Posted by: mikeydude | February 25, 2010

Pearl Liang Dim Sum Restaurant Review (7/10)

Learn to compromise – it will always be a customers market

Each 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 ‘popularising’ Chinese. Times critic Giles Coren had recently given it rave reviews which no doubt will increase its loyal followers further. I had to try it out before the inevitable price hike on a cold February afternoon prior to leaving London back for Cardiff. It was also running up to Chinese New Year and so my desire to eat Dim Sum was at its peak! Here is what I thought of what was sampled…

There were plenty of options on the dim sum menu, and you can even opt to go for items on the dinner menu if you wish. The place was starting to get full by the time we arrived at around 12:30 and by the time we left at 14:00 it was pretty much packed! Anyway the immediate thing that annoyed me most was the rigidity of the menu. For instance one of my favourite chinese lunches is 3 roast noodles; that is, roast duck, roast pork, and roast belly pork served on a bed of noodles and vegetables and sauce. It’s a classic. It was not on the menu but when I asked about it the waitress had to go and ask the kitchen staff who were unable to accomodate. It’s not exactly a difficult dish to make especially when they were serving the roasts individually anyway. That was particularly annoying as the Mrs had a craving for that specific dish. Oh well… here’s what we ordered instead.

Barbecue Pork Puff

These were nice. Lovely crispy light pastry with a decent amount of moist well flavoured barbecued pork in the centre. Also not too greasy which is a common finding. I also find topping the puff with some sesame seeds adds a great savoury aftertaste as well as presentation.

King’s Crabmeat with Eggwhite Dumpling

Hmmmm…. sounds a lot better than it tasted. Couldn’t fault the dumpling, but I must criticise the dish as too much self glory without producing any results. It tasted just like an excellent fresh prawn dumpling with a perfectly smooth egg white coat. There was a scanty amount of crabmeat on top of the dumpling with some unexpected fish eggs but these were totally overpowered by the dumpling. It looked nice but overall a rather unnecessary dim sum in my opinion.

Tau Mui and Canopy with Prawn

This was much better. The prawn dumpling was essentially identical to that of the King Crab dumpling but topped with flavoursome fried onion and filled with coriander I think. Both of these added a distinctive fragrance and depth to the dumpling which the previous dish lacked. Definitely one that stands out from the crowd. Excellent.

Prawn Cheung Fun

Aha my favourite dim sum of all time. The benchmark test that I always use to assess a restaurants dim sum ability. These were almost flawless. The flour coating was wonderfully smooth and soft, and the prawns inside were plenty and fresh. I noted that the soy sauce was only added at the table to prevent the coating becoming soggy. This is dim sum at its very best.

Baked Seafood Rice

We always order a ‘carbs’ dish at dim sum to fill the stomach up. Unfortunately due to there being no ‘3 roast noodles’ we had to make do with this baked seafood rice which really reminds me of the classic Hokkien Fried Rice. It consists of basic egg fried rice topped with a oyster sauce rich seafood selection. Interestingly it was served on a ?pandan leaf; probably for presentation as it added nothing to the flavour. The rice was rather ordinary, but add the saucy seafood and you have a very appetising dish indeed. I was also pleased to say that the seafood was fresh and the kitchen was generous with its scallop, prawn and squid constituents. Good stuff, but I was still missing my triple roast!!

Sponge Cake Roll with Custard Yoke

I’ve had this dish before and always loved it! The sponge is so delicate and light that you can even eat one when you’re fairly full. The custard yoke inside gives moisture and holds the roll together. If you’re a fan of sponge and custard (note mum) then you have to try this.

Mango Pudding

Sorry I forgot to take a picture of this until one mouthful was already eaten! Anyway the boss had a craving for mango and so we added this to our lunch. It was well made, the mango was almost jelly like in consistency and the milky sauce was a welcome addition. I was already done with my custard rolls and so couldn’t really stomach much of this. However She thought it was very nice and not too sour.

In total the bill came up to £35.40 including one beer and service charge. Definitely more expensive than our usual dim sum, but then again we don’t usually order so much! 😀

Conclusion then; Finest Dim Sum I’ve had in a long time only let down by its uncompromising menu and some overpretentious dishes. Overall though it’s a winner for sure, and I’m certain I’ll be back for more everytime I need to go through Paddington station.


Contact:

Pearl Liang Restaurant
8 Sheldon Square
Paddington Central
London
W2 6EZ

Tel: (0)207 289 7000

Opening Hours:
Seven days a week.
Monday to Sunday 12pm to 11pm

http://www.pearlliang.co.uk/london/restaurant/index.asp

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