A Review From The Western Daily Press...


04 August 2007 Mervyn Hancock visits the latest Chinese restaurant to open in Frome, and enjoys a bird's eye view of the town with his meal

Two years ago, the good folk of Frome, in Somerset, were be- moaning the fact that there wasn't a single Chinese restaurant in the town where they could sit down and enjoy a meal.But thanks to some pretty swift changes, there are now three. And the latest to open its doors, in historic Palmer Street, not only offers birds' nest soup, but also a bird's eye view over the town.

Some hands were raised in horror when traditional shops and stores underwent a massive transformation into an enter- tainment complex, but the opening of a new family-style bar, Indian restaurant and now the Dragon Pearl Chinese eatery has breathed new life into the entire area.

And it only takes a quick glance for customers to realise that a great deal of time, money and effort have gone into creating a dining experience which is easy on the eye, wonderfully welcoming, and not too hard on the pocket either.

There's a lift to take anyone unable to manage the stairs to the dining room, where those lucky enough to get a window seat can enjoy the view of Bath Street and St John's Church as they wait for their meal.

My wife Sue, daughter Sharon and I ventured in on the first week of opening, so we expected a bit of fuss to be made of us by a new and eager staff - and we were not disappointed.

Drinks arrived with a flourish, with complimentary prawn crackers and, as well as a choice from the ?? la carte menu, there were also set meals for people who wanted to leave the variety of dishes in the hands of the chef.

The first surprise was the size of the soup bowls. At the Dragon Pearl they are twice the size you would expect in a Chinese restaurant, and there was no skimping on the portions. Sharon ordered the crab and sweetcorn and I decided to taste the wontons - there was so much of it that the helpful waitress (who took our order by numbers after explaining she was pretty new to the job) suggested bringing another empty bowl, so that Sue could join in the starters.

The second pleasant surprise was the crispy aromatic duck. We ordered half between the three of us, and the amount of meat, accompanying onion strips, cucumber and pancakes would easily have satisfied four people - although we didn't have any difficulty in sending back a clean plate.

The attentive staff in smart uniforms hovered discreetly, making sure that glasses that needed replenishing didn't remain empty, and I noticed that all the customers were encouraged to try their hand with chopsticks - although a spoon was on hand to mop up the delicious sauces.

The complimentary sorbet to freshen the taste buds between the starters and the main courses was also a very nice, and welcome, touch. I also appreciated being asked by the staff if we wished to take a rest before the main event - many places simply bring on the food whether you are ready or not.

We didn't want to tarry, though, and Cantonese-style chicken, in a mouth-watering sauce, huge king prawns bathed in sweet and sour juices and steamed rice with large slices of crispy pork were all piping hot, cooked to perfection, and presented with chunks of pineapple and vegetables.

But there was yet another surprise up the chef's sleeve. The best strips of crispy beef that I have ever tasted in any Chinese establishment arrived in a nest-style basket which looked good enough to eat. And so we ate it. It turned out to be made from a weave of toasted potatoes, although we wouldn't have known until the waitress told us.

I noticed a family on the next table enjoying meats and vegetables served on sizzling platters, and the clever table layout means there are sizes to fit large parties down to single diners, without feeling cramped or confined.

By the end of the main event we were all too full to contemplate sweets, although I did cast my eye over the menu and saw a selection of sorbets, ice creams, puddings and other delights at very reasonable prices.

Sue completed her meal with a Calypso coffee topped with fresh cream and I chose a similar treat - minus the alcohol. The after-dinner chocolates were not needed to sweeten the bill, either - the whole lot, including two generous glasses of wine, two sparkling mineral waters and my glass of lager, came to £69.35. We did escape having to pay VAT, though, because the place is so new it hasn't had to register yet.

Like many others in Frome, I watched with some misgivings as Palmer Street - one of the oldest and most historic parts of the town - underwent a facelift. But the Dragon Pearl is a fine addition to Frome's eating out experiences, and a credit to the new owners.

From The Frome TV Team...

Frome TVThe Chinese Experience At Dragon Pearl

If you feel like Chinese food and want to dine in style and comfort, then you have to look no further than the most unique Chinese restaurant in the area.

Dragon Pearl has captured all that is good about Chinese cuisine and the flavour of the Orient. With original Chinese dishes prepared and cooked with natural ingredients the menu has a choice to suit everyone's taste. There is also a very comprehensive choice for vegetarians.

The staff freely offer advice about the food and wine and bring the restaurant alive with their excellent service without being over attentive, allowing you to enjoy an intimate dining experience in a vibrant atmosphere. Alternatively they also provide an exceptional take away menu.

Simple go to their website phone in your order and pick up within 20 minutes.

To complement the meal is a wine list which has been carefully chosen to complement the quality of the food ranging from very good and reasonable priced reds and whites to some of the very best and exclusive wines for that special occasion or for someone special!

The Dragon Pearl is a must for anyone who enjoys good food and good value.

click here to see the feature and video on the frome tv website...

Dragon Pearl

BA11 1DS




Monday - Closed

Sunday - Thursday
5:00pm - 9:30pm

Friday & Saturday
5:00pm - 9:30pm


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