"...is set to convert his restaurant to an all iPad operation with specially written interactive software that he claims will make it the first restaurant in Australia to employ Apple's red-hot tablet for both menus and wine lists."
Here are two awesome and stupid things about this concept, respectively:
1. You can in fact let people "drill-down" on complicated and/or exotic dishes. (Arguably, that's the role of a well-briefed waiter, but we'll let this one sit in the plus column for now.)
2. It's one thing to explain a dish, but this menu could, for example, air video clips of the dish being prepared and served. Sure, you lose some of the surprise, but you also know exactly what you're getting into—maybe not a terrible thing when you drift up into the world of $75- and $100-a-plate joints.
1. You think you've got a problem with stolen glassware and silverware? Well, just wait until you turn your kleptomaniac customers and underpaid cooks loose in a restaurant stocked with $500 pieces of chic, state-of-the-art personal electronics.
2. Even fine restaurants are places where wine/food/water/bodily fluids/meats fly around willy-nilly. A certain amount of environmental damage is to be expected, which is fine when the victims are linens, which can be laundered, and paper menus, which can be reprinted. iPads, not so much.
Regardless, good luck to Pearl on its ambitious venture. I, for one, welcome our new cybernetic fine dining overlords.