Flor, the bakery and wine bar created by Lyle’s co-founders James Lowe and John Ogier, has just reopened its doors to welcome guests once again.
With Pamela Yung at the helm of the kitchen, Flor continues to draw inspiration from the laid-back wine bars of Europe and further afield, baking cult patisserie and grain-focussed bread first thing before pouring wines by the glass and sending out plates from the kitchen.
Housed in a 19th century building a stone’s throw from Borough Market, Flor is now open from Tuesday to Saturday, with socially distanced seating and several new outdoor tables.
As autumn sunlight streams through the floor-to-ceiling windows, the morning will begin with fresh coffee, bread, and pastries drawing on Yung and head baker Helen Evans’ love of heritage grains, made with seasonal fruits - examples include poached quince and lemon verbena Danish or a savoury braised greens and cheese pastry. Grains such as Hen Gymro and April Bearded are grown at Fred Price’s Gothelney Farm in Somerset, and Mark Lea’s Green Acres farm in Shropshire, before being milled into flours in-house at Flor.
As thoughts turn to lunch and later dinner, guests can take their pick of sommelier Francesca Diliberto’s selection of low intervention wines from both Old and New World producers, before choosing from a new menu of plates.
Working closely with farmers such as Flourish in Cambridgeshire, Namayasai, and Mora Farm (Natoora), Yung sources produce at the peak of its season for her menu, with influences drawn from her time working in kitchens around the world. Her love of preserving, pickling and fermenting allows her to access summer produce year-round, and develop her very own pantry of flavours through the seasons.
To start, there may be nukazuke pickles such as turnips and beetroot pickled in wheat bran, a leftover from the bread-milling process that would otherwise have gone to waste.
Next, there will be dishes such as weekly-changing flatbreads that have been a menu mainstay since Flor’s opening, with the addition of new breads made with alternative starches and grains. This might be a Banh Xeo-style crispy savoury pancake, made with British legume flours from Hodmedods, and stuffed with roasted Delica squash, cabbage slaw, herbs and pickles.
Other items might include a Gilda-inspired skewered snack, a deep fried mozzarella and ‘nduja sandwich, and a poached cold marinated chicken dish.
Every Friday and Saturday, Flor will open its doors for brunch, serving dishes such as a beef tongue sandwich; smoked eel and black fig sourdough waffles; and a riff on the beloved kedgeree.
Over the past few months, Yung has served slice after slice of her ASAP Pizza pies for delivery, click and collect and then eat in - the team set up tables and chairs in Borough Market.
Topped with ingredients such as Fragola grape, fennel, Lardo di Colonnata, and stracciatella, ASAP Pizza will continue in the form of pizza parties in the coming months - these might be themed around ingredients and wines from a particular region such as Sicily, or be hosted by one of Flor’s favourite wine producers, uncorking bottles to accompany each pie.
James Lowe said, “As autumn arrives, we’re looking forward to welcoming everyone back to the table at Flor. While we’ve loved serving slices of ASAP Pizza throughout the summer, the time is right to bring back our bakery and wine bar.”
Yung added, “In light of the pandemic, it’s important to think about food and restaurants in a different way, working even harder to take responsibility for the ingredients we use, using our platforms to better the world and focussing more on everyday staples such as bread. This is an amazing time of year to be in the kitchen, and we can’t wait for the next phase at Flor.”