According to owner Chris Lucas, Pearl is one of the first restaurants in the world to utilise the iPad in this way and the team is very excited about incorporating the new technology.

“[The] software will be for the menu and wine list,” says Lucas, “so that diners can come in, scroll through the menu at their leisure, pop a finger on screen and it will bring up the dish you’re interested in – with tasting notes, recommendations and information for dietary requirements. It’s a really simple tool that’s fun to use.”

With purpose-built software, the aim is to give customers access to the kind of information they want about their food and wine, without forcing it on them. For Lucas it’s simply about putting control squarely back in the hands of the diner: “It can be uncomfortable to be faced with a one-hundred-page wine list so it’s about giving power back to the consumer.”

Initially Pearl will work with ten iPad menus, and if all goes well there will be more on the way. “It’s a world-wide tsunami of information and it’s a bit irresistible,” enthuses Lucas. The established Melbourne restaurateur suggests that diners are ready for a change, though he’s quick to note that it’s not technology for the young and gadget savvy only: “It’s aimed at anybody who can use a finger. You don’t need to be a technology specialist.”

But don’t panic, hard-copy menus will still be available to those who prefer to turn pages rather than scroll down, and waiters will not be phased out.

What: Pearl launches iPad menu
Where: Pearl, 631–633 Church Street, Richmond (03) 9421 4599
When: from July 25