Dim Sum @ Pearl Liang [Restaurant Review]

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Reviewed by The Wild Boar

I had visited Pearl Liang for dinner before and found in general that it served pretty good food albeit at higher than average prices. Helen in particular is a keen fan of this place and Urbanspoon has a fair number of positive reviews from other bloggers.

Unfortunately, at the time of eating both my brother and I had contracted a stomach bug and I actually had to make a pit stop in a random petrol station to throw up. Not very pleasant but I’ve had practice from my time in medical school. Anyway, I didn’t have the greatest of appetites so we ordered a lot less than usual.

Char siew sou – baked Cantonese style pork buns –叉燒酥 – really good filling, nice and sweet, meat had some gristle in mine though. The pastry was quite light and not too buttery.

pearl liang dim sum 01

Char siew pau – steamed Cantonese style pork buns –叉燒包 – same filling as the baked version. Bun itself is light and fluffy and lacked the alkaline taste that some others have. It was a bit chewy though.

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Lo bak ko – fried turnip cake – 蘿蔔糕 – one of the better ones I’ve had, not as mushy as Yum Cha’s. Not bad at all.

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Char siew in rice noodle rolls – the cheung fun itself was ok, but the inside filling was a bit dull and lacked enough taste. Disappointing.

pearl liang dim sum 03

Har gow – steamed prawns in dumpling – 虾饺 – received vote of approval from mum, and I thought they were pretty good too.

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Siew mai – steamed minced pork and prawn dumpling – 烧卖 – I thought the meat was a bit chewy although it was flavoured well. I have to agree with Kang’s comment that it was “more porky than prawny” though.

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Tau miu, canopy (dried scallops) and prawn – this is a new combination to me but it seemed to work well as the greens gave an interesting texture (I don’t recall many crunchy steamed dim sum dishes off the top of my head).

pearl liang dim sum 06

Zucchini prawn dumpling – another new combo, but I thought the courgettes got a bit lost in the parcel.

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pearl liang dim sum 10

Loh mai fan – glutinous rice in lotus leaf – really nice. The rice was nice and oily without feeling too starchy and the meat mixture was tasty too.

pearl liang dim sum 07

Tan tart – baked egg custard tart – very good mix of soft egg custard that isn’t too sweet and fluffy pastry that isn’t too buttery.

pearl liang dim sum 11

The rest of the desserts we ordered were the ma lai ko, mango sago and mango pudding which were covered in the dinner review. If you’re lazy however, in general they were all very good too although this time I found the mango bits a bit sour – a sign they’re using fresh rather than canned mango maybe?

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A minor issue is that Pearl Liang doesn’t have porridge on its dim sum menu, something I find really odd! The waitress explained that it has to be pre-ordered, ideally with a couple days notice.

The bill came up to £10 each, but we really ordered very little food this time so I’m guesstimating the true bill would have been nearer to £20 each if I was at full eating capacity.

Food – 7.0
Service – 5.0
Atmosphere – 7.0
Value – 4.0

In short, the food is quite typical dim sum fare (except a few that were new to me, but maybe it’s normal for others?) but executed very well with few mistakes done with the flavours and no food getting overcooked. The prices are a fair bit higher than average however although not as steep as Yauatcha, but then I still think that Yauatcha’s food is better (based on my last visit over a year ago anyway).

Would I eat here again? Yes! Although more expensive than most, its also better than most.

Pearl Liang
8 Sheldon Square,
W2 6EZ
Tel: +44 (020) 7289 7000
Official website

Pearl Liang on Urbanspoon


Pumpkin Cheesecake with Nutella

Friday, 30 October 2009

My first encounter with a pumpkin was 6 years ago and it wasn't pleasant - taste wise. I bought the huge-ass pumpkin meant for carving by mistake and the flesh was dry and tasteless. I later learnt that there are actually 2 types of pumpkins, one larger meant for Jack o'lanterns, the other smaller for cooking.


Even with the smaller edible pumpkins, they are not as rich and flavourful and sweet as I expect them to be. It's like how I expect redcurrants to be sweet because they look so red and plump, but they are in fact extremely tart without any hint of sweetness whatsoever.

