The Flower Drum

The Flower Drum

A different beat.

For over forty years The Flower Drum has been at the top of its game. An impressively consistent Three Hats in the Age Good Food Guide, the go to place for exploitative business lunches, and the pinnacle of Chinese cuisine in Melbourne, nay Australia. Clearly, this is good Chinese. Which is handy because to my knowledge I’ve never experienced really, really good Chinese.

Good Chinese for me is about densely filled dumplings with silky exteriors. Maybe a pork bun and Peking Duck thrown in, but just give me the classics and I’m happy. So I was really interested in how The Flower Drum would take me to the next level. I was expecting everything I had hitherto experienced about Chinese cuisine to be turned on its head. This was going to be an eye opener. This was going to be epic.

Except it wasn’t.

The Flower Drum takes it to the next level for sure, but because average Chinese is usually pretty good (lets face it, a dirty wonton soup is pretty good) its only a small step to the next level. Its like one small step for Chinese cuisine, is one massive step for your credit card bill. And that’s always disappointing. On this occasion however, it was my darling girl’s birthday meal, so we aren’t mentioning the bill, because I like her to think money doesn’t matter.

Being her birthday, and seeing as money doesn’t matter, we headed straight for the Chef’s Banquet. I was not at all concerned, in fact I was quite pleased that it was devoid of the classics, except for Peking Duck, which was lovely without being exceptional. The Margaret River marron was strangely Lobster Mornay-ish , and memorable for not being at all Chinese. The steak was delicious, and simple. Bordering on too simple for me. It looked like meat and three veg, missing a couple veg. The accompanying wines were outstanding, but that’s not always a good thing when you’re there for the food.

Finally dessert, and all my life Ive wanted to try deep fried ice cream. I had heard about this almost implausible dish, that seemed so incomprehensible, the juxtapositioning of ice cold ice cream, dipped in batter and deep fried … it’s Heston-like in its conception.

Deep Fried Ice Cream

Deep Fried Ice Cream

The execution however, was, strangely literal. It was ice cream, deep fried. It wasn’t particularly hot on the outer, and wasn’t particularly oozing in the centre. They do say sometimes its best not to meet your idols.

Deep Fried Whiting

Deep Fried Whiting

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