Flora Restaurant Offers Plant Based Dining in West Hartford
West Hartford’s Blue Back Center has recently welcomed a new and unique restaurant to their already large array of dining choices.
And in my humble opinion, to make it in West Hartford center you really have to be something special.
This new restaurant Flora – is just that.
Flora is owned by power couple KC and Jamie Ward, who both grew up in West Hartford. In 2015, they opened their first farm-to-table restaurant, Rooster Co. in Newington.
If you haven’t been to Rooster Co. we highly recommend going and getting the chicken and waffles (you will not be disappointed).
Now, after great success with Rooster Co., they have opened Flora in Blue Back Center – right across from Whole Foods. Not only is the name Flora beautiful and enchanting, its also the scientific way of expressing all plant-based life on earth (I couldn’t love that more).
We asked co-owner KC, how Flora is similar to Rooster Co. and how it differs. He responded, “If restaurants are like children, then Flora is the newest addition to our family. It has many of the same textures of casual atmosphere and quality service as Rooster Co. The vegan ensemble of ingredients prevents many similarities of menus. The organic chicken is the same but it’s pan-roasted at Flora, as opposed to rotisserie at Rooster Co.”
Note: the chicken at Rooster Co. is to die for.
A Local & Seasonal Menu
Flora’s menu will be changing with what is available and fresh. KC told us, “I work closely with Dale and Torrie Young of Young Farms in East Granby. Chef Chris Prosperi first made me aware of their polenta back in 2009, which they grow and mill at their farm. I have greatly enjoyed growing my relationship with them over the years…
it has become so meaningful to walk the fields which our foods come from.
Even though the winter is approaching I will be able to continue sourcing heirloom dry beans, flour, and root vegetables.”
A Range of Vegan Options
Flora is a vegan inspired restaurant, but also offers sustainably raised animal foods “for the responsible omnivores out there.” Loving both vegan foods and animal products, we decided to explore both options on the menu.
KC told us “Flora was born from the health inspired vegan choices my wife/biz partner Jaime and I have found ourselves making while still wanting to occasionally enjoy responsibly sourced animal products.”
A Plant-Based Restaurant
While basically every restaurant around has a wide variety of meat options to choose from, there aren’t many plant-based options in the area.
“I believe I am uniquely a progressive hybrid of sorts in that I’m not exclusively vegan and invite omnivores the opportunity to enjoy some vegan dishes or our responsibly sourced fauna” (a.k.a responsibly sourced animal products) KC explained.
Trying out the Menu (From Heaven)
We asked KC what he anticipates to be the most popular menu items and what his favorite menu item is, he told us: “the faux cheese plate, bucatini no-meatballs (which are TVP based), vegan carrot cake and all the specialty fresh juices/smoothies/elixirs from their juice bar.”
And “Tempa is my jam.”
While we didn’t get to try everything on the menu (for obvious reasons), we tried to order a variety of options.
To start, we ordered the Beet and Beef Tartare as our viable fauna option. Beets and beef tartare are two of my favorite foods, so you can imagine how delicious I found this.
We then tried the BBQ Tofu, and as someone who doesn’t even like tofu, I found myself going back for seconds.
For a salad, we picked the Shredded Lettuce. This might have been my favorite thing we ordered all night – it was the perfect shareable portion and perfectly dressed, with a great balance of sweet and savory toppings.
For the main course, we shared the Farro Risotto. To be honest, we were nervous about sharing the main course because we didn’t think it would be enough food. Well, Flora proved us wrong; there was more than enough for the two of us (we even took some home for lunch the next day). The risotto was smooth and surprisingly creamy for having no dairy added, and the butternut squash and walnuts gave the dish a nice crunch.
I would definitely order this again.
And of course, we had to finish the night off with dessert, so we decided to try the Carrot Cake with Cashew Frosting.
If you closed your eyes, you would have never guessed in a million years that this cake was vegan – it was perfectly moist with amazing spice and flavor.
I would go back for just that cake… over and over again.
All in all, I was amazed at the quality of food at Flora and how delicious everything was while still being completely vegan (with the exception of the beet and beef tartare). Add all that to the cozy atmosphere and you have created one amazing restaurant.
I would recommend Flora to everyone – vegan and omnivores alike.
Location: 45 Raymond Rd West Hartford
General Hours: Lunch 11:30AM-4PM, Dinner 5PM-10PM Tuesday through Sunday
Happy Hour: 4-6PM