Sunday, October 12, 2008

Pearl Cafe

599 Church St, Richmond Ph 03 9427 1307 - Website

Wikipedia says that disappointment is the feeling of dissatisfaction that follows the failure of expectations to manifest.

Never have I been as disappointed as when I visited Pearl Cafe.

I had been waiting months for Pearl Cafe to open, as apparently they had lots of problems with opening, so it was delayed for quite some time after the originally announced date of opening.

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, Pearl restaurant, it's in my top 3 favourite Melbourne restaurants, so with the news of Pearl Cafe opening and the return of their famous breakfasts, it's fair to say that I was excited!

The first time I visited Pearl Cafe for breakfast, I was instantly hit with disappointment and I hadn't even been served my meal yet. It turns out that they stop serving breakfast at 11am and we arrived right on 11! So at 11am, we had to order from the lunch menu. What is this, McDonalds? What sort of place in inner city Melbourne, especially one as respected as Pearl, doesn't serve all day breakfast - or at least breakfast until 2 or 3? I think the reason behind this, is the fact that as far as I'm aware, most of the food is prepared down the road at the actual Pearl restaurant and just headed onsite at the cafe. I know this because I saw a guy wheeling a tray of coddled eggs down the street as I was leaving.

So, that day I ended up ordering a somewhat dry and very average Macaroni and Cheese for what I guess you would call brunch. If it was my cafe, I wouldn't be putting this on the menu, if it was served everyday like this. Unless, I just got it on a bad day.

A few weeks later I returned (early this time!) for breakfast. At the Pearl restaurant, when they used to serve breakfast, they used to serve this amazing coddled egg on a cube of toasted bread, with Y.V. Salmon Roe. Delicious. So, when I saw coddled eggs on the menu again - I was quick to order. There are a few different options of Coddled Eggs on the menu, I went with the Coddled Eggs with wild and picked mushrooms.

The eggs were delivered tome at my seat at the big communal table in a little ceramic pot used especially for egg coddling. Let me describe the eggs to you. On top, they were still clear and very raw. At the bottom they were very overcooked and solid. Amongst the dry and uncooked egg was a single field mushroom - which could have very well have been handpicked from Coles down the road. There were no wild mushroom in my coddled eggs! The person I was with, couldn't believe I was actually eating what I was served. You know what? Thinking about it now, either can I.

If the food is always this bad coming out of this place - this is going to tarnish Pearl's good name - it has to. If people go there to try the cheaper version before they try the real thing - they're definately not going to try the real thing - i know I wouldn't have.

Oh, another thing - their tea strainers are woven like a little cane basket, they look very nifty, but they don't strain anything!! There are gaps in the weaving and your tea leaves run through. As Rove would say.... What the??


claire said...

Argh, that suuuuuucks. I was likewise indignant when I went there for brunch a few months ago, only to be told at 11:02am that I was not allowed to order eggs and that I'd have to order from the lunch menu. I've been too grumpy about it to go back!

littlejoeyk said...

My partner and I had an almost identically awful experience. We waited almost an hour for our food, and we were both horrified at the food when it arrived. Uncooked on top, over cooked on the bottom, just as you described. Visually completely unappealing. I was also completely frustrated with those ridiculos rea strainers! The srvice was completely inattentative and the staff made no apology or explanation for our incredibly long wait for food. Definitely won't be returning. Sad when such a stalwart of the biz in Melbourne gets it so wrong.

Adski said...

Claire - I wouldn't be disappointed - I think you were just lucky not to be served those eggs. Looks like I was not the only one who had a bad experience.
I honestly can't believe Geoff Lindsay would let food like that be served considering the standards of Pearl Restaurant. I want the food to be good there - Geoff seems like such a nice guy. However, maybe he's too busy worrying about menus for his new Gold Class Cinema Catering.

Joeyk - funny that you had the same experience as me!
Coddled eggs aren't meant to be completely cooked, but weird that they are raw on top and so overcooked on the bottom. I'm guessing the water they were cooked in was too hot!