The Pearl serves one of the best brunches in Darwin. The Parisienne bistro may be distinguished for its dinner prix fixe offerings, but its brunch was most outstanding. I was actually surprised, as I didn't expect to eat Melbourne-quality brunches in Darwin, arguably Australia's most disparate city. The food was exquisite yet hearty, and pretty everything was a must-try.
Service, while lean in number, was cheery and efficient. Do note though, that in spite of its relaxed ambience, the restaurant enforces a smart casual dress code.
A vegetarian option that was so delicious I near-forgot it didn't have any meat, the melange of Roasted Mushrooms & Grilled Haloumi (A$18), poached egg, roquette, grilled tomato, white bean puree, and salsa verde was nuanced and rustic. I'd never been a fan of haloumi until this, the grilling treatment searing a beautiful golden off its chewy meatiness.
The Croque Madame (A$19.50), a confection of sourdough toasted with a thick slice of barossa leg ham, melty gruyere, chive bechamel, roast roma tomato, and topped with a poached egg, was wonderfully cheesy and gooey.
The Bubble & Squeak (A$18.50), Aussi-speak for rosti or potato hash, was spiked with truffle for added fragrance, and accompanied by a full English breakfast of streaky bacon, poached egg, slow roasted tomato, rocket leaves, and crusty sourdough.
The Sweet Corn Fritters (A$16.50) was laced with dill, and topped with sublime fennel & orange cured ocean trout, creme fraiche, and a poached egg.
Because we love our eggs, we supplemented with the Scrambled Free-Range Egg (A$4), perfectly fluffy and creamy and scrumptious.
The Latte (A$4.50), brewed in-house with beans that were ground in-house, was potent and rich. An excellent wake-up call.
The cafe is located inside the courtyard of a shopping mall, The Vic, along the main shopping thoroughfare of Smith Street. The "alfresco" is sun-drenched and warmed by the greenhouse effect, but the "indoors", a chic monochromatic space, is low-lit, intimate and cool. No prizes for guessing where we sat.
27 Smith Street, Unit 9, The Vic Complex
Tel: +0435 821 648
Open Tuesdays to Thursdays from 12noon to 12midnight;
Fridays to Saturdays from 11am to 12midnight