Summer is the perfect time to embrace European style café culture. Sitting at little tables on sunny pavements, sipping a glass of wine and watching the world go by is such a civilised way to while away a couple of hours. The new Flora terrace is directly outside the Sofitel Hotel in St James, allowing diners a view of Waterloo Place and the well-heeled passers-by.
Not easily missed, the two central tables have giant, cushioned swans to sit on, a nod to the Queen’s royal bird, given Flora was designed with the Jubilee celebrations in mind.
Taking inspiration from the flora and fauna of London’s many parks, the terrace boasts a menu curated by Michelin-starred chef Anthony Demetre and is part of a collaboration with Möet & Chandon.
Fittingly we started with a glass of crisp Möet & Chandon Impérial, the champagne partner of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Pageant, and dipped warm pitta into a gorgeous dollop of velvety taramasalata; a moment of true happiness as the bubbles from the champagne cut through the creamy texture of the dish.
The dressed Dorset crab looked beautiful, the meat delicate but flavoursome, though it is worth noting this came with no sides, not even bread, so sits on the lighter side of lunch.
The Scottish lobster brioche roll, however, was generously full of meaty lobster and satisfying sauce. Dotted with edible flowers, I am unsure what these add to the taste, but everything here looks pretty, right down to the decorative floral teapot at the end of the meal.
Foregoing dessert we opted for tea and coffee instead, but our best of intentions were thwarted as this came with a selection of delightful petit fours and a canelé each, a small French pastry with a dark, thick caramelised crust and a soft vanilla scented centre. It would have been perfect with a glass of demi-sec…