The Flower Drum is an outstanding restaurant located within Chinatown, Melbourne. Renowned both in this city and well beyond, it is the sort of place many may go to 'for a special occasion' - but then find themselves tempted to return to often.
Opened in 1975 on Little Bourke St by Gilbert Lau, the reputation of a restaurant that served outstanding food in the Cantonese style soon grew across Melbourne. Accordingly, a relocation to its current site in 1980s due to need for more dining space affirms just how quickly this rise to prominence occurred.
Today, the restaurant is very comfortable both in its place as one of the finer Cantonese institutions in Melbourne, as well as in what it offers as a dining experience.
The restaurant offers 4 options for eating across the day, lunch and dinner in form of a banquet, or the same meals al la carte. Ingredients for all meals in the restaurant are sourced fresh daily from local markets. Alongside seeking to offer a the taste of real freshness in their meals, the Flower Drum has over time developed a number of signatures dishes to draw patrons to their doors, with aromatic baked crab shell and order braised lamb claypot foremost among them.
Yet, of the wide variety of great dishes on offer here in Market lane, it is the Peking duck that undoubtedly ranks as this restaurant's signature dish. It is one of those dishes that looms large to a significant degree in Melbourne food culture that writing any words beyond encouraging a visit to try it would do a disservice to the dish.
Therefore, suffice to say whether you're a visitor to town - or instead a Melburnian foodie who takes their gourmet pursuits seriously - the Peking duck is worth an order at least once to tick off the bucket list.
Further, this is true for the wider experience of the Flower Drum all over. Many many have passed it by and thought 'next time' and this is OK - but may this review affirm it'd be a shame to put off 'next time' for too long. Indeed, whether visiting Melbourne or a lifelong Melburnian: the Flower Drum indeed warrants a try before too long.