If Alice had fallen down the rabbit hole on Old Brompton Road, chances are she would have ended up in Flora-Indica – a fantastical new all-day British-Indian bar and dining venue inspired by the plants of the subcontinent.
Officially launching on 26 November, Flora-Indica will feature a host of creative British and Indian flavour combinations throughout its dishes and cocktails, all originating from some of the tens of thousands of plants that were discovered, labelled and studied in nurseries throughout the two nations by botanists such as Robert Kyd and William Roxburgh.
The menu has been carefully created by Sameer Taneja, latterly executive chef at Benares Restaurant & Bar which retained a Michelin star under his leadership. Having previously worked alongside gastronomy luminaries such as Michel Roux, Pierre Koffmann and Pascal Proyart, Sameer now brings all this Michelin star training to bear on contemporary dishes such as Juniper & cardamom spiced Blythburgh free range pork chop, Bramley apple curry & kutchumber, Spiced Gressingham duck & orange gel, Shetland black potato, organic chickpeas & wheat puffs and Sweet naan of Colston Bassett stilton, figs, quince jelly & fennel cress.
The drinks offering at Flora-Indica will be spearheaded by a unique collection of fresh botanical cocktails, among them standouts such as Ginger Lily (Gin, ginger root, ginger beer, fresh lime juice & orange bitters) and Highland Groove (Scotch, apple juice, cinnamon & mint), together with a fine selection of malt whisky and craft beer specially made by the Portobello Brewery. A dedicated Punch & Gin bar will serve up creative Indian punches, Victorian-inspired shrubs and small batch spirits such as Tarquin’s Cornish gin. An array of premium quality teas and bespoke infusions from Tea Palace are also part of this impressive line-up of libations.
Flora-Indica’s dazzling décor is the creation of Henry Chebaane of experiential design studio Blue Sky Hospitality. Deciding from the outset to create a multi sensory environment that would connect with guests on several levels, Henry took as his inspiration Flora Indica a catalogue of Indian plants last published in 1855, which he would re-edit for a modern audience as an immersive experience.
Designed as a tribute to the Scottish botanists who travelled through the Indian Empire on a voyage of discovery, the exponents of 19th century surreal and fantastic literature, from Lewis Carroll to H.G. Wells, and other inspirations for the neo-Victorian Steampunk movement, Flora-Indica’s eclectic interiors almost defy description.
An eccentric mix of Kensington residential elegance, Victorian fantasy and postmodernist design, here 21st century resins co-exist alongside 19th century steel. Cool white marbled surfaces and metalwork are offset by warm teak, English oak flooring and bespoke McQueen and Westwood-influenced upholstery in Harris Tweed matched with the very finest leathers.
Not only ceilings but entire walls are covered with dozens of handcrafted vintage plaster roses. Meanwhile spreading across two floors is “G.H.O.S.T.”, a conceptual art installation inspired by 19th century science and industry.
Flora-Indica’s ground floor will comprise a 30-seat cocktail lounge, while the lower- ground floor dining room can seat up to 70. Private dining is also available, with banquettes under the vaults available for group hire.