Pearl in the Grove is located in the middle of the kumquat groves in Dade City – a quaint and cosy spot I visited with my dear Uncle Lanney, who lived not too far away. It never crossed my mind that the in the middle of a farm county lies such a gem and possibly one of the nicer dining options in Tampa.
The menu is unique and creative – featuring local produce and dishes, made from scratch and with plenty of love. Pearl in the Grove is family owned and operated, and service is both personal and attentive, without the unnerving discomfort of being watched. Décor is simple; unpretentious and the food, honest.
I liked their personal touches where you get fresh homemade cheese for an amuse bouche, assorted butter to go with freshly baked breads and a simple yet interesting wine list. Porkbelly Roulade ($24) was beautiful, where the free range porkbelly is rolled with Granny Smith apples, smoked over pecan wood and served with chilli potato mash.
Uncle Lanney had the Catfish Meuniere ($24) which was also very good. The Alabama farmed fish is lightly seasoned and pan-fried till crisp around the edges, and then served with a meuniere sauce of pecans, butter, wine and shallots to accentuated the freshness of the fish.
The chocolate cake with homemade ice cream is also worth checking out and if you’re more adventurous (and greedy!), ask for their dessert platter. That looked really good when the table next to mine had it.
If you’re ever visiting Dade City, this would be a place I recommend checking out. rif and I are already planning to dine here when we visit Uncle Lanney soon.