The walk to Pearl Liang reminded me of my first time watching Harry Potter. We got to the train station, found our way to Platform 8 – not the 9 3/4 – and walked up the connecting bridge into this pathway amid all the construction sites that seemed to have been there for years. Then, we were in this office area – the Sheldon Square – next to many waterways connecting to Little Venice: Pearl Liang happened to be sandwiched in one of these highrisers. It was a Chinese restaurant that did not appear a Chinese restaurant from the outside. Indeed, the menu at Pearl Liang was a good combination of modern and classic dishes. Think Royal China Club but with all the food theatrics trimmed down and the with modest flavours that delivered.
The cold starter of Jelly Fish in Sesame Oil was subtle. Springy jelly fish and fresh crunchy cucumber shreds were well tossed in fragrant sesame oil. It was quite a generous portion, too.
The Peking Duck served with Pancakes at Pearl Liang was among the best I’d eaten in London. The crispy skins were sweet and generously spiced. The meaty duck, very thickly sliced, on the side was juicy and tender. This was definitely the more affordable alternative for the same dish perfectly executed at Kai Mayfair, though it was far from my superb gastro-experience at Quanjude in Beijing. I spooned my pancake with the Hoi Sin sauce and put a bit of the duck, the skin, the shredded spring onions and cucumbers in. Everything was just bursting in my mouth!! I seriously couldn’t believe how crispy the skin was.
Lobsters at Pearl Liang can be cooked in many ways. I asked for the classic Lobster Noodle wokked with Ginger and Spring Onions. The dish looked very pretty when arrived but our too helpful waitress scrambled it all up before I snapped a photo. An attempt to reassemble the plate decor resulted in this pile of mess.. Sorry, Pearl Liang! The lobster was nicely cooked and dissected in the way that quite facilitated eating. The flavour was a little too timid for my liking despite the amount of ginger and spring onions on the plate. It all also went cold very quickly as the Lobster was not served on a hot plate. I prefer the similar version of this dish at New Fortune Cookie.
The real stunner arrived – Dover Sole in Salted Yolk Butter. Like the lobsters, you could order your fish cooked in many ways. My one came looking like plump fish fingers on baby gem lettuce leaves. One bite into the “finger” revealed the multi-textured fillings of Shitake mushroom and also the moorish taste of butter-infused salted egg yolks. Plus, the deep fried bone was also edible!!
We also got this Sizzling Sirloin Beef in Black Bean Sauce and the Seafood on Fried Rice Fook-Kan Style. Both got my two thumbs up. The beef tasted very much like beef, which was not a usual occurrence in many Chinese restaurants in London. Great quality and very delectably tender. The sauce had a bit of peppery kick and thickness that coated through all the bits and pieces. I loved it! LOVED IT!!! The fried rice was deceptively simple. Just egg and rice – greaseless, puffy grains – to be topped with sticky seafood gravy of chopped prawns, scallops, carrots and aubergines. Very intense.
Dead stuffed. I opted for this chrysanthemum Custard Buns to share. Again, they could do it two ways: steamed or deep fried. I went for steamed. Just gorgeous…
Unanimously positive feedbacks from my friend guests. Pearl Liang was a great place for those wearied of the below average Chinese food in Chinatown but not keen to trek as far as Bayswater. I seriously fall into that category. So, Pearl Liang it is
My head rating says, “8 out of 10″.
My heart rating says, “8 out of 10″.
8 Sheldon Square
Tel. 020 7289 7000