According to wiki, most canned pumpkins are actually made from some hubbard squash so it's sweeter and not as wet as puree made from fresh pumpkin. This cake is extremely moist but slightly on the wet side. Perhaps letting it drain or squeeze out the juice would be better?

pumpkin cheesecake

I wanted something that is lighter than normal Philadelphia cream cheesecake, to compensate for the richness of pumpkin so I used half mascarpone and half Philadelphia. Mascarpone made it lighter, smoother and creamier, not as dense and rich (slightly crumbly and grainy?) as you would expect from cheesecakes made with only Philadelphia cream cheese.

pumpkin cheesecake 3

I have an obsession with pumpkin and chocolate combo recently, so I decided to use an Oreo crust. I was hoping to create a marbling effect by adding Nutella, but the batter was quite runny, so it's a mess. Delicious nonetheless.

pumpkin cheesecake 2

Ingredients:a 9-inch cake, 2.5-inch in height
For crust:
  • 14 Oreo cookies
  • 25g butter - melted
For filling:
  • Canned pumpkin or 1 small edible pumpkin - makes about 510g puree
  • 500g mascarpone cheese - softened at room temperature
  • 400g Philadelphia cream cheese - softened at room temperature
  • Cream from Oreo cookies
  • 2 cans (405g each) light sweetened condensed milk
  • 5 medium eggs
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 1/2 tbs chocolate powder
  • 3 tbs nutella

For crust:

  • Preheat oven to 180oC.
  • Scrape off cream from oreo cookies. Leave cream aside for cheesecake filling.
  • Place cookies in a zip lock bag, pound with a rolling pin until crumbly.
  • Combine crumbs and melted butter. Press firmly onto the bottom of a lightly greased and lined 9-inch springform pan.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 10 mins. Leave to cool.

To prepare pumpkin puree:

  • Cut pumpkin into half and remove the seeds and strings.
  • Without removing the skin, cut pumpkin into large chunks.
  • Place pumpkin in a microwave-safe dish, add a bit of water (about 1/4 inch layer, to prevent pumpkin from drying out), cover, microwave on high for about 10-15 mins or until tender.
  • Leave to cool.
  • Scoop out the flesh and mash.


For cheesecake filling:
  • Preheat oven to 150oC.
  • Place all the cheese and cream from Oreo cookies into a mixing bowl. Beat until smooth.
  • Gradually beat in condensed milk until well mixed.
  • Beat in 1 egg at a time.
  • Mix in vanilla essence.
  • In a clean mixing bowl, pour in 2 cups of cream cheese mixture. Mix in nutella and chocolate powder until well combined.
  • Add pumpkin puree and cinnamon powder to the rest of the cream cheese mixture.
  • Pour pumpkin mixture and nutella mixture onto oreo crust alternately.
  • Cut through it with the end of a knife to create a swirled effect.
  • Bake in a bain marie/ water bath for about 2 hrs 30 mins or until center is slightly jiggly but perimeter is set. Remember to check after 1.5 hr as every oven differs. Remember not to bake until it's fully set!
  • Turn off the oven and leave the cheesecake in it for another 30 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and leave to cool completely.The cheesecake will shrink as it cools, so run a paring knife around the edge of the cheesecake to prevent any cracks.
  • Refrigerate at least 3 to 4 hours (better overnight) before serving.

pumpkin cheesecake 4

Happy Halloween everyone!

halloween 2

Culinary Couture Meets Cocoa Chic - A Giveaway!

I love to eat chocolates but I'm not that into chocolates if you know what I mean. When I received an email asking if I was able to attend to the launch event of Metropolitan, a fab new box of chocolates from Thorntons at the Met Bar in Mayfair, I was rather surprised. To be honest, I said yes to "cocktails, canapés (and of course chocolates)" as quoted from the email. Free chocolate tasting, why not?

The event was held at the Met bar at the Metropolitan hotel. Well planned heh?



