Gastronomical Botany


SID RAGHAVA goes to Flora Indica in his endless pursuit of the finest in Indo-British gastronomy


Flora Indica is a book which came out in 1855. It was a comprehensive compendium of epic discoveries made by pioneering Scottish botanists in 19th century India. It is a fitting name especially since Flora Indica expertly combines the best of British innovation and India’s historical connection with beneficial use of herbs and plants such as those espoused through the ancient discipline/science of Ayurveda.

As you enter this rather stylish eatery at the corner of Old Brompton Road, you’ll be thrilled by the Victorian steampunk vibes that reverberate within the zinc, copper and brass touches. The food at Flora Indica is an accomplished collaboration of Indian heritage and quality British produce. It is modern and innovative whilst still staying true to classic flavours. There is even a house amber ale brewed locally in Kensington and Chelsea (W10) by Portobello Brewery to complement the wizardry of some rather leftfield small plates, at least by London standards, such as Baby Bitter Gourd and Delica Pumpkin Kadi (the latter being the original Indian pronunciation of curry or curry leaves – the word comes from it). There is also an interesting take on Indian street food with the fabulous Jerusalem Artichoke Papdi Chaat.

As you’d expect at a place with botanical connections, vegans can feel completely at home here with dishes such as the wonderfully balanced Sauteed Zucchini and Carrot laced with coconut, curry leaves and ginger chilli). For meat and game lovers, there is a Venison Biryani is to die for.

For those with a sweet tooth, the Warm Candy Beetroot Halwas served with Amarkhand (a clotted cream flavoured with mangoes) and seasonal berries tops off the thoroughly enjoyable fare at FI.

IAll in all, Flora Indica is a class act which delivers on ts wonderfully exquisite concept through immaculate execution and finishing and is indeed a triumph of Indo-British cuisine.

Flora Indica 242 Old Brompton Road, Earls Court, London, SW5 0DE www.flora-indica.com