Recently selected as one of Australian Traveller Magazine’s 100 Greatest Australian Gourmet Experiences and earning Two Chef’s Hats from The Age Good Food Guide from 2007-2012, it is difficult to do justice to Flower Drum’s lustrous industry reputation. This world class Cantonese restaurant is a favourite for both locals and visitors, who keep coming back to experience the restaurant’s finely tuned philosophy of refinement and delicacy in dining. Flower Drum originally opened in 1975 in Little Bourke St in Chinatown, only to move to its current location a decade later to accommodate a burgeoning clientele. Executive Chef Anthony Lui regularly tweaks the much loved menu to keep the food creative and seasonal. DINING
The dining areas are decorated in a traditional Chinese style with soft lighting, wall hangings and classic table settings, providing a comfortable and warm experience even for large groups. It may not have an avant-garde aesthetic, but the calm, unobtrusive environment lets you concentrate on the fabulous food in front of you. FUNCTION DETAILS
Flower Drum caters for special occasions with a private function room seating up to 20 people and a banquet room seating up to 40 people. PROFILED BY DE GROOTS MEDIA
Every diner in Melbourne knows Flower Drum. Those who have been get a faraway look in their eyes at the mention of this world-class restaurant, while those who have not think wistfully of a special occasion excuse to do so. Original owner Gilbert Lau sold his beloved restaurant to three employees in 2003, who ensure it is still run in the same finely-tuned fashion, with unmatched service and an impressive menu based around high quality produce. You can forgive the restaurant its poky, ever-so-slow lift as you step into the slightly faded opulence of the dining room, with soft lighting, well-spaced, damask-clothed tables and a veritable legion of waiters on hand. Service is all part of the package and the experienced staff are so intuitive you can safely leave yourself completely in their hands.
Recent changes to the menu have seen it emerge as a more compact document, offering two banquet menus and a daily changing a la carte menu showcasing chef Anthony Lui’s deft touch with Flower Drum’s exceptional quality seafood. There’s still room for some signature dishes, however.
The Peking duck is second to none, while thinly sliced, wok-fried pearl meat flown in from Broome, fried with spring onions and sugar snap peas and served in the oyster shell is a glistening, magnificent luxury. Other delights come in the form of sliced lamb wok-fried with miso, garlic and leek which diners stuff into sweet bread pockets. Fried five spice eggplant stuffed with pine nuts, walnuts and carrot is served on a bed of crisp enoki while the claypots are much loved by regular diners. An equally superb wine list darts between France and Australia, and offers some flexibility to match the menu with a number of half bottles available. 35 years and a host of accolades later, Flower Drum remains at the top of its game and still offers a superb dining experience.