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Located at the second floor of the Star Tower of Studio City, Taipa, Pearl Dragon is the sister establishment of celebrated Chinese restaurant Jade Dragon, and is also overseen by celebrated chef Kwok-Fung Tam—a detail that promises a unique dining experience. Guests enter the restaurant, passing through a wine cellar-filled corridor and stylish waiting area before reaching the main dining area, divided into square rooms filled with evenly-spaced tables.
The spacious dining area, stylishly in shades of grey and green, yields a luxury home ambiance, complete with crystal chandeliers matching silver and white lamps hanging from the walls. The muted colours and silver accents bring a subdued sense of luxury in its interior design.
Pearl Dragon shines just as brightly as its sister establishment Jade Dragon, delivering abundant menu selections, from traditional Cantonese to ones with a contemporary twist.
We began with crisp suckling pig filled with shrimp paste, where crisp squares of pork crackling were filled with mounds of shrimp paste, topped with sesame and deep-fried until golden. Each bite into these filled pockets is a rich depth of textures. Chilled cherry tomatoes marinated with avocado oil and plum wine jelly is cooling and an excellent palate cleanser throughout the meal. Taken after the traditional gold coin chicken, foie gras parcel with mushroom and Iberico char siu masterfully replaced the fatty pork back with a silver of mushroom for a surprising twist.
Signature dishes such as stir-fried lobster with caviar is flawlessly executed, where lobster chunks are flash-fried with a tender texture. Wok seared Australian wagyu beef cubes with homemade black garlic demonstrates unparalleled wok-frying skills, the essence of Cantonese cooking. The succulent beef built a crunchy crust while inside remains juicy, best eaten in tandem with caramelised shallots and leeks and sweet cloves of black garlic. Classics such as sweet and sour pork with walnut and fruits is impressive, where bite-sized pork is golden, tossed with a tangy glaze that clings right on the crust. Poached baby spinach in green radish rings with quinoa in pumpkin sauce is individually portioned and a dish fusing east and west. Grains of quinoa dressed with a sweet pumpkin sauce, marks a light ending to the savoury part of the meal.
Guests can indulge in the modest array of desserts, where double-boiled peach resin and red date with pear is a simple but well-executed choice of nourishing desserts, while durian lovers must sample the deep-fried Musang King durian ice cream with rum sherry syrup, golden with a crisp crumb crust encasing the creamy and sweet ice cream within.
The wine list of Pearl Dragon is impressive, while by the glass options are on the beverage list that also features a rich selection of spirits from around the world, especially pages of rare spirits from China. The piece de resistance is Pearl Dragon’s tea menu, where guests can enjoy small batch seasonal harvests as well as rare teas and house special tea blends. We are particularly impressed with the choices for raw and ripe pu-er teas such as the Lao Ban Zhang Pu-er, a type of raw pu-er, its golden hue yields depth but little bitterness. Dong Ding Oolong is just as great with the restaurant’s offerings, the tea, brewed and poured at the table, guarantees the right brewing time and serving temperature to create the best yield from each brew.
Service at Pearl Dragon is seamless throughout the dining experience, even at peak capacity. Service staff demonstrate a full knowledge over the restaurant’s food offerings, offering sound suggestions on portion control and dish recommendations to guests. Staff are friendly with a pleasant smile throughout.
A fine dinner for two with artisan tea amounts to HK$2,300. Pearl Dragon’s offers Cantonese fine dining at its best, with well-rounded execution in menu offerings and service, a hard act to follow and to keep, but a promising start to a restaurant that is worthy of many returns.