Indian food really is my one true love. It’s my dessert island choice of cuisine and I eat it more than any other. At its most basic level, Indian food still manages to offer flavour in abundance and comes in many different guises. The UK foodie boom has also turned our love for old-fashioned Indian British restaurants, into modern ones serving traditional Indian food. With that in mind we recently found ourselves at Flora Indica in Earl’s Court. A new Modern Indian restaurant specialising in small plates.
We started our Indian journey here with a bowl of green banana kali mirch chips with smoked garlic yoghurt. A lovely introduction to our evening and a great nibble. While pursuing over the menu we ordered a cheeky cocktail. They’re a real strength here at Flora Indica and something I’d happily return alone for. The Chillitini, was a mixture of Ketel One vodka, ancho reyes, chilli liqueur, pomegranate juice, fig liqueur and citrus. Very well mixed and very delicious. I love any drink with chilli and this really hit the spot.
The food at Flora Indica is all about sharing and two of my favourite dishes from the entire meal were actually the first we ate – but also the ones we didn’t want to share. The deep-fried amritsari softshell crab with tadka mayonnaise was a crab revelation in my opinion. A dish I love and Flora Indica took it to new heights. The tamarind king Edward potato underneath the crispy crab was equally as enjoyable. Seviya chicken wings with tangy spring onion dip and charred cipolini onion was another stunner, packed with flavour and subtle spice – though a little prickly perhaps.
Of course eating in an Indian restaurant, we couldn’t not try their chaat offering. Here they serve it was a slight twist, using Jerusalem artichoke as the crispy goodness and drizzled with tamarind sauce and lots of yoghurt. This was one of my favourite chaats of the year so far and I’ve eaten my fair share to compare.
While the majority of the food is all about sharing, there is such thing as a main course and so you really can keep it all to yourself. Corn-fed bergamot lemon chicken tikka came served in a rich & creamy makhani sauce and was utter heaven. It was one of those dishes which leaves you gasping momentarily and the sauce was so much more refined than I’d expected. Slow braised Suffolk lamb shoulder came in an indulgent and silky rogan josh sauce which did not disappoint us. Perfect for dipping a naan or two in.
A side of kaffir lime and pistachio basmati rice, gorgeous creamed spinach with dill and a naan of dreams. The latter was smothered in fresh chilli and garlic and that bowl of spinach was practically perfect, if not full of butter and calories.
I really enjoyed desserts here at Flora Indica too. Any dessert in an Indian restaurant is almost always satisfying, but the team here has created familiar classics and given them some rather bold and modern twists. Shahi brioche tukda with tandoori pineapple and pistachio crumb and saffron milk cream was lovely. A dish and full of textures and flavours. Star dessert for me was the warm candy beetroot halwa with amarkhand and seasonal berries. Similar to the classic carrot halwa, but the beetroot adding a that little extra sweetness and earthiness. My only negative was in the description – the word candy should be removed because it only make the dish sound sickly sweet, which it’s not.
I’m so glad I got to experience Flora Indica and given it’s technically my local, I’ll most certainly be returning. If you’re looking for a British curry house, this isn’t for you. But for those looking for something modern and a menu on-trend with everything that London is eating right now then you won’t be disappointed. I hope Flora Indica is here to stay because it’s a great addition to the London dining scene and particularly in a an area which has little good restaurants – until now.