It's a restaurant that after 12 years still has that pearlescent shine. A modern-Australian restaurant that actually taught Melbourne what that meant: an assembly of Australian produce, rolled in Asian flavours, subjected to French techniques and delivered with knife-point precision in artful mouthfuls.
The duck curry says it all. Confit meat in a sauce that engages with every part of tongue and brain in a flavour attack of spices, topped with a son-in-law egg (a gooey-centred ball with a flash fried golden jacket). It sits on the menu next to an artist palette of seared scallops, dotted with a sweetcorn purée and speared with a shard of crisped jamon. It's a pirate cuisine, and Pearl's decade long success despite a bucking bronco of a fine-dining scene (and despite founding chef Geoff Lindsay's departure for Elwood in 2011) is testament to the fact that they do it well.
And yet, the area has area has changed, so in mid-May 2012, the restaurant will close and the site will be turned into a new dining concept by owner Chris Lucas (who also owns mod-Thai restaurant Chin Chin). Pearl itself will be revived in 2013 in an inner-city location, so if you still want to pick up what they're putting down, get onto twitter to follow the underground dinners that will be held as a way to keep the flame burning while the restaurant is without its elegant Richmond shell.