Melding traditional Indian hospitality with a not-so-traditional take on various regional dishes from the subcontinent, Flora Indica is a brilliant celebration of both British and Indian culture. Located just around the corner from Earl’s Court station, this charming establishment offers great food and a truly original dining experience.
Perhaps unsurprisingly for a restaurant named after a voluminous account of India’s plantlife – written by Scottish botanists way back in 1855 – at Flora Indica the spices are aromatic and the flavours fragrant. In a nod to this connection you’ll find Harris Tweed on the seats and antique distillery piping on the walls, and the place even has it’s own mascot – a cartoon mouse wearing a gas mask to accompany the quirky steam-punk motif that inspires much of the decor.
If you want a bit of seclusion without losing the ambience of the restaurant then the booth is a great shout – we sat in it briefly and on a busy night you couldn’t ask for a better atmosphere.
From start to finish the food was delightful and the service was prompt and really friendly.
We kicked off with beautifully flavoured chat masala okra fries from the snacks menu before moving on to the small plates, of which there are more than a dozen, and really enjoyed the exquisitely textured soft-shell crab with tadka mayonnaise. When it comes to the curries, the monkfish & king prawn malai is an undoubted highlight – infused with coconut, it’s sweet but not overbearingly so.
For something a little more familiar, the bergamot lemon chicken tikka is basically a fancy Indian butter chicken/masala but served in an unapologetically rich and creamy makhani sauce, and the lamb chop tandoori is crispy but tender and comes with a wonderful mint yoghurt. Enlivened by a cheeky twist of chilli, even the garlic naan manages to break out and be a little different.
If you’re completely full after all that, as we were, then you still absolutely have to shovel down some Indian brioche bread pudding – it’s gloriously decadent and one of the best things we had all night. Much like those 19th century Scottish botanists, the trailblazing chefs over at Flora Indica have discovered something pretty special.
The host Richard suggested that we pair our food with a wonderful Spanish white wine and it was delightfully crisp and perfectly complemented the food.