Sometimes in life it’s really fun to luxuriate in a little bit of swank. As in, going to a really all-bells-all-whistles top restaurant, where the food is stacked in fancy towers and the cocktails take ages to mix. Usually I’d find such places intimidating and over-fussy, but sometimes they can be all-out fun if the service is friendly. Such a place is Pearl, the restaurant where the chef is hunky chisel-cheeked Jun Tanaka. It’s all orchids in bowls, black silk, crisp white linen. The food is to-die-for. The staff are lovely. Not so sure about the piano player-cum-singer wailing out soft-rock ballads on the baby grand in the bar, but hey, I suppose this is a restaurant in a hotel, and that’s a typical hotel trademark…
I hasten to add that I could probably never afford to go here on my own, but was kindly treated to this experience by my father-in-law for the celebration of my step-mum-in-law’s birthday. Weirdly, he had a total a nightmare trying to get any decent London restaurant to accept a booking for a table of eight people. (I mean, we’re not all hen parties! Large family gatherings must be commonplace in this city, so why is it so difficult to get a large table booking?) Thankfully Pearl was able to accommodate us – and to make amends for a booking mix-up, they gave us the private room for free: this was uber swank – all the lampshades were dripping in strings of beads and pearls and a huge bowl of purple orchids as big as a fishtank decorated the table as a centrepiece.
The food is proper Michelin-standard fare – I hope the pictures say it all:
Palate cleanser of celeriac and citrus-infused jelly: amazing:
Thinly sliced raw bream on a barley risotto with lemon zest:
Vegetable plate: aubergine caviar, tempura courgette, mozarella, tomato:
Fish topped with thinly sliced chorizo:
Er, how posh? A pre-dessert of giant couscous with vanilla cream and mango (yum):
The incredible cheese plate:
Pineapple cheesecake with other fancy accoutrements:
Homemade vanilla yoghurt with rhubarb compote and ginger ice cream:
252 High Holborn
London, WC1V 7EN
Phone: 020 7829 7000
My sister and I had a lovely meal at Pearl last year, for our birthday. Service and food were excellent!