Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Flower Drum

Under the aegis of Gilbert Lau, who is still a consultant to the restaurant, Flower Drum became one of the greatest Chinese (Cantonese) restaurants in the world. Recently it has been slipping down the ratings - I thought for good reason.
After my recent visit I've changed my mind. It's not just very good it's excellent.
There were the usual effusive greetings at the door before being ushered into the lift to go to the first floor where the major Domo met us again. A short wait for our table and we were ushered to the dining room. Red carpeted, quiet lighting, beautiful super long stem roses in one great vase and a second huge flower arrangements of colourful blooms speak of opulence. Tables are well spaced with white linen and comfortable chairs.
Service is extremely attentive.
The reason that Flower Drum achieved it's reputation was because of concentration on excellence in every aspect of the business. Waiters are thoroughly trained, and at one time Gilbert gave them fortnightly tests to keep them up to standard. Ingredients are the freshest and the very best available e.g. his chickens are flown in daily from South Australia (Barossa Chickens) because they regard them as the best in Australia. There are about 5 master chef's in the kitchen plus an army of helpers and all work to the highest standards
We had an exquisite meal
Two very large St. Helens oysters, steamed, one in a light chilli sauce the other in a gentle black bean sauce could not have been better
Seafood dumplngs - Crab with a sweet sauce, scallop and prawn are an expensive snack at $18 for three

Pearl meat a delicacy served with two well matched dipping sauces was new to me and most excellent. I've seen it on the menu at Pearl but not tried it there. Crayfish sashimi from the tail meat was fantastic. It could not have been fresher and would have graced the best Japanese restaurant. The remainder of the cray was removed and came back later in a crayfish noodle dish which we ate with sugar pea shoots - much finer than the more common Chinese broccoli.
BBQ roast duck was served with a sour plum sauce which was a welcome change from the usual sweeter sauces. Their fried rice is relatively free of oil and well filled with egg, prawn meat and pork Codfish with ginger and shallots with a mild soy sauce was as good as it getsWe finished the meal with Mango Crepes and a fruit platter and Chinese tea They recommend oolong with the evening meal as it is supposed to aid digestion.
Price Everything looks expensive but the final food bill at $155/head was half what it would have been at Vue de Monde
We had a bottle of Chandon DZ 2003 ($82) which went very well with the food
Comments Flower Drum at 17 Market Lane Ph. 9662 3655 continues to be the outstanding restaurant of its type. I have not eaten better anywhere

Score: 18+/20

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