Flora Indica is named after a book published in 1855 detailing the voyage of Scottish botanists out to explore exotic plants on the subcontinent… The interiors are certainly eclectic with vintage trinkets, explorer’s walking sticks, a royal blue phone box and Harris Tweed as a nod to its Scottish connection.
The menu is made up of small plates designed for sharing, including adaptations of traditional curries as well as small plates. We were recommended to try three or four small plates between two, followed by one of their curries. To begin, we sampled the achari tender broccoli, Paneer cheese and spinach bon-bon and Jerusalem artichoke Papdi Chaat. The Jerusalem artichoke came as small fried ‘crisps’ layered with tamarind yoghurt and pomegranate – we’d never had artichoke cooked like this before and enjoyed the crunchy texture with the cool yoghurt. The paneer cheese and spinach bonbon came shaped like a sausage and was similar in texture to a falafel. The paneer was great and the heritage tomato chutney (more like a sauce!) added a nice flavour and stopped it from being too dry.
For our curries, we opted for the sautéed zucchini and carrot with toasted coconut, curry leaves and ginger chilli which had a real kick to it! We also had the monkfish and king prawn Bengali Malaicurry with coconut. The coconut flavour was reminiscent of a korma but so much more! It managed to be sweet without being sickly and the large chunks of monkfish and king prawns added the needed weight to the dish. This is one that you’ll want a naan to mop up all of the sauce with!
Not one to normally try desserts at an Indian restaurant, we were persuaded by the waitress to try their warm candy beetroot halwa. Sweet and sticky, the beetroot almost tasted like dates or raisins and was flavoured with spices to give it a warmth. Initially dubious, we were won over by this one!
Flora Indica is on the Old Brompton Road, for more information, visit: http://flora-indica.com/flora03/