The pearl of Thornbury.

Posted on August 1, 2011

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A meeting place for uber hipsters, Pearl Oyster serves an eclectic and playful menu of asian and middle-eastern influence in Thornbury. With a dozen mixed reviews on Urbanspoon, I chose to see it for myself after a “tip-off” from a friend. I can’t believe I have ignored this place for so long. With an onslaught of kitschy cafes popping up around the northern suburbs, I was pleased to see a different approach to serving break-fast and lunch. The food has a alternative twist to simple classics, such as a sambal omelette, or the poached eggs served with Japanese Kupi mayonnaise and pickled ginger.

It was quite bustling when we arrived, seating ourselves, Mr M and I sat at the front stools overlooking the passing traffic. The menus are hidden amongst the pages of an old Australian story book. The book conceptualized what their design philosophy is: old Australian, miss matched seventies plating and cutlery, kitschy pictures and retro furniture.  It works to build an environment which perfectly represents the food on offer. Mr M and I enjoyed our Coffee Supremo fairtrade latte and cappuccino, and began ordering our meals. I chose the sambal omelette, and Mr M chose poached eggs Japanese style.

The atmosphere is quite vibrant, with cool music to listen to while waiting for your order. The first thing I noticed while waiting was the serving side on others plates. Plates filled to the brim with breakfast fare, I started to fill up by just looking at it. Too much food can’t surely be something to complain about, clearly a first world problem. However once I received my omelette my appetite dwindled at the sheer size of the thing.

The omelette is filled with spinach and sambal sitting perched on top of free range ham and sourdough bread. Moist and very spicy, the omelette definitely packs a punch in flavour. There is an option to order ham or salmon to complement the omelette. I enjoyed the crunchy texture of the fried shallots with the velvety egg. The flavours worked very well together, however I felt that the portion size should be reconsidered. My omelette was cold before I was even a third way through. I understand that most people would prefer a large portion for an affordable price, but I rather a smaller serving which stays hot and leaves me wanting more, rather than struggling to finish.

Mr M’s dish was interesting to say the least. A great play on a traditional poached egg on toast with the addition of pickled ginger, wild cured salmon, avocado, seaweed, Kupi Mayonaisse, and a herb salad. Mr M loved the individual components of the dish but felt that it was not cohesive. Alternatively, I loved this dish more than my own, it was light, refreshing and well plated. The flavour of cured salmon and pickled ginger worked well to balance the creamy mayonnaise and egg.

On our way out, I was drawn to the display of cakes like a child. I left with a Mister Nice Guy Peanut butter cupcake, which I devoured on the way home. It was elegantly presented, moist without being fudgey and there was a nice bitterness to the chocolate. I would have liked a less pasty peanut butter icing though. Its worth trying their other sweet creations.

Overall I had an interesting morning at Pearl Oyster, I was left with mixed feelings but a definite desire to return and try more. With a multitude of kitschy cafes serving ordinary and usual fare, this place distinguishes itself by creating unique dishes which are well cooked and thoughtfully presented. A great place to liven up the quieter side of Thornbury….

Pearl Oyster on Urbanspoon

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