If we’re going to talk about The Florist, first we need to talk about the smell. The building itself is stunning – it’s the Old Blind School at 24 Hardman Street, carved out of limestone with steps up to the front door framed by wrought iron gates. But the real star of the show? The aroma of fresh flowers. Like, shove-your-head-straight-into-a-bouquet kind of sensory experience... and fabulous it was too.
The fragrant balm in the air is down to the botanical display of flowers in all shades; powder puff pinks; silky magnolia whites; sugar-sweet lilacs and beautiful baby blues in every room of the two-storey venue. To the left of the main entrance was an equally well-dressed bar area, to the right was an event space where a long table of guests were crafting flower crowns, and up the majestic staircase was the main dining area.
Seated on extravagantly upholstered floral chairs, we wasted no time in ordering a couple of drinks from the winter cocktails menu. I went for the Marshmallow Milkshake (£7.95) and my partner ordered the Moët Kissmass (£9.95). The first - a festive muddle of vanilla vodka, crème de cacao, almond milk, Baileys and dulce de leche - was served in a bronze camping cup, while the second - a flute of Champagne, rhubarb syrup, Roku gin and blue pea flower - was crowned with a nest of technicolour candyfloss which turned the tongue blue.
My Marshmallow Milkshake was a tad disappointing in the flavour department but I was later consoled by a fabulous Cherry Bakewell Sour (£9.95). A sweet, sharp cocktail, it was a mix of Disaronno, Cherry Marnier, hibiscus syrup and lemon juice, topped with an apple and cinnamon foam.
As we sipped our way through the cocktail list, we delved into the brand new Asian-inspired menu. From the large dishes, we chose 'KFC' Korean fried chicken (£14.95) and the salt and pepper tofu bento box (£9.95); the latter containing the best vegetable gyozas I’ve ever eaten, a mountain of steamed edamame, luxurious coconut rice and a refreshing seaweed salad to set it all off.
A real highlight, the crispy rice balls (£4.50) were crunchy and well-seasoned on the outside but sticky on the inside and dipped into a silky Sriracha mayonnaise dip. Eloquently-presented sushi rolls (£7.50 for 5 pcs) were stuffed with tender tuna and complemented by slices of fresh ginger. Saving room for dessert, we shared some Nutella donuts (£6.95) - dunked into a decadent white chocolate and fudge dipping sauce.
The DesignMyNight Digest
A real beauty, The Florist is serving up style and substance in abundance. Sitting closer to mid-range when it comes to price, this is a great place to consider if you’re looking for something special that won’t absolutely bust your budget. Every single detail is covered here, from the smell of fresh flowers in the air to the candyfloss crown on top of your cocktail - a real treat for all the senses.