Sunday, 6 October 2013


17 Market Lane, Melbourne - (03) 9662 3655

We were lucky enough to celebrate an important family occasion at Flower Drum.  With my family originating from Hong Kong, Flower Drum is supposedly the pinnacle of Cantonese food in Melbourne (being a three hatted restaurant and all).

My uncle actually organised the dinner and booked a private room for the family.  A six course banquet (at $185 per head + drinks) was arranged prior to the dinner.

On arrival, I was impressed by the staff greeting and showing me to our room.  The long table was set with flowers and printed menus.

Here are our dishes:

Sauté(ed) Jade Tiger Farmed Abalone
Our first course was the abalone.  It was a nice starter served in the shell.

Serving the Baked Scallops with Turmeric Sauce
Baked Scallops with Turmeric Sauce

Scallops are one of my favourite foods.  They were cooked well and I thought the sauce was a lovely accompaniment which didn't over power the delicate scallops.

Roast Whole Suckling Pig - Presented as a whole
Serving the Roast Whole Suckling Pig
Roast Whole Suckling Pig Served
Roast Whole Suckling Pig Served
The suckling pig was beautiful.  The skin was very thin and crispy and the meat was tender. 

Serving the Sauté(ed) Crayfish with Ginger & Spring Onion served with Egg Noodles
Sauté(ed) Crayfish with Ginger & Spring Onion served with Egg Noodles
The highlight for me with this dish was that all the fiddly meat, such as legs, had been shelled, making it an extra pleasurable dish to eat.  All other times I have had this dish at other restaurants, I end up eating the crayfish with my hands.

One serve of Braised Wagyu Beef Cheeks served with Spinach
Another serve of Braised Wagyu Beef Cheeks served with Spinach and Fried Rice with Dried Scallops & Egg White
The beef cheeks were tender and the fried rice was nice.  I did feel that the presentation between serves was inconsistent.

Individual Fruit Platter
Red Bean Sweet Soup with Sweet Dumplings
Banana Fritter
Toffee Apple
Deep Fried Icecream
For dessert, a large selection was offered for us to select from.  In the end, I had the Deep Fried Icecream. It was lovely with the vanilla bean through the icecream.  The warm exterior was an interesting contrast to the cold icecream interior.

Fresh Fruit Platters
To end the evening, large extravagant fruit platters were placed in the centre of the table.  The fruits were fresh and plentiful.  Several steps above the humble oranges you get at every other Chinese restaurant.

All in all, the food was delicious, however I didn't see that 'wow' factor. Despite the number of wait-staff, I was surprised by the lack of attentiveness.  Our tea was not refreshed until after dessert was served, leaving us with cold or empty teapots throughout the meal.  (Even standard yum cha restaurants constantly top up teapots and hot tea is poured regularly for the patrons.)  My sister-in-law asked for a glass of water, which never came, then later noticed a jug of water behind her which she poured herself.  I thought that most of the dishes were on par or only slightly better than other Chinese restaurants I had been to.  For a three hatted establishment, I thought that the plate presentation was sloppy with each person's portion size varying and random sauce marks sprawling across the plates.  

The dinner was about family and celebrating so I'm glad we got to do that.  The private room was a great especially as my one month old twin nieces came.  The space was large and separate from the main dining room, making it perfect for the babies to sleep and be fed.

I'm glad I've tried Flower Drum, however for the amount, I won't be coming back here in a rush.  Melbourne is full of amazing Cantonese restaurants with other high quality establishments offering very similar dishes without the very high price tag.

Flower Drum on Urbanspoon

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