The combination of the words pearl and oyster to create Pearl Oyster upsets my brain. I want to like it; I own pearls, have eaten an oyster and love all things sea-related (except sea snakes, those are awful) however being made to consider “Pearl Oyster” as a name puts me on edge. Is the oyster made of pearl? Is this a pearl-bearing oyster? Am I obsessing over something trivial? Regardless, I’m not looking forward to having to write this cafe’s name out repeatedly here.
Very early last Saturday morning I managed to move beyond my name hang-ups and visit Pearl Oyster, located on Miller Street just East of Gilbert Road. The modest exterior belies an extensive indoor and out-door dining area that is very dedicated to a theme. That theme is Grandma-Cool. To give the place credit I felt instantly at home, with the decor effectively embodying the coastal old-folksiness of my childhood – minus the old lady musk (not unfortunately). The indoor space was decked out in Vs – vinyl, veneer and vintage – and while some may sneer at the pretentiousness of it all, I’m the sort to get excited about this level of commitment. It’s commitment like this that makes people good at karaoke, and wins Nobel prizes – Pearl Oyster’s achievement fits somewhere in the middle of that spectrum.
Being a lovely Autumn morning my company and I elected to sit outdoors where we found an umbrella-shaded table with plastic chairs, on fake grass. The grandma-teaparty theme extends even to the outdoors! The icing on this visual cake came in the form of a crop of very cheery sunflowers that reminded me how much I enjoy bright, giant flora. I forgot to check if they were real and to be honest I’m glad I did not indulge my inner cynic – I choose to believe that they were living.
Anyway, after spending zero time deliberating I ordered:
I cannot remember any other descriptors in the menu as it was too early in the morning to bother with things like critical appraisal of muesli-in-text – I wanted muesli-in-mouth. Here is muesli-in-eyes:
What’s this? The visual pizzaz of berries has been shunned for a more homely nut exhibition. Pistachios were the guests of honour in this dish, a welcome addition to the standard company of nuts – almonds and hazelnuts (how blasé I have become, it was not three weeks ago that I was gushing over hazelnuts. Move over guys, there’s a new favourite in town). The prominence of nuts in this muesli was enjoyable in both taste and texture. This was a pretty light muesli otherwise in that the oats were not super concentrated nor was the yoghurt particularly thick. I noticed a pale, white liquid within this dish and came to the conclusion that it was either yoghurt juice, or that a small amount of milk had been added. The latter option is a dangerous one as the amount of milk added to a Bircher muesli is a very individual decision and can spell disaster if you overdo it (bitter, bitter experience talking here). Pearl Oyster got it right, though! Also if it was just a fluke of yoghurt juice perfectly loosening up the muesli, this would be the first time I have ever happily enjoyed what is without a doubt the worst part of yoghurt on a meal.
There were two other ingredients of note in the Pearl Oyster muesli, the first being figs. Figs! What a nice surprise. The other represents the only failing of the cafe theme – Granny Smith apples did not appear to be used, rather the red tinge to some of the grated apple suggested the employ of a Pink Lady. I much prefer pink lady apples, but they probably contributed (with the help of delicious coconut, apricot and honey) to this muesli being pretty sweet. As my father says, however: “there are plenty more teeth in the sea”, so the sweetness of this breakfast did not weigh too heavily on my mind.
Final Words: Buy this muesli if you are craving nuts and want a sweet treat for breakfast, but also still want to be kept regular with fibre and dried fruits.
Good Muesli, Melbourne!