Review of Flower Drum in Melbourne
We had a bit of trouble finding this restaurant, but we were glad we perservered in our search. (The problem turned out to be that it is on Market Lane, not the wide, busy Market Street.) It has a first-class Chinese fare and is very innovative. One dish I really liked was minced quail with flecks of onion, water chestnut, and what I think was a bit of pork. It was served in a leaf of lettuce, which one folds over and eats like a taco. It was wonderfully flavored and not spicy hot, so it went very well with the wine they served. The next dish was a true first for me. A small whole abolone was shaved into thin slices and draped over its own shell. The server brought a pot of broth table-side and poached each slice for a few seconds. When four slices were poached, they were served to the two of us. The server then left us alone to eat, promptly coming back to poach more as we finished. When we'd eaten it all, silken tofu was added to the broth and we drank it. Other dishes--lamb pockets, barramundi, crispy duck--all were excellent, but it is abalone I shall remember.
Interestingly, the Melbourne food bible, The Age Good Food Guide, has lopped one hat off Flower Drum in the latest 2007 release.
They write that the kitchen appears to now lack innovation, simply serving Cantonese classics and the "class", once everpresent with the original owner, Gilbert Lau, is not there any more.
They are, however, one of only two Chinese restaurants with 2 Hats. The other being Red Emperor at Southgate.
This restaurant is a Melbourne Institution. Did you have the peking duck there, it is without a doubt the BEST you can get !
We were even inspired to try our own version, see my other posts !!
The Flower Drum is definately not a slick stylish restaurant, but we LOVE it, the service and food is impeccable.
We never had the abalone, we considered it, and the waiter kindly and discreetly "warned" us about the price !
It still get's into the top 30 restaurants in the world list !
Happy to hear visitors to oz having a good experience.