Pearl Garden restaurant, Newmarket, Auckland

Pearl Garden (1 Teed Street, 09-523 3696) has been at Newmarket for decades, and is probably one of the first ‘proper’ Chinese restaurants to cater to the wider Auckland population. I have been here for yum cha during the weekend; its location at Teed Street makes it an ideal refueling stop during a busy day shopping the boutiques in Newmarket.

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I have never considered coming here for dinner, as there are more convenient and cheaper options around the city. However, the opportunity arose when GrabOne (a deal-a-day coupon site) offered a $29 voucher for $70 worth of food at Pearl Garden for dinner.

I came here twice, the first evening to sample their Peking duck (two courses $75).  This has to be ordered in advance.  The duck was good even though it needed to be warmer, however the pancake was floury and dry and let the dish down.

The second duck course was the San Chow Bow (diced duck meat cooked with vegetables and deep-fried vermicelli, served in lettuce ‘bowls’). This was quite tasty, and there was the portion was generous, – enough for lunch the following day.

The second evening, we came to sample the other menu items. We started with deep-fried chicken ($23), which was a highlight, – the meat was lightly seasoned and the skin was crisp but not oily.

The beef special ($25) was deep-fried battered beef strips in a honeyed sauce. The beef was in such small strips that all you could taste was the sweet crunchy batter.

I couldn’t remember what this was called; it consisted of spinach cooked with whole cloves of garlic, egg white and century egg. I actually quite liked this, but then again, I do love century eggs!

We finished off with mango pudding, which was a bit too sweet for my taste. Overall, Pearl Garden has a nice atmosphere, and does yum cha well, but for evening meals, it is pricey and the dishes are not consistent.

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