Tuesday, 5 April 2011
Pearl Liang, Paddington, 8 Sheldon Square, London W2 6EZ, London
We'd been to Pearl Liang once before, and when A&D suggested we go there again, but for the lobster noodles this time, how could we, oh how could we say no. So we didn't.
They even give you free peanuts.
And nice shiny utensils. Easily pleased.
But I was most taken with this amazingly heavy teapot.
Casually during the meal, D mentioned that London was famous for its lobster noodles, kinda like how Bayswater is famous for its roast duck. Did anyone else know this, or is it just me who's been kept in the dark about this?
Thing is, I'm kinda glad I didn't know this, otherwise with all the people we keep taking out to eat when they visit London, we'd be in lobster-debt by now. Anyhow, apparently the other place that's famous for this is Mandarin Kitchen in Bayswater, so maybe I'll bring myself to check it out one day.
Lobster noodle £33 (serves 4 as a starter)
Back to Pearl Liang. Because the lobster noodle was meant to serve 4, we decided to order another 3 dishes to go with it. I was kinda hungry that day as I'd not eaten much for breakfast or lunch, so dinner was gonna be the first meal of the day.
While we waited for the noodle to arrive, I busied myself with the teapot on the table. I've been to quite a few nice restaurants around, but never have I seen a teapot as fabulous as this one! Not only was it heavy, but it didn't once leak tea out of the spout! (maybe I don't go to such posh places, alright ...)
I knew the lobster noodle had arrived when I saw D's gaze avert from me, and zone in towards the waiter coming from behind me. Yes, the conversation kinda came to an abrupt halt as the plate was lowered on to the table, and all 4 of us kinda looked in awe at the lobster (now in pieces) on the plate before us. There was a spotlight shining randomly from somewhere right onto the middle of the table, bringing all the focus onto the little crustacean amid the noodles.
With good reason, too. Look, I mean, seriously, look at this shiny plate of joy. I can't even put into words how good this was.
There was slight hysteria when I finally put the camera down and had a first bite of the lobster claw thingamajig. There was some sort of gooey sticky chewy thing coating each bit of the shell (some sorta cornflour mixture, me thinks?) which held on to all the flavour. Each piece of lobster meat came out of its shell cleanly (clearly used to these social situations) and when I bit / chewed / devoured it like a maniac, it was ...
JUICY CRUNCHY SUCCULENT
I want more now.
Like seriously, if I could keep a lobster in my handbag (and not as a pet), I would. Every few hours, I'd take a nibble. Then I'd finished with the lobster (pity I had to share the portion, why did they say it was for 4 when it was clearly only for me) I moved on to the noodles.
Now, here's what you're thinking. 'Maybe the lobster's good, I'll give them that. But how good can noodles be?'
So wrong. Oh so wrong. Imagine the BEST noodle you've ever had (and if the best noodle you've ever had is something from a food court, please, stop reading this).
Take that noodle, and up its al dante-ness. Yes? OK, perfect pitch on the texture now. Then, take the taste of the noodle, and up its lobsterness. You got that? Increase that by about 10. And you've still got no where near how good this noodle is.
Not only is it PERFECTLY crunchy and chewy after being sat in lobsterness for like 10 minutes, but it managed to soak up all fishy elements (the good bits obviously) from the lobster, and by eating the noodles, I came as close as I ever have (in a social situation) to licking a plate clean. It was a fairly heavy plate though. I could really just stop the post here, because, how can any other dish compare to THAT lobster noodle?
Why would it want to? Why can't I have lobster noodle for dessert? But since I've already taken the pictures, and since it WAS kinda good (I'll give credit where it's due), I shall continue.
(Enthusiasm levels might dip a little from here on. I feel kinda worn out from all that shouting.)
Stir fried 'tau miu' with garlic, around £9
The vegetables were crunchy, al dante and just right. If we didn't have the lobster dish right there tantalising me, I might have had more of the vegetables, but as it were, this kinda went off the food radar a little.
Claypot (or hotpot) chicken with salted fish and tofu (not sure about the price, somewhere around the £10 mark, I reckon)
Everyone loved this dish. It was comforting and really warming on a cold night, and the gravy went really well with the steaming rice. Each chicken piece was juicy and tender, having absorbed all the gravy.
Deep fried king prawns with salted egg yolk, about £12
This dish was really really amazing. Each king prawn was so fresh that it crunched with each bite. Then there was the creamy, salty egg yolk surrounding the prawn which lent a delicate yet robust taste to the whole dish. Really enjoyed this one.
All in all, we had a fabulous time here. The only point I'd make is that the portion sizes could be slightly bigger but taste-wise, this is probably one of the better restaurants in London.