Today, taking advantage of a fine Autumn day, I took a leisurely drive down a ‘Fall Foliage‘ lined Don Valley Parkway to meet up with a couple of decades long ex-chowhound foodie friends for a mini-luncheon chowmeet. We decided to give the relatively new ‘Yorkville‘ location of the fast expanding ‘Pearl Restaurant‘ chain a try.
The three of us ordered the following from a fairly basic, traditional, run-of-the-mill Dim Sum menu:
- Woo-Kok, Fried Taro Croquettes with Minced Meat Filling
- Steamed BBQ Pork ‘Cheung-Fun’, Hand-rolled Rice Crepe
- Har-Gow, Steamed Shrimp dumpling with Minced Bamboo Shoot
- Hong Kong Style Shrimp Toast
- Steamed Baby Cuttlefish with Curry Sauce
- Steamed Beef Tripe
- ‘ Ma-Lai-Go ‘, steamed Caramel Sponge Cake
Overall, quality was fairly decent and acceptable though nothing to shout about.
Maybe it’s just me? However, I detected the quality of the BBQ pork used for the Cheung-Fun filling to be a bit off.
Whereby, conversely, the Har-Gow was fairly nicely crafted, with well seasoned juicy interior and crunchy shrimp filling. Though the skin wrapper was a touch thick, compared to most of their uptown peers, they were actually more delicate and thin!
Nowadays, it is an uncommon sight to see Hong Kong style shrimp toast being featured on a Dim Sum menu. As such, seeing them on Pearl’s menu, I jump at the chance of ordering them. Sadly, these Golf Ball size, round concoctions were nothing like what I had in mind?! The version I was expecting should be a flat rectangle piece of bread, topped with dressed shrimp paste, further topped with a whole single butterflied prawn, rolled in fine bread crumbs and then fried. What we were presented with was more like a banquet style Cantonese Shrimp paste Stuffed Crab Claws but without the pincers. Still, they were quite juicy, crunchy and fairly delicious.
Remainder of our order featured average to above average fare.
Overall, to me, it was a wonderful and enjoyable lunch since great companies with great food stories, experiences and jokes always trump the caliber of the food!