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I remember the dark old days of West Bridgford when it was 3 pubs, couple of take-always of mixed quality and nowhere to eat out. Well, that is unless you liked pork scratching and a knuckle (bare) sandwich. Now things could not be more different with restaurants and bars offering cuisine from all corners of the globe (note: this is Britain’s major culinary contribution to the world, if you don’t believe me go to a French or Italian town).

As someone who is not that keen on takeaways (I’d prefer to cook myself) I’ve always pined for some decent Chinese food from a good quality restaurant, and I am glad to report I have to pine no longer. Yes, I have found hidden in front of me a Chinese restaurant of the very highest order! Where you may ask –  err, next door to the Stratford Haven where I am quite often found sampling the hop juice +: namely the Pearl Bar and Restaurant.

I don’t know how I have ignored this lovely restaurant for so long, but I can tell you all dear readers that they have now found a regular customer. I loved everything about it; the ambience, décor, the other (friendly customers), the booze and of course the food. From the moment myself and Not Very Glamorous Dining Companion (NVGDC ) entered we were greeted with a smile so big I thought the Cheshire Cat had whisked us off to play croquet with a flamingo and a hedgehog. And from there things went up hill.

When ordering we were given the right amount of assistance ( too much and it’s annoying, not enough and sometimes you don’t know what you are ordering ) and we experienced something similar with the wine (although both NVGDC and myself are self-appointed know-it-all’s when it comes to booze we appreciated the assistance). In fact this must be the first Chinese restaurant I have been to, certainly in Nottingham, where the wine waiter was knowledgeable, and had what can only be called a top rate list of wines to advise on.

As to the food: well I was literally bowled over.  From the complimentary prawn crackers which were the best I have ever eaten, and were so good we cleaned the plate!  They came with dipping sauces which were equally good. For a starter we sampled some vegetarian pancake rolls (crispy, full of flavour and not dripping oil everywhere) which were consumed with gusto, only matched by the way we despatched the quarter Peking duck. Quite frankly superb.

For mains I haven’t got a clue what NVGDC had as I was transfixed with my own – steamed bass fillets which were accompanied with the house special fried rice. I honestly loved every mouthful. The fish was cooked to perfection and full of flavour. Likewise the rice was perfectly cooked and not some burnt offering to the god of take away’s.

I loved my meal at the Pearl, and I am going back there very shortly. I loved it; excellent authentic cuisine, great booze, and some of the loveliest people I have had the pleasure of being served by.

Roger Murrow

The Pearl Bar and Restaurant is located next door to the Stratford Haven. If you spot a small bedraggled middle aged Welshman there take pity on him and buy him a pint of Harvest Pale & offer RSViP members 25% off final food bill (Sunday-Friday & on A la-Carte menu ).

The Pearl, 42-44 Bridgford Road, West Bridgford, Nottingham, NG2 6AP

0115 9455 048

the-pearl.co.uk

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