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??