Pearl Diver Oyster Bar and Bistro
Pearl Diver Oyster Bar and Bistro is a venue from Alex Boon and Pez Collier of the Speakeasy Group (Eau de Vie, Mjolner, Boilermaker House and Nick & Nora’s), following a year-long mentorship under group directors Greg Sanderson and Sven Almenning as part of Speakeasy’s Pathways to Partnership program.
Boon and Collier have transformed the old Annam on Little Bourke Street with a design by Studio Y, which sees concrete finishes balanced with flowing drapery and plush charcoal banquettes. An oyster shell colour palette and hanging nautical ephemera gives the walls a calming, oceanic feel. And an elongated table with two in-built ice wells dominates the private 16-seat dining room.
As head of mixology for the Speakeasy Group, Boon is in charge of cocktails. He’s created a signature version of the venue’s namesake – the tiki-inspired Pearl Diver cocktail – with Bacardi Carta Oro rum, Tasmanian honey, butter, spices, pink grapefruit and other citruses, poured into a Pearl Diver-style glass with a narrow, ribbed bottom.
Classic drinks reimagined with Victorian spirits include a Martini starring Saint Felix oyster shell and wakame gin, Maidenii vermouth and white kunzea flowers. A spherified liquid olive – created with Sicilian and queen olives, lemon thyme and garlic – accompanies the drink inside a tiny rock oyster shell. And for the wine list, Collier has assembled around 50 bottles split between local, French and Italian pours.
As for those oysters, there are two rocks and two Pacifics available au naturel with a range of dressings to choose from, plus a handful of cooked options (think Kilpatrick; Rockefeller with warrigal greens; or deep fried with sauce gribiche). Snacks might include salted-cod beignets with sorrel cream; duck terrine with a strip of foie gras; and coal-grilled octopus with harissa.
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