Don’t let the Crossrail construction works around Paddington station or the less-than-lovely glass and concrete tower blocks put you off coming here. The spacious room is a real looker – sexy enough to get even a panda in the mood for love – with its dark slate flooring, mauve chair covers, and flower blossom designs that appear on lampshades and a long wall mural. There’s a moodily lit cocktail bar too. Pearl Liang remains very popular – the place was already heaving when we arrived.
The extensive menu focuses on Cantonese fare, but also strays into south-east Asia with the likes of phad thai and kway teow. Luxury ingredients such as abalone and shark’s fin appear in various guises. We’ve yet to be disappointed with the dim sum (visit during the day for the full selection). Steamed dumplings take pride of place, including prawn laced with a smear of wasabi. The inventive streak continued with heavenly morsels filled with prawn, courgette and celery, while prawn and barbecued pork versions of cheung fun provided a medley of umami flavours. Diced water chestnuts gave a lovely bounce to fried octopus cake, with a hint of coriander adding a final exotic touch. A dish of lobster noodles was slightly overcooked. Service was fast, but not, thankfully, furious.