paddington. My current UK favourite Chinese is here and so I’m off now to find a restaurant that can topple it. Cardiff unfortunately has a long long way to go yet.


8 Sheldon Square
W2 6EZ

Tel: 020 7289 7000

Opening Hours:
Monday to Sunday 12pm to 11pm



  1. […] time I’ve come here I have not been disappointed (dinner review here). However people seem to rate the dim sum extremely highly at this rapidly […]

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