Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Chinese Cuisine: The New Pearl at Bayview Village

Sleek, cool and contemporary, the new Pearl Chinese Cuisine just opened a few months ago at Bayview Village. As the second location of the wildly successful Pearl Harbourfront, the new BV jewel offers the same delicious chinese cuisine and dim sum as its waterfront cousin, but in a much smaller and compact space — only 90 seats, compared to 250 at Harbourfront. Nestled in the southwest corner of Bayview Village, across from the recently remodelled O&B, owner Kim Mak's Pearl Bayview is a beacon of high quality chinese food in an area that has witnessed a population explosion in the last few years, with the influx of high-rise condominiums into the area.

Having worked in the Pearl restaurant’s kitchen since 1989, Mak, along with some associates, purchased the restaurant last year after the previous owners — Szechuan restaurant Yen Ching Palace — decided to take a step back from the business. The decision to open up a location at Bayview Village was based entirely on demand from guests, Mak says, "It's a great location, and many of Pearl’s current patrons are from the area. Some staff from Harbourfront have been placed at Bayview to ensure consistency".

The cool blue and white interior of the new Pearl Bayview

The complete renovation of the existing space was spearheaded by superkül inc | architect, a small Toronto-based design practice. Their design for the Pearl Bayview layers white on white for a clean aesthetic as a counterpoint to the hectic mall environment of Bayview Village. Frosted glass and a screen in the shape of the iconic Pearl logo at the front, are both functional and strategic, creating a welcoming entry point to the restaurant, while at the same time providing a physical divide between the dining area and the stimulus outside.

Inspired by China's iconic plum blossom, the theme of the restaurant is evident in the design details, with the layering of materials and restrained tone on tone finishes, including vinyl decals and acrylic panels die cut in the shape of petals and flowers from the nation's Plum tree that blooms only in the winter. The restaurant's cool snow white and blue interior provides the perfect canvas for Pearl's high quality chinese cuisine which takes centre stage, with dishes such as Peking Duck, Chopped Rainbow, Braised Lobster with black bean and garlic sauce, Szechuan Style Shrimp in Phoenix Nest, Baby Bok Choy with oyster sauce, Kung Pao Chicken and Singapore Rice Vermicelli with Shrimp as well as their signature dessert, Deep Fried Banana with ice cream. Excellent chinese cuisine seamlessly delivered by Pearl's attentive and courteous staff, are obviously two of the reason's Kim Mak's new Pearl is doing a booming business. Satisfying the culinary demands of North York devotées of quality Chinese food and dim sum.

Pearl's slightly smaller menu due to the much-reduced seating 
of the restaurant's new location

Pearl's addictive Shrimp chips - light, crisp and melt in your mouth

Ice cold TsingTao beer and endless pots of hot green tea

Pearl's wonderful silver dragon chopstick holders

Crispy Vegetable Spring Rolls

Pan Fried Shrimp and Onion Pancakes — Pearl's signature 'Hockey Pucks' — 
a Dim Sum favourite!

Peking Duck served as two courses: the first with pancakes, shredded scallion, 
cucumber and hoisin sauce...

My artfully composed pancake

...and the second course: Chopped Rainbow in Crystal Fold

Szechuan Scallop and Shrimp

Ginger Chicken with onions and peppers

One of the best parts of dining out at a Chinese restaurant...