One of the best bakeries in London waves goodbye to the city on 26 Saturday, when Flor closes its retail and production arch in Spa Terminus.
Announcing the closure on Instagram, and as reported by Code, the bakery — led by Helen Evans — said:
We’re so proud of the quality of bread and viennoiserie that @helenefleur26 and our bakers have produced in the last 12 months. The decision to source all of our organic wheats and long-straw grains from British smallholdings has been a wonderfully challenging and hugely rewarding experience. Working with these amazing farmers and millers has helped us generate flavours that have consistently exceeded our expectations and we look forward to finding new ways of working with them in the future.
We want to say an enormous thank you to all the talented bakers, chefs and baristas that put so much into the bakery - it’s been a time of constant changes and learning and we are so grateful for your efforts.
Evans is moving on with a new bakery project in Dulwich in the spring, opening at 20 Upland Road. As part of the transition, Andrew Lowkes of lauded Bath bakery Landrace will act as bread baker for Lyle’s, Flor’s Michelin-starred sibling long known for its outstanding loaf.
Flor arrived in Spa Terminus in December 2021, having formerly run out of a much smaller space in the basement of its namesake restaurant, in Borough Market. Between Evans and founding head baker Anna Higham, from whom Evans took over when she moved to the River Cafe, it put out some of the most compelling breads, viennoiserie, and other pastries in the city. Evans continued and honed Flor’s singular style of baking, in which French tradition was given an English accent, with aggressive caramelisation, heritage wheats, and a rotating cast of seasonal fruit pastries. The use of heritage wheats, and grain varieties like emmer, spelt, and einkorn, made its baking — already a complex balancing act of meticulous precision in measurement and more experiential knowledge that comes with time — less predictable, but more exciting.
It also provided a shop window for two outstanding pastries formerly confined to Lyle’s: Higham’s brown butter cakes and mince pies.
The closure of this last element marks the end of one of the more exciting looks at what a restaurant and bakery can do together London has seen for some time. If speaking in culinary genres, nothing Flor was doing was particularly remarkable: sharing plates, natural wine, pastries, pizza. But hidden in the bakery, and Pam Yung and ASAP Pizza’s straightforwardly barnstorming success, was a more complex thing: the ferocity of devotion was not that of populism, but of obsession — with quality, with interesting food, with constant evolution — that defined its work and in turn inspired its adoring fans.