8 Sheldon Square
London W2 6EZ
207 289 7000
Monday to Sunday 12-11pm
We had dinner at Pearl Liang today with our good friend D. He told us that he had gone there once with his friends, but since they did not make a reservation, they had to go elsewhere for dinner instead. Today, we made sure that we made a reservation before heading there. The entire restaurant was surprisingly empty though when we arrived, and even when we left at 8 it wasn’t even half full.
Pearl Liang sounds like “Piao Liang”, which in mandarin means beautiful. Indeed the interior of Pearl Liang is quite classy, and we felt slightly underdressed, in our hoodies and trainers. The service was rather inconsistent. We had initially a server who wasn’t very helpful, but halfway through the meal she disappeared, and an older server came along. She was all smiles and from then on the service was greatly improved.
The food at Pearl Liang is outstanding. This could be the best Chinese restaurant we’ve been to. Everything we had was delicious, and most importantly, exquisite and lovingly prepared.
We started with the Roasted Baby Squid in Szechuan Chilli Spice. We weren’t sure what this would be, but we were all delighted when it came, as this was exactly the dish that we love – the fried baby squid with salt and pepper that we always order in Chinese restaurants. We’ve mentioned that the version at Four Seasons is one of the best we’ve had. Now we have to declare that this version at Pearl Liang is the ultimate best version we’ve ever had. It smelt so delicious that we almost didn’t wait for A to finish taking her photo before starting. It was perfectly fried, and the addition of the ma la (numbing) Szechawn spice was pure genius. We don’t usually enjoy the ma la spice, as the numbing sensation can get very unpleasant. However, this was so subtle that it worked perfectly well. The squid was a very nice bite-sized, unlike the one we had at Four Seasons, so that’s another major plus point.
We all loved as well the Pan Fried Shanghai Dumplings. It was D’s favourite dish of the whole meal. Indeed, it was very good. We all loved the way it was fried on the outside, yet on the inside the dumpling remained moist and soupy. Our Shredded Taro Crispy Prawn Rolls were good too. This was actually just spring rolls with taro and prawn. Strangely, the taro was almost non-existent. A couldn’t even tell that there was taro in them. Nevertheless, they were well fried – not too oily yet very crispy and yummy.
Our Shanghai dumplings with pork were excellent. There was a very good amount of soup in the dumplings, and the skin of the dumplings was suitably thin, unlike the ones we had in Leong’s Legend. This came 3 in a basket, and 2 of them were put slightly too close together such that the skin tore when we tried to pick one of them up. The soup was very quickly saved by stuffing a spoon under the broken dumpling, and all was well.
We also ordered a Fried Ho Fun with beef. This is one of K’s favourite noodle dishes, and he absolutely loved this dish. It wasn’t oily, and came with such a good amount of beansprouts that it almost seemed healthy! For the price (£6.80), this was a very generous portion. The noodles were very flavorful and the beef was very tender.
QJ came to Pearl Liang a while back, and told us that the roast duck there was comparable to Four Seasons. Hence, we ordered it to check it out. Indeed, this was simply amazing. D commented that it was almost like having both the wonderful goodness of roast duck and Peking duck at the same time. Definitely so. The skin was so unbelievably crispy that it was reminiscent of Peking duck, and the meat was tender and well cooked. The most incredible thing about this dish was that it didn’t taste oily and unhealthy at all. There was a visible layer of fat on the duck, but that was easily removed, but beyond that, the sauce was light and not oily at all, and we were amazed to find very fresh non-oily vegetables sitting under the duck! In other restaurants when they put vegetables under the duck it’s usually very soggy and oily Chinese cabbage; but here at Pearl Liang the vegetables were themselves worthy of being a side dish of their own. We might actually have to revise our opinion that Four Seasons serves the best duck rice of all time after having tried this dish at Pearl Liang. However, it must be said that the flavour of the duck in those 2 restaurants is quite different.
For desserts, we couldn’t resist having mango pudding. D and K both had that, and D remarked that it was the freshest mango pudding he has had in London. This was indeed excellent, and the mango bits were juicy and just perfect. We also had the Sweet Sesame Ball. This was nice and hot when it arrived, and just simply oozing with sesame goodness. It wasn’t too sweet, which was very good since it made the sesame stand out against the soft skin and the peanut and coconut flakes.
All in all we have fallen in love with Pearl Liang. We are currently planning our next visit there, to possibly try more of their dim sums. Everything we had was very good, which is rare for a restaurant which tries to do both the standard Chinese fare and dim sum at the same time. We will highly recommend this restaurant for good high quality Chinese food.
Additional note: We had 25% off our food bill from booking through their website.