Can something be completely brilliant and utterly impractical at the same time? Your heart says no, but your head, and Twitter addiction, say something quite different. So too does Flor, a small plates restaurant next to Borough Market that will leave you stuttering in enjoyment from a single flatbread, as well as scratching your head as to whether its name is a very intentional pun.
Flor is a baffling, brilliant, box-sized restaurant. It’s also a wine bar, a bakery, and, with three prawns for £18, an unregistered debt collector too. You’ll enter sideways, like a daddy longlegs hugging the wall, because that’s how everybody has to here, up and down the spiral staircase, from one cosy exposed brick room to another. Meanwhile the staff, who look and move like the lithe offspring of a vampire and an Acne Studios model, expertly slip and slide around the “sorry-excuse-me-pardon-me” space, all dipping, diving, and dealing out lardo-covered toast and brown butter cakes that would have Dracula renounce any interest in the red stuff. Especially after he’s sucked every last drop from one of those Scarlet prawn heads.
You don’t have to be a Transylvanian nobleman to come to Flor, but it certainly wouldn’t hurt thanks to the occasionally batshit prices and stomach-rumbling portions. A meal here is going to cost you at least £70 a head and when they say you’ll be sharing small plates, they mean small. There’s no doubt you could easily eat one coaster-sized, ten pound, datterini tart all to yourself. Instead you’ll end up sharing what may well be the best tart you ever begrudgingly split in half. Sweet from the tomatoes, smooth from the aubergine underneath, and salty from the feta on top. You’ll feel similarly about the brown butter cakes. Perfectly crisp and straight-out-the-oven gooey, if they entered the Bake Off tent there’d be more handshakes going around than at a Freemasons knees-up.
These aren’t the only overdraft-extending plates of food that Flor’s capable of. Those three Scarlet prawns at six quid a pop are, like all moments of ecstasy, too fleeting. But the ceremonial sucking of the (prawn) heads will have you feeling like a selvedge denim wearing version of Indiana Jones, and they also make the enjoyment last a little longer. Another palm-sized flirt is the mussel or clam flatbread. Covered in melted sheep’s cheese, yellow wine sauce, with chewy, briny bombs on top, this dinky pizza deserves to be bigger. For your sake. For our sake. For the world’s sake. So please sign our petition on the matter here.
It’s when the food at Flor isn’t stupefying you that you begin to see some of the stupidity. For example a £26 bit of deer is a perfectly cooked, five bite plate of food between two. Sorry Bambi, but we would’ve preferred your mother. In fact all of the ‘bigger’ plates here are screaming for sides, just as your stomach will be for sustenance. Because once you factor in some wine, a bowl of dud coco beans, or some funky nutty lettuce, you’ll suddenly have a meal that wooed you at the start, before giving you two fingers in the middle, and three figures at the end.
What this adds up to is an impractical restaurant. One that’s a wine bar, without the space to hang unless you want to risk leaning into a skillet of (albeit delicious) brandade. A place that is by rights a bakery, much in the same way that caviar is, in theory, a spread. Come to Flor with any more than one person, or in the hope of lazily undoing your top button by the end, then you may well leave disappointed. But if sometimes flawless tasting food is all you care about, then Flor is practically perfect.
Going to a restaurant and paying nigh on a tenner for a piece of toast is peak London. That said, this is even better than your 8am peanut butter and sriracha creation. There’s a seriously good crust, soft anchovies, and layers of melt in your mouth cured lardo that looks like the most delicious cling film ever.
There’s something otherworldly about these prawns and they’re worth every penny of £18. The flavour is almost butter-like and the tang of the yuzu kosho works brilliantly with them. It’s all about the heads though. They’re the best, or certainly the most delicious, make-out session you’ll ever have.
Summer loving had us a blast. Summer loving happened so fast. Met a tart we were crazy to eat. Met it at Flor it was as cute as can be. Summer menu drifting away, but oh oh we’ll remember that tart.
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Flor is, by and large, very good at flavours, but this salad is plain weird. Enormous lettuce leafs made flobby with a load of satay-ish sauce on top and a pile of Parmesan for good measure. Pass.
Arguably Flor’s most generous portion is this pie-like brandade. It’s a moreish skillet of soft potato and salty cod with a satisfyingly crisp top. The soft roasted peppers laden with vinegar are what really makes it though.
This is the Dannii Minogue of flatbreads. Perfectly nice and enjoyable, but it will forever live in the shadow of its sibling who we just can’t get out of our head.
Flor definitely knows how to cook meat and this lamb rib is a fine example. It’s juicy, with crisp fat, and it’s covered in a pile of what we can only describe as ‘pistachio stuff’. It’s very nice though.
When we picture a deer we picture a hulking animal. A majestic beast that, to channel Adrian Mole, revels in its majesty. These two deer fillets, while perfectly cooked and quite delicious, appear to have misplaced the rest of their body. And as nice as the two slithers of squash are with it, you’ll want more for £26.
Brown butter cakes. It’s literal. It’s factual. But it’s like a parent telling a child they’re ‘going on a trip’, before plopping them in the middle of Disneyland with a bag full of Tangfastics. If there is a better cake in London, then we have yet to try it.
Hmmm. That’s the noise you’ll make when this is put in front of you. Hmmm. There’s a pool of nut juice in my pumpkin ice cream. Hmmm. That cookie is nice, mind. It’s all kind of nice. But, hmmm. Maybe not.