Pearl Liang, W2 6EZ

Chinese restaurant in Paddington.

Kake, Leon, and the London Perlmongers have visited for dim sum several times now, most recently on a Thursday lunchtime in August 2010. We didn't book on any of these occasions, but this wasn't a problem, even when we had a party of 11. In our (extensive) experience, this is one of the best dim sum places in London; the quality and range are both good, the prices are reasonable, and they have proper soup dumplings. A number of the dim sum dishes have a Japanese influence, for example the wasabi prawn dumplings, or the duck spring rolls which come wrapped in a little circumference of nori.

The full dim sum menu is served at lunchtimes, while a smaller selection is available in the evenings photo of menu in Apr 2011. Unusually for a dim sum place, they offer a nine-piece dim sum taster platter annotated photo for just under £10, making it feasible to eat here alone or in a small group while still getting the chance to taste a variety of things.

Our per-head dim sum lunch bill (including service, which is automatically added at 12.5%, and unlimited tea but no alcohol) has ranged from £10 (Nov 2008) to £15 (August 2010), which is about average for London.

The decor not-brilliant photo is very fuchsia and a bit glittery; they've done well to work around the lack of natural light, though. There are sofas in the bar area. It's worth pointing out that the toilets are to be found out the back, through an unmarked door.

On our first visit in July 2007, there were only three of us so we all went for the taster platter; it wasn't bad at all, though it was composed entirely of steamed dishes - really, a dim sum meal should include both steamed and fried items, to give contrast. If I (Kake) had realised this before we ordered (which I should have, since the contents of the taster platter are listed on the menu), I'd have chosen more complementary side orders. The only thing on the platter I really didn't like was the seaweed-wrapped glutinous rice, which (like our side order of sticky rice in lotus leaf) was rather greasy. The steamed dumplings were pretty good, obviously freshly prepared, and with a very nice emphasis on vegetables.

On our second visit, in April 2008, there were more of us so we ordered various dishes from the main dim sum menu. The sticky rice with mixed meat in lotus leaf was much improved from the slightly disappointing rendition on our previous visit; very good. Spinach dumplings were no longer notably good - bit salty - though still competent enough. Wasabi prawn dumplings were interesting; subtle wasabi flavour but it was there. Duck spring rolls were excellent. Soup dumplings had a fair bit of soup but were a bit big for Kake's taste. Teapot refilling was pretty prompt. We paid £12 a head for ample food, tea all round, no booze. They brought more portions of the desserts than we asked for, but I don't think we were charged for the extras.

In November 2008, the sticky rice was even better, with large fresh prawns in. Duck spring rolls were still good but perhaps a little drier than last time. Mixed cheung fun were good - the scallop ones had plenty of non-watery scallop, and the meat in the barbecued pork ones was tender and moist, not dry at all, yet not overly fatty, perhaps the best barbecued pork that Kake has ever had. £10/head today.

Accessibility: Step-free access throughout, and there's also an accessible toilet. Sheldon Square itself is in a sort of sunken basin, with steps to get down. However, there's a lift which is accessed via the Bishops Bridge Road entrance; you need to find the security guards and get them to open the gate for you.

Getting here: Sheldon Square is a relatively new development behind Paddington station. Getting here can be slightly complicated, although it really is very close to the station. The easiest way is to start from platform 8 of the station (you won't need a ticket; there are no barriers to get onto this platform). Walk along the platform away from the main concourse and go up the steps or ramp. You should see a sign for Sheldon Square pointing to your right along a walkway; follow this along until you hit the canal towpath. Keeping the canal to your right, go along a bit until you see another sign for Sheldon Square; follow this sign (left between two tall buildings), then continue forwards and head down the steps into the grassy sunken amphitheatre thing; Pearl Liang is ahead of you on the other side of the amphitheatre.

Note that taxis often have trouble finding Sheldon Square. The road entrance is half way across Bishops Bridge Road which all the taxi drivers know as it's where they queue to get to Paddington Station — it's probably best to just ask to be dropped off on the bridge.

See also:

Last visited by Kake and friends, August 2010. Evening dim sum verified from menu, December 2008. Opening hours taken from the Pearl Liang website, May 2009.

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OS X co-ord: 526350 OS Y co-ord: 181600 (Latitude: 51.518689 Longitude: -0.178740)
Last edited 2013-03-05 10:20:28 (version 49; diff). List all versions.