Flor, the outstanding Borough Market restaurant and bakery, is going all in on flour power. It will open a new arch at Spa Terminus devoted to bread and pastries, while the London Bridge site will no longer be the small plate restaurant wine bar it has been for the past three years, instead evolving into a bakery and wine shop, open early in the morning and for lunch.
The new Spa Terminus arch will follow neighbours like Monmouth Coffee, Neal’s Yard Dairy, The Butchery, and Puntarelle and Co in opening to the public on Saturdays, while acting as a production bakery for retail, wholesale, and a new national delivery and subscription service that will launch in November. Having built out the logistics for such an operation with mince pie kits — and a home delivery service from Flor’s Michelin-starred sibling Lyle’s in Shoreditch — in 2020 over lockdown, it allows for regular deliveries of bread, pastries, coffee beans, and other extras all over the city.
Helen Evans will oversee the baking at both premises, having succeeded Anna Higham’s custodianship of all things flour when she departed Lyle’s for The River Cafe. Evans has continued Flor’s singular style of baking, in which French tradition is given an English accent, and aggressive caramelisation, heritage wheats, and a rotating cast of seasonal fruit pastries make it one of the best bakeries in London. Flour will sometimes be milled on site, and sometimes be bought from millers across the U.K. which share “a commitment to supporting more resilient agricultural practices like the agroforestry approach [and] regenerative farming methods.”
Evans says that the choice to work with particular wheat varieties isn’t just about the finished product, but contributing to agricultural practices that prolong the longevity of the crops that Flor relies on. “Take Red Lammas as an example, one of the oldest long-straw varieties (first recorded in 1660) and one that we’ve used in many different recipes at Flor; it grows taller in the field, and therefore so do its roots, meaning it’s better equipped to scavenge what nutrients it needs to grow and prosper directly from the soil, negating the need for commercial fertilisers. Because it grows taller, it’s also much better at naturally suppressing the weeds that try to compete with it, negating the need for commercial pesticides.”
These wheats, and the use of varieties like emmer, spelt, and einkorn, makes baking — already a complex balancing act of meticulous precision in measurement and more experiential knowledge that comes with time — less predictable. “They perpetually keep the bakers on their toes (which is a great thing!) — we’re constantly having to adapt our recipes as the flours change season to season, which means our products sometimes vary in flavour, texture and even appearance,” Evans tells Eater London.
None of that is changing with the opening of Spa Terminus, but its renewed focus at Flor comes with a trade off: The closure of one of the most engaging, inventive kitchens in the city over the past 18 months. Both in its ASAP Pizza guise and as a wine bar / restaurant, helmed by Pam Yung, it consistently delivered some of the most interesting food of its kind in the city, largely thanks to Yung’s close to peerless intermingling of her past experiences with modern London cooking. A spokesperson for the restaurant told Eater London that Yung is leaving the restaurant at the end of October, “to continue her travels.” Meanwhile, Flor’s new life will see it open earlier — from 8 a.m. — and close at 3 p.m., selling sandwiches at lunchtime alongside pastries, with fillings including roast chicken Caesar and smoked eel with pickled watermelon rind. Small plates will also persist on the menu, alongside coffee, whose quality — like at sibling Lyle’s currently closed morning “coffee bar” — rivals most of the city’s best cafes.
Stay tuned for more news on the arch as it gets closer to opening.