Buongiorno, bonjour and “g’day”! (don't you like how they're all the same thing? ~ who knew Australian vernacular was so cosmopolitan???).

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It’s your old pal Kit (Christof) Fennessy here. I've been writing this blog with your help for ten years, and there's over a hundred and fifty recipes, restaurant reviews of Australia and around the world, and general gourmet articles in these pages for you to fritter away your idle hours on.

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Now, what's on the bill of fare today?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Pearl Restaurant

631–633 Church Street
Richmond Victoria 3121

Like going to any block buster movie you've heard great reviews of, you're inevitably disappointed when you finally get to see it.

"But what about the exploding fire truck?"
"Eh, I saw it coming."
"The swinging midgets hanging from the helicopter?"
"Come on, how about the latex love scene?"

So too Pearl, though it was certainly one slick affair to remember.

We recently visited Pearl as a study in design, marketing, public relations, etc. on our corporate development day. It won best new young chef and also won the best service awards in the Age Good Food Guide, so we arrived with high expectations.

The decor was light and airy, the front door opened magically as we approached and I might add that the food was delicious. The bill was impressively top end - but I don't know, I left feeling slightly deflated. Could it have been the waiting staff? Fast and compliant, they seemed to lack a bit of the bon homie I've come to expect in truly great dining experiences. Austerity went out with snooty French waiters looking down their noses at people using the incorrect cutlery. And trust me, we used the right cutlery. Still, I can understand their being a little reserved, some of the clientele there were scary; at those prices I imagine it's only the "let's cut the balls off the competition" type people who can afford to eat there regularly.

The pearl meat entree and modern takes on sashimi were simply delicious. My advice would be to probably focus on the pescatorian side of the coin; a restaurant called Pearl has obviously chosen a fish themed name for a reason. That said, the red duck curry is a specialty de maison, but only eat it if you avoided entree. They're also famous for their desserts a la Turkish Delight, fairy floss and coconut ice (refer to Geraldine of Camberwell's recipe in the original Disco Volante... or was it edition 2?).

The wine list was excellent and the somnalier outdid himself with his selections of wines to match what was a quite diverse dining experience. Rich food, pleasant surroundings, scared stiff staff - it took my intestinal tract 24 hours to recover.

I give it 7 tentacles out of 8 (it really was good).

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