The Flour Drum Trio
15 January, 2020
Newtown is unquestionably a unique place. For the unbaptised, King Street and its surrounding blocks are a frantic cultural melting pot, a place where weird and wacky is the norm, and energy is seldom expended on the judgement of others choices. As Victor, one of three Flour Drum’s three owners puts it, Newton is an “eclectic, creative and bohemian neighbourhood where anything goes. It was the natural choice for our café”. Newtown is often grimy, mostly chaotic and never dull. The perfect place for a café which rejects labels, oozes character and welcomes all.
The Flour Drum, nested at the less frenetic southern
end of King Street, repels the constraints of categorisation. It is known for its baked goods, but it is not a bakery. It serves fine pasta and calculated wine pairings by night, but it is not an Italian restaurant, nor fine dining. The vibe is undoubtedly alternative, yet the service is professional. Its identity is difficult to define, as it is a product of an unlikely three, but Newtown is a place where unlikely flourishes, and regular is dreary.
'Where Chris brings the calm, Johnny does the mayhem'
If a more Sydney trio existed, good luck finding them. Christopher is Flour Drum’s operational horsepower, boasting 30 years of hospitality management experience and having previously co-owned and operated the Wharf restaurant with renowned Australian chef Oscar Ousback. Fine dining was his realm, but a casual atmosphere is as good a fit.
Johnny is Newtown. Born and bred two blocks from the Flour Drum, he has been his mums cooking understudy since age 5. His imprint on the Flour Drum’s identity is perhaps the most defined. Where Chris brings the calm, Johnny does the mayhem. Earning Johnny’s attention for an extended period is a tough task, and whilst the chaotic aura he radiates is unnerving to the uninitiated, those more familiar know this tempo is where he shines. His passion is baking, and bake he does. Johnny is the executive chef of the Flour Drum and creator of some of the best baked goods in Sydney.
Rounding out the trio is Victor. Mild mannered, relentlessly polite and unshakably genuine. Traits incongruous to a previous life of wild and often hazy nights, as the co-founder of Sydney’s iconic nightclub Chinese Laundry, and the legendary Sweatbox Parties of the 80s/90s. He now works as the Creative Director of the design agency Our Agency, juggled with the brand, social media and promotional duties at the Flour Drum.
The trios contrasting temperaments are complimenting, as is their lifelong friendship and passion for fine food, factors which sparked and fueled the idea and manifestation of the Flour Drum, but also bestows it its most defining trait, heart.
“Over the last four years we have tweaked our business to best serve our locals”
After just four years of trade, the Flour Drum has achieved much, but remains elusive to categorisation. But labels are overrated, and at worst, limiting. The venue’s character is boldly uncharacterisable, just like the people it serves, the residents of Newtown. “Over the last four years we have tweaked our business to best serve our locals”, Victor says. The fitting irony being that this is exactly what continues to draw the non-residents of Inner West.
When posed with the question of what they are most proud of, relationships are the prevailing motif. “Flour Drum is about our customers, over the years we have made many friends, and attracted many families. Getting to know them and watching the kids grow up is very special to us. We have also drawn a lot of foodies, and we love that we have made many new, likeminded friends.”
The community created at 531 King Street is comprised of people whom are not alike in many ways, but share a common acknowledgement that this fact is entirely immaterial. Different is good and all are welcome.
Flour Drum Newtown
BREAKFAST & LUNCH
MON TO FRI : 8AM - 3PM (CLOSE WED)
SAT & SUN : 8AM - 4PM
THUR TO SAT : 6PM - Late
531 King Street Newtown, Sydney