Melbourne makes late winter that little less bleak by scheduling in the Melbourne International Film Festival and Writers Festival (and the Fringe Festival isn't trailing far behind!). We've been attending lots of events and sneaking in some CBD meals around them. Red Pepper and Shandong Mama are faves, Fonda saw us through one dinner and we've also returned to Flora Indian Restaurant, which we first blogged nine long years ago. Its Flinders St location is convenient to Fed Square, they're open 'til 10 or 11pm and they turn around food fast - all good qualities for a festival feed.
Flora is an experience with few frills - choose from flourescent-lit menu boards and pick up your own food, drinks and cutlery. There are no markings for special dietary requirements, although there are plenty of meat-free options. There's also abundant seating, and Bollywood clips to bop along to if you position yourself in view of the TV.
We picked out some mini lassis from the fridge ($3 each; rose on the left and mango on the right). They were thick and yoghurty smooth.
Michael requested an all-veg Large Combo Meal ($11.90) and was treated to three veg curries, daal, rice and a pappadum. They weren't super-spicy but did offer enough diversity, and Michael rapidly cleared his plate.
I grazed on the snacktacular Dosa Meal ($10.90), starting with a too-hot-to-handle steamed iddly, a room temperature sauce-soaked vada, and crunchy masala dosa square. There was even some soooooooper sweet kheer for dessert.
Judged on fast food terms, Flora excels with quick service, a comfortable setting, and a varied menu. We'll continue to rely on it when we've got tickets to something in the city.
You can read about our first visit to Flora here (9 years ago!). Since then, it's received a scattering of blog support. Footscray Food Blog, New International Students and A lost Indian in Melbourne love it, while The Ortolan's Last Meal and Asian Restaurants in Melbourne were reasonably satisfied with their experiences.
Flora Indian Restauran
238 Flinders St, Melbourne
menu 1, 2
Accessibility: The entry is wide and flat, and the tables are well spaced with flexibility to move them around yourself. We ordered, paid and picked up our food at low-ish counters, and helped ourselves to cutlery and water. We didn't visit the toilets.