Suburban Foodies: Woolloongabba
Known more in the past for AFL and cricket than cuisine, the Gabba has quietly established itself as a foodie...
The Woolloongabba institution’s new owners are taking it back to its (delicious) roots.
Known for its lavish breakfasts in a gorgeous historic setting, many simply know The Pearl as a buzzing breakfast spot. Now, new owners Andrew and Laila have stripped back this local favourite to its former glory as a produce-driven bistro with a formidable wine list.
“We set about understanding what was important to The Pearl’s followers, and what drew them to the venue,” says Andrew of the takeover. “Taking it back to its history by providing a premium dinner offering in a casual setting was what we wanted to do first and foremost!”
A chef himself, Andrew’s focus when reintroducing dinners to The Pearl was on great produce from Australia’s world-class food-producing regions including the Coral Sea, Lockyer Valley, and nearby Moreton Bay.
“We also chose to look within the broader landscape of Australian produce, leading us to source the Petuna Ocean Trout from Tasmania. It’s a fattier, more flavoursome fish than salmon, and it now forms part of some of the most popular dishes on the dinner and lunch menu,” he explains.
Sound good? The Pearl’s elegant dinner menu includes vodka-cured Petuna ocean trout with lemon labna, pickled cucumber and dill, as well as a suite of knockout dishes like Mooloolaba prawn and scallop tortellini with sweet pea puree and lemon-scented oil, and free-range chicken breast and confit leg with shallot puree, charred greens and jus *drools*.
It wouldn’t be dinner without a drink, so Andrew has worked closely with well known Aussie winemakers to put together a list that complements the pared-back European-style menu.
“We wanted to ensure a variety of wines are available to consume with our food, without breaking the bank. It’s not often you find quality Mornington Peninsula pinot noir for $10 a glass, but by teaming up with Kooyong Estate we have been able to source this excellent wine at an affordable price for our guests to enjoy,” he says.
Come lunchtime, the $35 set menu (for minimum two guests) is hard to beat, with a shared entree, choice of main (current options include a beef cheek and mushroom ragu pappardelle topped with shaved pecorino and black truffle oil), and a glass of either the Kooyong Estate Massale pinot noir or Brokenwood Beechworth chardonnay for less than a pineapple!
With plans to reopen The Pearl’s charming upstairs dining areas, Andrew says degustations, set menus, wine pairings, and private dining are all in the works once COVID is well and truly weathered!
As he admits, it would be “remiss” not to mention breakfast. While the focus is now on serving up quality lunches and dinners, breakfast continues at The Pearl, with Andrew recommending bookings as “most weekends we book out 3-4 days in advance!”
The Pearl is open for dinner Thursdays-Saturdays from 5:30 pm, and for breakfast and lunch Tuesdays-Sundays from 7:30 am.
Image credit – Jack Phoenix.
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