Having heard and read about Flower Drum’s fame and the family that made it so popular with Melbourne dwellers, I make this week’s dinner objective to visit Lau’s next generation’s establishment in St Kilda. Boasting of high quality Cantonese/Chinese cuisine and the many positive reviews in Urbanspoon, there is no doubt that the small modest restaurant situated in St Kilda is an extreme hit with the locals.
We were greeted with a warm welcome by one of the Lau brothers (I think it’s Mr Jason Lau) who then ushered us to our table. Again, we booked the first seating at 6pm but we were not the first. There were already 5 tables occupied by hungry and eager families. The smallish dining room is well decorated (not much like a chinese restaurant feel) with fresh flowers and timber walls and screens – modern. The staff count was more than adequate as their service is very prompt – with the ‘no empty glass rule’ and ‘less than 5 minutes browse of the menu’ before ordering.
We started off with the highly raved-about Saltbush lamb spring rolls served with plum sauce for entree. The spring roll was beautifully browned and crisp. Lamb filling is seasoned well without the “lamb” smell which I really enjoyed. Once we finished, the waitress very efficiently came and exchanged our dirty plates with clean ones. Service IS good and attentive. Next, came the Deep fried bean curd with mushroom and my all-time favourite dish Sweet & sour pork served with rice. Both dishes tasted very nice! The flavours are well balanced and the ingredients are fresh and of good quality. It is very close to what I have tasted in Malaysia’s ‘tai chow’ restaurants (‘tai chow’ in cantonese refers to open-air Chinese restaurant that serves wok-fried dishes at very affordable prices).
Verdict : Lau’s Family Kitchen serves good Cantonese/Chinese dishes but with a price to pay. With a bill of $73 for 2 mains, 1 entree and 3 bowls of rice – I felt that it’s an overpriced dinner without much flair. Perhaps it’s the expectation that comes with the famed family name who is following the footsteps of Flower Drum and using that legacy to create a casual cantonese/chinese dining experience without sacrificing on quality and price. I would love to sample more dishes but I will leave that for a once-a-year family affair.
To die for : Saltbush lamb spring rolls
Price : $$$
Yummy Factor : +3
Tip : The restaurant tends to get packed really fast for weekend dinners. So, book first.
[Lau's Family Kitchen]
4 Acland Street, St Kilda, Victoria
P: 03 8598 9880
Sun-Fri: Lunch & Dinner