Love. Lust. The post-coital ciggie.
That was dessert at Pearl.
The “Love” is that you will want to get down on bended knee to propose to Geoff Lindsay’s signature chopped Turkish delight mashed into rose petal ice cream, glace ginger and Persian fairy floss. It’s such a stunning combination of textures and flavours: the jelly, the silky frozen cream, the hairy light spun sugar, the crunch of the crystallised sugar. Worthy of a third of your annual salary to get a taste.
The “Lust” is the pure indulgent trio of crispy fried taro dumplings filled with molten white, milk and dark selvatica chocolate perched on a pool of vanilla custard and garnished with a delicate gold leaf. Your heart beat and libido won’t be the only thing that rises.
The “Post-Coital Ciggie” is a fluffy mandarin soufflé that’s paired with a gourmet tropical fruit salad and young coconut sorbet, the option that calms things right down.
It’s certainly an epic ending to look forward to. What about the rest?
To start, an everchanging tasting plate of four morsels entices but not all components worth mentioning. The mahi mahi pastrami and my first encounter with real fresh wasabi with a few small tiles of sashimi tuna the highlights. Only a fool like myself would pass up the seafood stuffed with seafood of banana prawns stuffed with spanner crab grilled with a hot and sour sauce. Agedashi tofu given the fine dining upgrade with eggplant, oysters, shimji mushrooms and salmon caviar garnish.
A non Asian option of rabbit is studded with red grapes and wrapped in prosciutto, surrounded by a puddle of chestnut risotto drizzled with a verjus sauce a good combination of game and fruit sweetness. Tapioca crusts a fillet of red snapper, a lychee and pomelo vinaigrette has a touch of intrigue with an accompaniment of forbidden rice that moves the menu firmly back to the Asia.
Now if you’re going to pay 40 plus bucks for a curry, it better be pretty darn good. And bloody oath you’ll get what you paid for here as two Thai classics are given a twist and taken to 2 hat status. Wagyu brisket is slowly braised in a light but amazingly fragrant green curry, the meat requires minimal mouth movements to break down the fibres. I loved the free rein and real sense of Asian home eating in the signature main that comes in three bowls. In one, duck is marinaded in mandarin with more of the citrus flavour found in the aromatic red curry, deftly balancing sweet, spices, herbs and chilli. Another bowl carries rich coconut rice and a crispy fried egg in the other, yolk oozing out as you mash it into the fresh mint, sliced chilli and sweet fish sauce. Take a bit of each in a mouthful to taste the creative brilliance.
It’s bold, stunning modern Asian that will take you through most of the good human emotions. And when I left, I felt one more… the yearning for more Pearl.
4 / 5 yums!
Where? 631/633 Church St, Richmond, VIC
What? Entrees $30, Mains $40, Desserts $20
Left to Right: Tasting Plate, Prawns, Tofu, Rabbit, Snapper, Beef, Duck, Turkish Delight, Taro Dumplings, Souffle, Jaffa