Flora Indica is a cocktail bar and restaurant combining British and Indian flavours. The restaurant was originally scheduled to launch in October 2015, and it is fair to say that since then Flora Indica has been on our minds. It is, at the very least, an unusual proposition.
In food terms, they’re working with botanicals from the subcontinent, to celebrate how diverse British food can be. Conceptually, Flora Indica are giving Londoners a history lesson in Nineteenth Century botany. In their words, Flora Indica is “Kensington residential elegance, 19th Century industrial heritage, botanicals, and Victorian-inspired fantasy.”
Which all sounds superb. But then there’s an array of promo shots on Facebook that somewhat confuse us. Still, it’s all to play for at Flora Indica, and we’re excited to see the reviews.
In more detail, the restaurant is inspired by Nineteenth Century botanists Kyd and Roxburgh, who journeyed to India in search of spice. There’s everything from beaten upholstery and exposed metal pipes (imitating a 19th century distillery where the duo would have laboriously sought out new recipes), to plush banquette seating, which feels more like South Kensington. The interiors are the work of designer Henry Chebaane, who has a penchant for Victorian style.
On the ground floor, the cocktail bar has a focus on whisky and gin. There’s an extensive range of local brews, including crafts from Portobello brewery, and malt whiskies from small batches. But as the emphasis is on infusions, it’ll be worth trying a cocktail or two.
Downstairs, in the 70-cover dining room, the food epitomises fusion. Seasonal British ingredients are paired with the tens of thousands of Indian plants and flavours, from the 1855 Indian plant catalogue.