When we were planning our Melbourne trip, my friend Jen and I were looking for somewhere special to have my birthday lunch – the day before my birthday. After much too-ing and fro-ing we settled on Flower Drum. It seems both of us have been wanting to visit it for years. Flower drum is a well known Melbourne restaurant that has been around for 45 years! YES – 45 years – you don’t get that much in the restaurant scene – and this was my last day being 45!
Flower Drum opened in May 1975 and is a Melbourne institution. It has won several awards including two chefs hats. It was named after the Rogers & Hammerstein musical, and later movie, Flower Drum Song where a Chinese immigrant moves to the USA. The restaurant is known not only for it’s food but the amazing service, and it does not disappoint! We’re only going to try the Spring Tasting Menu at $55 per person which is a bargain.
The building and entrance is unassuming, down a laneway in Chinatown. When we walk towards the door, it is opened by the staff and we are greeted warmly. After QR checking in, we are advised to take the elevator to level one.
Not only did I like the gorgeous table setting and tableware but the service is impeccable. The wait staff seriously anticipate your every need for example when I stood up from the table to visit the mens room a waiter was beside me within an instant to direct me to the closest one. Lets not mention how our wine glasses were never empty!
Speaking of wine, we order a bottle of 2019 Vasse Felix ‘Filius’ (Margaret River) at AU$55. Most bottles of wine range between the $100-300 mark however we note there are a few way above our price limit… In fact some champagnes are in the thousands of dollars. One bottle of 2008 Romanée Conti from the house of Domaine De La Romanée -Conti is a cool $37,500! We are happy with our choice and (so are our wallets).
The quail sang choi bao is described as ‘Minced quail meat cooked with Chinese sausage, shitake mushrooms, bamboo shots and spring onion served in a lettuce leaf’. This is Jen’s entree, she loves it. I try a bit and think it’s wonderful as well.
Peking duck – Roast duck wrapped in pancake with cucumber, spring onion and plumb sauce. I love the hoisin sauce on the side in the shape of a duck! The duck pancake is divine. The skin is crispy and the duck not chewy like I have experienced at times. I devour this and then I see a second serving coming for me and I am delighted to have it!
Jen orders the sauté eye fillet with superior soy sauce. The Black Angus eye fillet stir fried with mushrooms and superior soy sauce and seasoning is beautifully presented and when I try a bit it melts in your mouth. She enjoys it. A wonderful dish.
Crispy fried free-range chicken served with fresh lemon juice and spicy salt. Perfectly cooked, skin crispy and meat moist. The only thing I’m not a fan of is the sizes the pieces have been cut into, a little too large for me to manage with chopsticks and into my mouth. Dipping the chicken into the tangy lemon and spicy salt really brought this dish alive.
We each received a serve of the fried rice. The fried rice was nice and had a charred flavour and generous serve of chopped prawns and lup chong or Chinese sausage. It was a nice side dish but not the winner of the day for me.
What was the best part of the meal? The duck pancakes! But mostly we were amazed by the absolutely wonderful service. If you’re in Melbourne, head to Flower Drum, we loved it and it satisfied a long held desire to dine there.
MattySomewhere and Jen paid for their meal independently.