RESTAURANT REVIEW: Pearl Court Restaurant | Gerrard Indian Bazaar | TOEast
If you haven’t spent any time on Gerrard St east of Broadview I strongly suggest you make it a priority and hustle yourself out there. It is a gem of a neighbourhood where you will find treats and treasures you never knew you needed. Not least of which is Pearl Court Restaurant at 633 Gerrard St. E. which has been in business in the neighbourhood since 1982. If you are having any doubts about the date then I suggest all you need do is walk through the doors and up the flight of stairs to the all day dim sum and you will know instantly that 1982 is still alive and well. It is retro at its finest with no hint of irony.
The paper lanterns, fake flowers and gold and red dragon designs will leave you with no doubt that you are indeed in for an authentic experience. The thin plastic table toppers which stick to your forearms designed for easy clean up at the end of your visit confirms this fact. The service is classic dim sum style. Carts being pushed with unapologetically chair bumping efficiency and the staff in their assortment of baseball hats and aprons which were potentially purchased (and possibly also last washed) in 1982. They holler out their offerings as they pass your table which happily include an English translation. Typical of dim sum service, the carts blaze through the room at lightening speed. Conveniently this means that if you arrive and the dessert carts are coming through you need not wait terribly long for the main course dumplings to follow. Rapid fire service is something one comes to expect at any dim sum restaurant, but Pearl Court out does itself. This blazingly quick service has a way of increasing the likelihood of over ordering, clever marketing on the restaurants part but a little self control as a diner is necessary. The Siu Mai and Har Gow, (I know I know, how expected and boring of me, sue me, I don’t like chicken’s feet!) are steamed to perfection and generously filled. The shining star of the dumplings order was hands down the shrimp and chive filled. Seconds were ordered immediately and thirds were contemplated. (Siu Mai, Left and Har Gow, Right shrimp herb fried dumpling, Below)
The sticky rice in lotus leaf is seasoned by the hands of a master, and served in three smaller portions as opposed to the typical larger single leaf portion. I prefer this presentation as I could have one whole rice filled leaf to myself. Honestly this rice was so good with its hint of anise that I would have taken one of the larger ones to myself given a sniff of a chance.
Spring rolls at many dim sum restaurants are all too often merely tasteless and greasy. Not so at Pearl Court. They are delicately fried and once again stuffed abundantly with fresh and flavourful fillings. The rolls are offered in both veggie and shrimp and you will get what the server decides you will get!
Although this reviewer is not a fan of the sticky bun I was convinced by dining companions enthusiasm over them to try Pearl Court’s BBQ Pork Sticky Bun. I was not disappointed that I did. Liberally filled with rich, flavourful and fresh ingredients. We did try an order of the fried octopus but felt it was uncharacteristically greasy given how delicate the other fried dishes had been.
While I tease about the decor and service being straight out of 1982 I can happily report that the prices also reflect a time long past. Four people stuffed to the gills having enjoyed several sharing baskets of their seasoned, steamed and fried to perfection dumplings and spring rolls, including 5 beers and the bill was a very reasonable $90.
The overall average rating was: 2.75 [yasr_overall_rating size=”medium”]
This is how they ranked:
Atmosphere – 2 (but completely adds to the overall experience) service – a very brusque and efficient 2.5
Food Source – given the neighbourhood and awesome (if perhaps over enthusiastically fishy smelling) grocery store next door a solid – 3
Taste – 3.75
Cost – 4
Vibe – The place where it’s all 1982 inside but the taste assures you that the kitchen is where all their energies are going!
Stacia Carlton is a culinary school graduate and food writer with a passion for all types of Mediterranean food done right. You can find her weekly at www.bestillandeat.com