Monday, 27 July 2009

Pearl Cafe

Fine diners have taken to the casual eating place like AFL teams have embraced the small forward that applies pressure or the rolling zone. First it was Guy Grossi and Cellar Bar. Then it was Shannon Bennett and Café Vue. Justin North, Plan B. Neil Perry and Rockpool Bar. Press Club Bar. Movida Next Door.

As with all these spin offs, the renowned chefs bring customary class. Pearl Café is no different, from the pearly white lab bench that’s the communal table in the middle, a massive suspended shelf that houses wines and coffees above the counter displaying refrigerated goodies, snow flake light pendants dangle from the ceiling, the cute cartoony Imperial male and female salt and pepper shakers and the serving dishes a charcoal black. Nice touches.

This continues with the food with simple tweets made to relatively standard café dishes. Breakfast includes muesli with biodynamic yoghurt, fruit salad that’s marinated in fresh ginger and spearmint. Organic eggs come with different choices that made me wish they could do a mini degustation to try them all. A green chicken curry not typically creamy coconut type, a much more refined version. Macaroni cheese with double smoked bacon, leeks and Gruyere looks like a bit of a pasta bake but Mr Perry’s edges this one. Wagyu steak and veal kidney pot pie with puff pasty lid absolutely brilliant, the tomato relish adds another dimension to the already potent meat mix. All it needs is a side of fries.

For something sweet and both served in stemless wine glasses, citrus trifle with vanilla custard and mandarin jelly good but also reminded me why I don’t like trifle in general (soggy sponge doesn’t do it for me), the passionfruit pavlova celebrates the classic Aussie dessert.

Looks like the latest tactics in the AFL are here to stay, part of a successful formula. Likewise in the eating world, this trend of offshoots is something that can continue on for our benefit.

3.5 / 5 yums!
Where? 599 Church St, Richmond, VIC
What? Around $15

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