“What’s for lunch today?” I ask Mysaucepan.
“Well, we have quite a few choices don’t we?” she replies, looking at her long list of eateries that she has identified during our short trip to Melbourne.
“What are some of Melbourne’s most famous cafes and restaurants anyway, and I don’t mean those fancy schmancy ones” I prompt her.
“I suppose Vue de Monde is pretty schmancy if you want fine dining but I guess Flower Drum is probably one of the best Chinese restaurants in Melbourne” she says.
“Speaking of Flower Drum, what about that spin-off restaurant run by some of the owner Gilbert Lau’s family members?” I ask.
“Lau’s family kitchen!” Mysaucepan replies. “That could be a plan since we are after something simple for lunch and I hear they are definitely more casual than Flower Drum” she says excitedly.
“But it’s not really a spin-off because Gilbert has already sold Flower Drum to his employees and has since opened Lau’s Family Kitchen with his sons” she adds, giving me a piece of history about the restaurant.
Just a short fifteen minute drive from Melbourne CBD, St. Kilda in the city’s south east is teeming with cafes, restaurants and shops.
We arrive at Lau’s Family Kitchen and on one of Melbourne’s rare bright and sunny days, we choose to sit at the small and shady terrace area at the front of the restaurant.
Lau’s Family Kitchen is a more casual style Chinese restaurant where we don’t see a lot of Chinese people. We are seeing more non-Asian diners sipping wine than your average Chinese restaurant, which may or may not be a good sign.
Table clothes are done away with and I like the fact that chilli sauce is provided as part of the table setting.
I like this little al fresco terrace because it is a nice and sunny day and we can watch the street activities as we wait for our food.
A pan-seared Patagonian tooth fish with sugar snaps and zucchini has a very delicate golden brown crust with a special soy sauce that comes separately which is probably a great idea.
With a slight nudge of my chopsticks, the meat of this fish falls apart. The texture is similar to a coral trout where the white flesh is firm and yet succulent.
The art in this dish is the super thin crust from searing the fish fillets in a hot work and the correct balance of the savoury sweet soy sauce. On both counts, I think this dish got very close to perfection. I believe the soy sauce being served separately helps in ensuring that super thin layer of crust remains nice and crispy on the first bite – genius!
Each mouthful is succulent and fleshy with a slight crisp and the slices of raw zucchini and sugar snaps are an excellent choice of accompanying greens.
A fried rice with BBQ pork and prawns is a Chinese staple and should not disappoint and it doesn’t.
The aromas of the wok breath are nice and smoky while each grain of rice is firm and delightful to be eaten with chopsticks instead of a fork and spoon.
This lunch may have been simple but if you like a light and simple Chinese meal, do yourself a favour and just order these two dishes at Lau’s Family Kitchen.
So dear readers, do you have a favourite Chinese restaurant in Melbourne and if so, what dishes would you recommend in your favourite restaurant?
Lau’s Family Kitchen
4 Acland street
St Kilda 3182
Tel: + 61 3 8598 9880