Pearl Dragon used to be run by the same chef who was in charge of Jade Dragon at City of Dreams, Mr Tam Kwok Fong. I had a similar dining experience and both places, and even gave them the same star ranking, before I knew they were affiliated.
Of the two restaurants Jade Dragon is far more visually striking and the venue to try if you’re looking for a special meal out. Pearl Dragon, on the other hand, uses a lot more heavy muted retro tones, and wouldn’t look out of place if time reversed back to 1993.
Just like my experience at Jade Dragon, some dishes rocked my world while others left it flatter than a medieval globe.
The Roasted Minced Goose ($64) was middling at best, and tasted like a fast food snack you could buy at a supermarket, like one of those free samples in a Costco aisle.
The Double Boiled Pork Soup with Octopus ($68) was more of the same, just a boring bowl of bland Cantonese soup that went nowhere.
The worst dish of all was the Lamb With Cumin ($168), which was either overcooked or under cooked and I couldn’t tell which one. Either way, it had a gross slippery texture and didn’t taste like much like anything; the onions and dressing adding next to nothing as well.
And then out of nowhere, my whole meal turned with two dishes that were simply flawless, both five stars all the way. Somewhat similar to a salad, the Chicken Julienne with Mushrooms and Lettuce ($108) oozed brilliance with every bite, garnished in some kind of sauce that was extraordinary.
When the Seafood Rice and Lobster Soup ($168) I could believe how small the bowl was. Incensed and indignant, three letters were spinning around my head doing pirouettes, which of course were WTF, WTF, WTF. And then I tried it, and the letters immediately switched to OMG, OMG, OMG…. My Lord, what a dish.
The lobster soup was the star of the show, so tantalizingly delicious and the perfect complement to the crispy crunchy rice. Of course, if I’d only ordered those two dishes, then I’d be going on about how Pearl Dragon is Macau’s best new dining venue, bar none. Unfortunately not everything they serve there is prepared to that standard.
As is somewhat customary in high end Chinese restaurants in Macau, free dessert was given at the end of the meal, something I always appreciate.
All in all, it was a hit and miss affair at Pearl Dragon. Sometimes the dragon spewed fire, sometimes it was foul morning breath. Expect it to go both ways, my friends.