Market favourite reopens

By Tamara Clark

Drums Café in the Queen Victoria Market (QVM) has reopened with a focus on takeaway food and delivery after recent COVID-19 restrictions forced the business to close.

This followed seven weeks of no income for the business as the QVM was shut as well as all of Drums’s pop up locations.

With income and sales having fallen almost 95 per cent due to COVID-19, owner Vijay Sivaraj said he had never experienced such financial difficulty in his life.

He said the market’s support of three months of rental assistance for food stores had been critical for his business.  

“The assistance has been really great, without it we would have been busted,” he said.

While the food court has been shut, cafes in the market are allowed to seat up to 20 people internally. Outside tables are four metres apart from each other on Victoria St. 

The market and the City of Melbourne have provided great support, according to Mr Sivaraj.

“It’s a big blow for the market too. Even if they were open there would be no people and no tourists,” he said.

“I hope this soon comes to an end and people forget and return to the markets,” Mr Sivaraj said. “We hope other people come from all over Australia to the markets and we are really looking forward to it.”

“People might not be able to travel to Asian places for a while. They can come here to eat Drums. We seem to have depended too much on overseas tourists, so in the meantime, this will help move the economy.”

The menu has also changed. Daytime dishes remain the same but a wide range of traditional curries from Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia will be introduced for dinner. 

Drums has been around since 1996, exposing Melbournians and visitors to Sri Lankan and Indian food.

The group is involved in a number of street food festivals and markets and has a permanent spot at the Dandenong Market selling Kothu Roti year-round.

As it stands, Drums is open from Thursday to Sunday between 10am and 3pm and between 4pm and 9pm, Thursday through Saturday.

Orders can be placed through UberEats, Door Dash and Deliveroo. •

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