Experience No.013 in Australian Traveller Magazine’s 100 Greatest Australian Gourmet Experiences.
Back in 1975, when Australia was still a pie and pub nation, Gilbert Lau decided we needed to know what we were missing. Opening the original Flower Drum in Melbourne’s Chinatown on Little Bourke St, Lau has changed the way we eat Chinese food forever. For many, this site is deserving of a shrine.

Cantonese cuisine doesn’t get much better than this. Panellist Alla Wolf-Tasker misses the days when Lau was in charge but describes the site as a stalwart, “the scene of many historic moments in our food culture”.

“China should come here to learn.” – Peter Russell-Clarke

The name of an elegant Asian dance, Flower Drum serves food with a finesse that’s beautiful to watch. Executive Chef Anthony Lui sticks to Lau’s original philosophies, sourcing produce fresh from the markets each day. The menu changes accordingly and regulars know to ask for the unpublished Chef’s Menu. You probably won’t know what you’re getting until the dish arrives but no doubt it will be divine.

There’s one thing that must be on your table – a plate of Peking duck. Piled into pancakes with spring onion, cucumber and sweet plum sauce, the tender meat melts in your mouth. Returning to the suburban local Chinese/Thai/Vietnamese will not be an option after Flower Drum.

Where: 17 Market Lane, Melbourne. (03) 9662 3655, www.flower-drum.com

Did you know: You’ll now find Flower Drum at its new home on Market Lane. Gilbert Lau is back in the kitchen at Lau’s Family Kitchen, his son’s new restaurant.


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