Damn the London traffic, we were late for the chocolate tasting session/demonstration with Thorntons head chocolatier, Keith Hurdman - one of the UK's most talented chocolatiers. He's the chocalatier who designed this new collection of chocolates. He has more than 25 years of experience in the industry and has won many awards.

There were lots of chocolates as expected.


The chocolates for this new collection are made from dark Dominican Republic and milk Ecuador single origin chocolate, these were combined with various delicious flavours such as salted caramel, orange blossom, quince and clouberry. This range is available exclusively in Thorntons stores from early November. Here's a very detailed review of this new collection. Among these, my favourites are the
Praline Piazza and Soho caramel.

I like the crunchy and crisp texture of the feuilletine pieces with the velvety hazelnut praline.

After biting through the thin chocolate crust, the salted-caramel in the middle just oozes out. Love the textures and flavours of this.

Before leaving, we were all given a goodie bag =) Thanks again for the invitation, I had a really good time sampling ALL the chocolates!


Thorntons Metropolitan Chocolate Giveaway

I think it's about time to "give back"! This blog has been going for more than a year and I would like to thank you all for your support. I will be giving away 1 box of Thorntons Metropolitan chocolates (shhh...it's the wild boar's secret stash).





To enter, just leave a comment below. A random generator will be used to pick the 1 winner. This will end at 8pm GMT November 3rd, 2009.

Good luck!


A Manly Guinness Beef Stew...With A Twist

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Remember the Guinness beef stew I cooked last winter? It was really rich and flavourful, I had a sudden craving for it again. I came across quite a few recipes that paired Guinness with prunes so I decided to try this combination this time. The prunes added a nice sweetness to the bitter stew and gave it a much richer texture. But...

guinness beef stew with prunes

Pig pig: Do you think it's a bit too bitter?
Wild boar: No! It's very tasty.
Pig pig: hmm...really? (took another spoonful of gravy) I think it's too bitter.
The wild boar ignored the pig pig and continued to inhale the stew while the pig pig picked out the prunes.
Pig pig: I think I'll pack the rest for your lunch.
The wild boar nodded while stuffing down more of those stew.
Wild boar: It's ok. It's so tasty, so rich! (gobbled up the remaining bits in the pot, licked the ladle clean and if the pigpig hadn't stop him, the pot too.)

The next day...on msn at work.

Wild boar: The stew is super tasty today!

Guinnes beef stew with prunes

Ingredients: serves 3

  • 620g beef - cut into large chunks
  • 2 tbs plain flour
  • 2 leeks - sliced
  • 2 medium onions - sliced
  • 1/2 bulb garlic - peeled and crushed
  • 1 large carrot - cut into chunks
  • 400g closed cup mushrooms - halved
  • 2 cups (500ml) Guinness Stout (would suggest cutting this to 1 1/3 cup, depends on how strong you want)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbs tomato paste
  • 1 Knorr beef stock cube
  • 3/4 cup (about 125g) soft pitted prunes


  • Coat beef with plain flour. Shake off excess flour.
  • Heat up a bit of oil in a pressure cooker pot. Add beef cubes and fry until browned. Do not overcrowd the pan and do this in small batches.
  • Remove beef from pan and leave aside for later use.
  • In the same pan, add onions and leeks and cook until soft.
  • Add garlic and fry until fragrant.
  • Add all the other ingredients except prunes, mix well and cook under pressure for about 30 mins.
  • Remove pressure cooker lid, add prunes and cook under pressure for a further 10 mins.
  • Season to taste.

  • I am not sure why it's so bitter this round as I used the same amount of Guinness as the first time. I don't remember it being so bitter but the wild boar loved it. My taste changed? The prunes brought out the flavour and bitterness of the Guinness? Maybe it's a man thing. No idea.


