Marble & Pearl, The Kingston, 55 Highett St, Richmond
Marble & Pearl is a restaurant concept that long has been an idea of The Kingston owner Jon De Fraga, and with the 14-month renovation of the hotel it has become a reality.
De Fraga had been toying with the idea for about five years of combining high-quality steaks and seafood on the one menu, and has achieved this in a masterful fashion with his latest creation.
It is a surf-and-turf writ large, with wagyu steaks cooked Argentinian-style over hot coals and a range of exquisite seafood, ranging from fresh fish to Alaskan King Crab legs, lobsters, oysters and caviar.
As you enter, you are met by wafts of steak cooking over coals in the open kitchen on the left, with a beef ageing cabinet beside it, flagging that it means business with its meats.
The menu features all cuts, grain-fed and grass-fed, with varying degrees of marbling. A moderate eater, I went for the Southern Ranges grain-fed porterhouse MB4+ ($43), as it was a 250g serve. I had asked for medium (pink) and it was cooked to perfection, juicy, full of flavour and tender, gently kissed with smoke. I chose an accompaniment of porcini and truffle butter which was a simply delicious enhancement.
My wife went for the pan-fried whole flounder ($52), served with parsley and lemon, which was fresh, beautifully moist and flaked off the bone with ease. Both dishes were perfection on a plate. We shared an elegantly presented and lightly-dressed crisp green salad, which set off both mains.
There is a great range of mains and entrees to suit all palates and pockets. I was tempted by the house-made sausages, but went for the salt and pepper calamari, served with curry leaves, green chilli and parsley and saffron mayonnaise ($25). My wife chose the steak tartare, 100g of hand-cut O'Connor's eye fillet, with capers, cornichons, Tabasco and egg yolk ($22), which she rated as among the best she has had.
There is an excellent range of wines by the glass to accompany your meal choices.
Hours: Wednesday to Sunday - Lunch 12.00-3.00pm. Dinner 5.00pm to 9.30pm
Bookings: 9428 5841 thekingstonhotel.com