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“Nice food, average service, not a bad experience”

Pearl of the Orient
Ranked #176 of 1,217 Restaurants in Cardiff
Cuisines: Chinese, Asian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Families with children, Kids, Business meetings, Special occasions, Large groups
Dining options: Dinner, Late Night, Lunch, Accepts American Express, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Free Wifi, Full Bar, Highchairs Available, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Takeout, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
Description: Since opening in 2001 Pearl of the Orient is seen by many as Cardiff's Premier Oriental restaurant. Situated in the opulent surroundings of Cardiff Bay's Mermaid Quay offers discerning customers the finest Cantonese, Peking, Malaysian and Szechwan as well as catering for Vegetarians in contemporary relaxed surroundings.
Cardiff, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
81 reviews
49 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 67 helpful votes
“Nice food, average service, not a bad experience”
Reviewed March 11, 2014 via mobile

I bought a KGB voucher for a 3-course meal for two at £19.
When we arrived, the waiter asked for the voucher at the door before he seated us, this felt a little awkward.
Once seated in the main restaurant, he gave us a separate menu to the main one, and a wine list, then took our menus away.
We were confused but then realised that it was a set menu and they would bring everything.

Wine was nice but expensive as everything was.

The waiter informed us that we purchased a two course meal, not three. This wasn't true, so after talking with him, I just agreed with him as he wouldn't take no for an answer. 5 minutes later, he came back and apologised and said the voucher had been misprinted, we can have the ice cream if we want.

We ordered 1/2 duck as an extra which was £5per person- not a bad price. Thee was plenty of duck which was tasty and crunchy on the outside.
Starter was a mixed hors-d-oeuvres which included two spare ribs, 2 slices sesame prawn toasts, seaweed, and 2 spring rolls.
Everything on this platter was tasty, although greasy as it had all been fried.

Main course was salt and garlic calamari, beef in black bean sauce and a spicy pork dish. Also a choice of jasmine rice or pineapple fried rice.

The beef dish was lovely, the meat itself was cooked medium which was perfect for us.
The pork dish was tasty but perhaps too spicy to each too much of.
I enjoyed the calamari dish but my partner didn't as she doesn't like it usually.

Perhaps it would have been beneficial if we could have chosen our own items from a set menu, that way we could have picked things we enjoy.

Overall we enjoyed it here, but we have been to many Chinese restaurants which are of the equivalent or even better quality and cheaper.

Thank chantelleandmel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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400 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Norwegian first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
14 reviews
11 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“A little pricey but excellent food”
Reviewed March 10, 2014

Ended up here after not being able to find anywhere else we particularly fancied around Cardiff Bay.

The restaurant itself looks ok, although could do with an update. When we arrived it was about 8pm and there was only one other table with people sat at it.

The staff were extremely helpful and friendly and were very quick with their service. The tables are set with chopsticks only but knives and forks provided on request (I got away with using chopsticks most of the time, but had to give up in the end)

For starters I had shallow fried dumplings, which were excellent. My partner had fragrant and aromatic spare ribs, which she also enjoyed.

For my main I had sizzling spicy mixed seafood. After ordering I was a little concerned it would include whole baby squid but luckily it was just tentacles. This tasted very nice and was still sizzling away when brought to the table. Would have it again without question.

My partner initially ordered hong kong roasted crispy pork belly, but had to change this after the waitress returned to say they didn't have any left. She then had the hong kong assorted roasted meat platter. When this arrived it was exceptional, she said the pork included in it was the best she had ever had. Her only complaint was that some of the meat was quite fatty and there wasn't more pork!

We both had dessert after seeing they included more than is traditionally available at a Chinese restaurant. I had the profiteroles which I enjoyed and my partner had chocolate fudge cake, which she also enjoyed.

When paying for the meal we were a little surprised at how expensive the whole thing was, but had no complaints considering the quality of the food. We were slightly put off by a tip being included on the bill automatically, however it was the amount we would have given anyway.

  • Visited March 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Matthew M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
South Wales
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Like going back in time to when it was ok to give bad service and mediocre food”
Reviewed March 9, 2014

I'm not normally one to write a bad review but I'm afraid the service and experience we had today at the pearl if the orient was was really poor. Food was ok( albeit no better than an average takeaway) but service was laughably bad. Examples include no gluten free options whatsoever, sauce being spilt over my shirt during the clear up following the starter course with only a cursory apology, the wrong drinks arriving, the wrong starters arriving, .... Etc.. None of this terrible in itself obviously, it just felt a bit rubbish really. The most annoying thing was the fact they had no idea if the food had gluten in it - the waiter asked the kitchen staff and they 'couldn't guarantee it either way'. Only conclusion therefore is nothing is cooked fresh or on the premises from scratch. All in all it was pretty poor and would absolutely not go back.

  • Visited March 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1 Thank WelshWalkers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cardiff, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
73 reviews
57 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 71 helpful votes
“Return visit”
Reviewed March 7, 2014

Pearl of the Orient seems to be one of those places you either love or hate - as can been by the review on here.

I don't know if I have just been lucky, but I've always found it very nice and have had several meals (sit down and takeaway) over the years and have always enjoyed them.

The inside deco is hard to love, but is actually very close to a great number of places I visited while in China. The same could be said of the food.

This could be why it puts several reviewers off.

I would also praise the ajoining bar. One of the few places where you can get good Japanise whiskey.

  • Visited January 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank ALP86
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
67 reviews
38 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
“Not the same place it used to be.”
Reviewed March 1, 2014

I used to come here when I visited Cardiff and it was something special (a few years ago). Now I wouldn't go back if I was paid!!

I was with two other friends and we ordered food that we knew we liked. Upon tasting mine I really couldn't eat it as it was so disgusting. I told the lovely waitress (who was the only redeeming thing about the entire place) who apologised and tasted the dish as she said she eats it all the time. She agreed with me and said that it was disgusting. She took the dish away only for it to be brought back about 5 minutes later by her manager who insisted there was nothing wrong with it!!!!!

Only three of us went that night and all three of us sent our mains back. I am sorry to say but if you used to love the Pearl of the Orient you will be bitterly disappointed as it is not what it once was. They are now offering deals on Groupon which basically says it all - desperate for custom.


  • Visited November 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1 Thank shellkixass
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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