Simple & Delicious Prawn, Sun-Dried Tomatoes & Parsley Omelette

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

I have to admit that I have been very lazy lately. I try to cook really simple stuff when I get home from the lab, eat, shower then hide under the duvet and switch to semi-hibernation mode. I blame this on the gloomy weather and the cold. This is what I had tonight for dinner, a really simple omelette with rice. Easy and tasty. What do you normally cook when you feel hungry and lazy?

prawns sun-dried tomatoes parsley omelette


  • 3 Eggs - lightly beaten with a pinch of salt and white pepper
  • 5 slices sun-dried tomatoes (in oil) - coarsely choped
  • 10 prawns - peeled and cooked
  • A small bunch of parsley - coarsely chopped
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  • Heat up a bit of oil in a small frying pan.
  • Pour in beaten eggs.
  • As the eggs begin to settle, use a spatula/ wooden spoon, push the eggs towards the center while tilting the pan to distribute runny parts. Continue this motion until eggs stop flowing.
  • Distribute cooked prawns, tomatoes and parsley onto omelette.
  • Sprinkle some freshly ground black pepper.
  • Leave to cook until the edges/ bottom is browned.
  • Fold omelette into half and serve.


The New Angel*, Dartmouth, Devon [Restaurant Review]

Friday, 23 October 2009

Firstly, an apology – I’m feeling rather lazy (and being distracted by my new PSP) so this review will be more to the point and contain less waffle than my usual ones.

New Angel, Dartmouth, Devon 4
Dartmouth, Devon

Parents wanted to go to Cornwall, so I took it upon myself to search out some good eats nearby. This one Michelin starred sounded pretty good and was geographically well placed on our return leg so it fit the bill just fine. Plus, I’ve seen head chef John Burton Race on television in the past so he must obviously be good! Oh and The New Angel was also AA’s restaurant of the year in 2005.

New Angel, Dartmouth, Devon 11

I have to admit the location of the restaurant seemed really ideal, situated pretty much in town centre (as far as I can tell anyway) right opposite the harbour. Anyway, all of us except from the PigPig made selections from the lunch menu (£25 for three courses sounds quite reasonable).

New Angel, Dartmouth, Devon

New Angel, Dartmouth, Devon 2

The bread was freshly baked (the waitress alluded that it was baked on site) and marvellously nice and warm when we laid our hungry paws on it. Out of four choices, the favourite amongst us was the brioche with powdered olives; the bread itself was pillowy soft and just a little bit sweet while the olives added an interesting aroma to the bread. The walnut bread was also pretty good with a very generous dose of nuts involved.

New Angel, Dartmouth, Devon 3

New Angel, Dartmouth, Devon 1
Brioche with powdered olives

For my starter I had “Nick Trants rare breed pork, cured and served with glazed fig”. The first result from Google for “nick trant” is a graphic designer in Madrid so he must be doing really well to also rear these fine pigs. The ham was actually quite fine in flavour and softly textured, somewhat similar to Parma ham and went a treat with the sweetness of the fig.

New Angel, Dartmouth, Devon 13
Nick Trants rare breed pork, cured and served with glazed fig

My dad meanwhile had a “Grilled day-boat red mullet served with a lightly spiced mussel and saffron broth” which was actually the recommended choice by the waitress. I can see where she’s coming from as the fish was very fresh and the grilled texture and smell is a nice contrast to the broth it was swimming in (hehe, get it?). To be honest though, the broth and accompanying linguine was good enough to be served on its own as it was spiced just enough and not too creamy.

New Angel, Dartmouth, Devon 12
Grilled day-boat red mullet served with a lightly spiced mussel and saffron broth

The last starter is my mom’s, “Pam Wills Dexter beef, smoked and served with horseradish cream and beetroot”. While visually very pretty, I felt it was somewhat tasteless – I could smell and taste the smokiness but couldn’t taste the beef.

New Angel, Dartmouth, Devon 14
Pam Wills Dexter beef, smoked and served with horseradish cream and beetroot

Moving onto the mains, I had the “Rare-breed pork belly, glazed and served with creamy mashed potatoes, puy lentils and buttered cabbage”. Starting from the top of the picture, the crackling was nice although perhaps a bit too crunchy (Robert’s roast pork in Pudu, Kuala Lumpur is still undeniably tops). The apple sauce hidden underneath has a good balance of sweet and sour. Meanwhile, the pork itself had just enough fat to keep me happy (fat’s not only good for flavour but texture, but too much is just sickening really) and cooked until succulent and tender. While the jus is quite light, it added sufficient taste to enhance the pork flavour.

