Flora Indica restaurant is named after a book with the same name by Sir Joseph Hooker. He was one of the botanists and explorers discovering over thousands of new exotic plants whilst travelling in India. These findings were captured in a book by the same name published in 1855. Flora Indica plays homage to these Scottish botanists. Located in the triangle of Earls Court, South Kensington and Old Brompton Road.
Flora Indica interior
From the outside, you see sea-green paint and reflex blue signs. One of the panels reads Fine Scottish spirits. A pretty illustration sketch of a flower makes up part of the Flora Indica logo. Once you pull the door open, be prepared to be amazed feeling instantly transported into a time where those Scottish botanists went exploring in India. The striking full-size telephone box sits at the front of the entrance. On the left are a metal tiled wall and mechanical mouse statues wearing a gas mask. Small pipes with meters, vintage gramophones jars and pots of botanicals on the shelves.
A member of staff immediately attended and let me choose as I pleased to sit at any table. It was a surprise to see him open the blue telephone box, taking out a drink’s menu. The telephone houses the restaurant menus and takes calls for reservations. The two floors are spacious and can seat up to 80 people.
As I waited for my companion to arrive, I glanced at the menu, it is full of interesting cocktail mixes, playing with spice elements, as someone who doesn’t drink. The five mocktails looked great, eventually settling with Flavours of Indica £6.50.
As a mocktail, my drink was very well prepared and evenly balanced with the pomegranate juice, nutty coconut water and their homemade spice syrup.
My friend finally arrived and went for one of the gins cocktails. There was only one other diner at the time, we came during the late afternoon.
We started off with the till wali yellowfin tuna, a raw meat dish coated in black and white sesame seeds, accompanied with kalonji cucumber, chilli caviar and baby leek £9.00.
The next dish is the soft-shell crab, coated up In Amritsari (North India) batter giving that bright orange colour. Underneath the soft shell crab is tamarind King Edward potato mash and a dollop of tadka mayonnaise £8.50. The combination of spices in the coated batter, crunchy deep-fried soft crab shell and subtle sour-sweet semblances.
The chef created something off the menu for us, curried crab cakes with chilli and tadka mayonnaise.
Our next stop was the mains, it defiantly brought a party of vibrant colours from the two different curries and side plates.
Starting with kaffir lime rice £4.00, long thin grains came with different specks of colour and a subtle hint of lime with chopped pistachios scattered on top.
This paired with the corn-fed bergamot lemon chicken tikka & makhani sauce £14.00 went down well. I couldn’t get enough of the tikka & makhani sauce, the tomato flavour truly stood out, and tender moist chicken pieces became addictive.
Slow-braised lamb shoulder rogan josh £15.50, had zesty citrus flavours, the tender meat fell apart as you take a bite.
The other side of sautéed Curly Kale with shredded hispi cabbage, turmeric & ginger £6.00 is an interesting mix. Kale and cabbage are crunchy and filling enough to replace starchy rice.
We also ordered some fresh chilli & garlic naan £4.00 to soak up the remainder of the curry sauces.
By the time we finished mains, we started to become full but couldn’t say no to desserts and tea to keep us warm from the chill outside.
We opted for the kulfi semi freddo with falooda noodles and clove-spiced chocolate sauce £7. The frozen desserts come shaped in a cone, drizzled with chilli chocolate sauces and noodles. Noodles in a dessert dish, well I know there’s a place in HK that does ho fun looking noodles in a dessert bowl. Falooda noodles look similar to vermicelli and are popular in Indian desserts.
To finish off was another stand out dish, shahi brioche tukda, tandoor pineapple, pistachio crumb & saffron cream £7 hits all the right notes. Toasted brioche is firm and crumbly, the pineapple is served warm, punchy sourness, pistachio crumb & saffron cream is poured on top.
Flora Indica serves up nontraditional Indian dishes with British ingredients. Small plates take you along the journey of India and those Scottish botanical explorers.
For more information the visit Flora Indica website.
242 Old Brompton Road London SW5 0DE
Opening Times: Monday-Friday – 12:00-15:00 & 17:00-23:00
Saturday-Sunday – 12:00-23:00
020 7730 4450
This was a complimentary meal as I was invited by the PR agency.