Pearl Bayview (Toronto)

Pearl Bayview doesn’t necessarily serve traditional Chinese cuisine but isn’t “chop suey” either. After three visits, I’ve come to conclude that their dim sum is the most dependable; everything else seems to have been tweaked to become repulsively sweet.

For example, the hot and sour soup ($6) is clearly coloured with ketchup, which adds a faint sugariness despite the spiciness of the soup. It’s a shame, since the dish could have been good, there was plenty of ingredients (chicken, tofu and bamboo slivers) and was a nice consistency. By removing the ketchup and adding something for colour (such as the typical black fungus and green onion) it could have been an enjoyable soup.

The Singapore noodles ($16.50) also contained an unnecessary sweet twinge. It’s hard to pinpoint the origin of the sugariness – perhaps it’s the glaze on the barbeque pork or the preserved vegetables. Whatever it is, it's not for me. This noodle that normally has a great savoury curry essence tasted like eating candy.

Following choy suey customs isn’t always negative: the complimentary shrimp chips given immediately upon seating is always appreciated. Just ensure they provide you with the dim sum sheet as their menus are haphazardly given: we had to ask for the sheet and there seems to be a combo special where we didn’t receive the information.

Both the siu mai ($6; steamed pork dumpling) and pan fried hockey pucks ($6) were tasty. The siu mai contained large shrimp pieces within the juicy pork mixture and had Chinese mushrooms and roe to augment the flavour. The hockey pucks were fresh and hot, the crispy wonton wrapper enclosing a flavourful shrimp, pork and chives filling.

For its large size, the sticky rice ($7) lacked the large chunks of ingredients you’d expect. There was merely some diced chicken, slivers of Chinese sausage (lap cheung) and an egg yolk. Overall, it lacked seasoning and the rice stuck to the lotus leaf making it hard to remove.

For me, Pearl’s dim sum was clearly the more delicious choice, but even then wasn’t fantastic. Sadly, the quality seemed to have diminished since our dinner a year ago. I urge the chef to reconsider the seasonings and condiments used in their recipes, as the sweet offerings has caused this to be my last visit.

Overall mark - 5 out of 10

How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 2901 Bayview Avenue (inside Bayview Village)

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Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!

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