New Angel, Dartmouth, Devon 9
Rare-breed pork belly, glazed and served with creamy mashed potatoes, puy lentils and buttered cabbage

My brother’s “Wild black bream, grilled and served with butter beans and chorizo” seemed decent enough as he ate it. I confess that I don’t remember much from the sample I got but I think the fish itself was good although cooked rather plainly and the butter beans beneath it was really necessary to give the dish more body.

New Angel, Dartmouth, Devon 10
Wild black bream, grilled and served with butter beans and chorizo

However, the best main was definitely the PigPig’s “Fillet of South Devon beef with fricassee of bone marrow, smoked bacon and Umberleigh snails”; an option off the ala carte which cost more than the three course lunch set menu. I can totally understand why though as the beef was perfectly medium rare and very tender and the sauce was just... well I wanted to lick the plate clean if that’s sufficient to describe how good it was. It was very rich, flavourful and it had the flavours from the bone marrow and bacon. The snails on the other hand was oddly slimy – I’ve only really ever eaten escargot baked with garlic so I’m not particularly proficient with snails but it did feel a bit odd.

New Angel, Dartmouth, Devon 8
Fillet of South Devon beef with fricassee of bone marrow, smoked bacon and Umberleigh snails

Now for the dessert course, initially we had planned to share three plates among us five, but the “Warm chocolate tart with Devon clotted cream” sounded so good that both me and my brother wanted one each. Luckily too as one of the very rich dark smooth chocolate filling was definitely not enough to go around, full though we were.

New Angel, Dartmouth, Devon 7
Warm chocolate tart with Devon clotted cream

Unfortunately, the “New Angel vanilla conde served with a damson compote” was a bit weird for my tastes; I’m not particularly sure what a ‘conde’ is but the dessert appeared to be a rice pudding. Biting into the dish, individual rice grains can be felt which I for whatever reason found odd.

New Angel, Dartmouth, Devon 6
New Angel vanilla conde served with a damson compote

Anyway, the “Warm damson and almond tart” chosen off the ala carte menu was pretty good. It was essentially an almond tart with slices of damson (a type of plum) scattered about.

New Angel, Dartmouth, Devon 5
Warm damson and almond tart

To wrap things up, the lunch cost about £30 from memory but we didn’t order any wine and just had tap water (I’m one of those that can’t really taste the difference between Evian and Tesco bottled water, so why bother?).

Food – 8.0
Service – 6.0
Atmosphere – 5.0
Value – 6.0

While not perfect, in general the food here is actually very good and on par with the other Michelin starred restaurants in London; I don’t recall making many negative points about the food. However, the décor does feel a bit sterile and it lacks any real sort of character.

Would I eat here again? Let’s just say I wouldn’t particularly drive 5 hours from London for this, but I wouldn’t mind dropping in again if I was in the area; a bit like the Sportsman Seasalter really.

PS. Sorry, I lied about it being short, I tried though.

The New Angel
2 South Embankment,
TQ6 9BH.
Tel:+44(0)1803 839425

Official website

Check out:

Around Cornwall --> Here

Rick Stein’s Fish & Chips, Padstow, Cornwall --> Here


Around Cornwall [Travel]

Here are some pictures of our holiday in Cornwall with my in-laws. Cornwall is really pretty and picturesque with lots of quaint little fishing villages.

Our first stop - Stonehenge.

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Our Cornwall 'base' - Polperro, a very picturesque fishing village.

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The 'wonderful' coastal walk from Polperro to Looe.

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On the way to Minack theatre.

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St Michael's mount

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Minack theatre - an open-air theatre

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Mousehole - another random tiny fishing village.

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Eden project - huge greenhouse with plants from all around the world.

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Cornwall uk eden project

Check out all the delicious food we ate in Cornwall:

Rick Stein’s Fish & Chips, Padstow --> Here