If you’ve heard of Burger Theory or La Waffle, you would understand why the words “Pearl’s Diner” would make one so excited that one jumps up and down with the enthusiasm of a three-year-old on Christmas Day. If you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t heard of either of these three establishments (or I should say, establishment and mobile food vans of deliciousness) then I can try to explain it to you, though to the uninitiated it might seem a little difficult to understand at first.
Burger Theory appeared on my horizon around a year ago, when it was very much a ‘pop up’ business. They would drive their truck (named Pearl) and park on sidestreets in Adelaide, selling burgers made with freshly ground beef out of a window to lines twenty metres long. However, you would often never know where they would show up until the night before or the morning of their service, as they would usually only post their location on their Facebook and Twitter. This meant that I often could not make it for lunch or dinner, with work and university commitments. Towards the end of the year (or roundabouts), Burger Theory gained more and more of a cult following, started posting more regular pop up dates on their website, and over the summer participated in Summer Fridays in the East End - part of an initiative by the Adelaide City Council to reinvigorate the city, which involved a night market on Ebenezer Place. It was here I finally got my Burger Theory fix. It was the juiciest burger I had ever tried. Unfortunately, so juicy that the rest of the burger kind of dissolved into a very tasty, but messy, mush in its packaging. However the flavour was amazing. I just struggled a bit with the ‘street food’ kind of eating – sitting on the edge of the footpath trying to keep your clothes and face as clean as possible.
It was also at Summer Fridays in the East End that I discovered La Waffle - which is the sister business of Burger Theory. I am not entirely sure how they are related, but they are, and I am glad for this because it means I can get a burger fix and a waffle fix in the same place. Anyway, La Waffle had a little cart at Summer Fridays selling freshly made waffles, with your choice of icing sugar, cinnamon sugar, maple syrup, melted Belgian chocolate…you get the picture. They were the most amazing waffles I had ever had in my life – they were crunchy and caramelised on the outside, soft on the inside and just all-round lovely. They also did take-home packs of 4 which I think contributed to weight gain over the summer, seeing as they occasionally popped up in Rundle Mall or Pirie Street as a part of the Splash Adelaide (Adelaide City Council) campaign too. However, the lady who ran the little stall (I came to think of her affectionately as the waffle lady) informed me that after Summer Fridays ended, the La Waffle cart was taking a break to focus on opening a new cafe in Felixstow, next to where they produce waffles for wholesale customers. This excited me beyond belief, given Felixstow is only 5 minutes away from my house. I waited and waited and waited and eventually the opening of the cafe was announced…and Pearl’s Diner was born!
Pearl’s sells the burgers from Burger Theory, waffles from La Waffle as well as a range of other comfort food – think mac and cheese, fried chicken and chilli with cornbread. I finally made it last night (they conveniently opened the cafe smack bang in the middle of exam period) to try out the goods. And boy, did they deliver. My boyfriend and I shared the Number One burger (since we weren’t all that hungry after feasting on Red Door earlier. If you’re a normal, hungry eater you will definitely need a burger each. Served with chips, they are the perfect meal size). I wish I had a picture but we were a bit too excited to eat and I forgot to get the iPhone out. The burger was as amazing as I remembered, and it was definitely handy having a plate to eat off and serviettes to wipe the burger juices off your fingers! The chips were also perfectly crunchy and salty. The number one burger was $13 served with chips, which is a very reasonable price given what you would pay at a pub or restaurant for a burger not nearly as good. You can see a fancy picture of the burger here - while our burger didn’t look exactly the same, the main difference was that ours wasn’t as tall with slightly less fillings, but that may have been due to the fact we asked to get the burger cut in half so it ended up a little squished.
We also ordered a waffle each. I got the waffle drizzled with Belgian chocolate, blueberries and vanilla bean icecream ($10). I did try to take a picture of this, though ended up having to instagram it because it was so dark and blurry. But you get the point. It tasted amazing, if not a little too rich for my liking – I think next time I would stick to plain icing sugar to let the yummy taste of the waffle through! These waffles are good enough that you don’t need to smother them in anything to make them tasty – they have a flavour all of their own. Here is a more professional picture if you want to have a good look.
My boyfriend ordered the waffle with maple syrup and icecream ($8). It also looked amazing, though I wasn’t even allowed a tiny bite to try!
So would I recommend you go to Pearl’s Diner? Oh, yes. Definitely yes. If you are planning on going, check their Facebook or Twitter for the latest opening times (they have slightly unusual hours given they are a new business trying to cope with huge demand). I’d also recommend you arrive either really early into a service or quite late. We arrived at 5.30 and got a table easily, but by the time we left (around 6.30) there was a line almost going out the door for a table. However I’m sure the wait would be well worth it – but if you hate lines, you can avoid them!
I’m hoping Pearl’s will have extended opening hours and takeaway waffles and burgers available soon. But for now, I think my waistline can deal with less frequent visits (though my taste-buds can’t!).