The old computer shop turned restaurant in Prestwich aiming to be ‘like going to a friend’s house’

The Pearl is small and perfectly formed

By Ben Arnold | 13 November 2023

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Like politicians, we get the restaurants we deserve. So Prestwich must be doing something right.

The Pearl has just opened on Bury New Road, and it’s the kind of neighbourhood restaurant that makes you want to trade neighbourhoods.

Just a couple of years ago, owner and keen cook Sam Taylor was working in copywriting, but jacked it all in to start an upscale sandwich pop-up called San San, thinking ‘I cook at home, how hard can it be?’

Quite hard, as it turns out, and after a baptism of fire, he and wife Mel decided to take what they’d learned and plunge it into their own place, and make it an extension of their own house.

The Pearl

“It’s been crazy, with bits of fun in there,” says Sam. They raised £25,000 in just a few weeks on Kickstarter, and after gutting an old computer shop and putting in a kitchen, they’re ready to go.

“At one point, I was thinking ‘maybe I could be the chef’, but now I’ve seen the food that Iain’s putting out,” says Sam.

Iain is Iain Thomas, former head chef at The Alan and the Edinburgh Castle in Ancoats, and now in charge of the stoves at The Pearl.

“Things like layered terrines with confit chicken, roast chicken and parfait. Homemade brioche toast, with chutney from my allotment,” Iain tells Finest, running us through the menu of ‘old school cooking’, as he calls it.

“Braised beef with mashed potato. Arnold Bennett omelette. Homely, but slightly refined. And you can’t have a restaurant in Manchester without doing some sort of layered potato dish.”

The Pearl ‘chips’ are pretty involved – 12 see-through thin layers of potato, soaked in butter, then a layer of braised ox cheek, then another 12 layers of potato. It’s all deep fried and topped with dill pickle gel and blobs of French’s yellow mustard. It’s a mighty chip. 

Ducks get flamed with hay to give them a smokey flavour, celeriac is baked in a salt crust and for pudding, apples come from ‘SK14’, before being roasted and then made into a crumble.

Like all the best ones, it’s a great menu which sounds simple, but isn’t really.

“There are places you go in Europe, family places, and they just really care about the food and drink they’re serving,” Sam says. 

“But they’re not posh. They’re just family restaurants. That’s what we wanted to create. 

“This place looks like our house. It’s our living room. And we want people to feel like they’re at home here.”

The Pearl is open now. 

425 Bury New Rd, Prestwich, Manchester M25 1AF