Breakfast and Booze: Reviewing Flora & Muse

Categories: Breakfast

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Photos by Troy Fields
Flora & Muse's patio may not appeal now, but it begs a lingering visit in cooler weather.
For a very long time, it used be that my family and I would trek over to the Le Peep at Wilcrest and Westheimer when we wanted brunch in West Houston. Le Peep is neither the best nor the worst brunch spot in town, but it is consistently packed. And 20 years ago, even ten years ago, I can't imagine there was a nicer spot to get brunch on the west side than Le Peep. That's just how it was.

And now there's Flora & Muse. Yes, it serves more than just brunch (and, in fact, its creative cocktails and excellent flatbreads are two of the reasons I enjoy it so much), but it represents a sea change in restaurant demographics in this part of town. While West Houston, Memorial and the surrounding Villages have long been areas of concentrated wealth, upscale restaurants have traditionally been slow to cater to these neighborhoods.

There are places such as Bistro Provence, Le Mistral, Brenner's and other casually upscale restaurants, but for each of them there are far more chain restaurants and fast food joints. Memorial Drive between Kirkwood and Dairy Ashford has long been a bowling alley of exactly those types of restaurants, with only a few non-chains surviving over the years. Hungry's and Liebman's are two shining examples of those survivors.

And now, thanks to CityCentre, West Houston has a concentration of restaurants to rival those found in Upper Kirby, the Galleria area or River Oaks. Sure, many of the restaurants at CityCentre are also chains (even the really great ones, like Straits). But the development also contains local talent, too: Bistro Alex, The Tasting Room and Flora & Muse, the subject of this week's cafe review.

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Some people -- my own family included -- weren't thrilled to see CityCentre go up, nor were they thrilled with the tenants that came into the development. At the risk of paraphrasing, the see-and-be-seen atmosphere of many of CityCentre's bars and restaurants was not appealing to some established residents in the area. After all, there's a reason they don't live in River Oaks and have chosen the quieter pace of the 'burbs.

But for others -- notably the younger demographic in this area -- CityCentre represents a godsend. They don't have to drive inside the Loop to experience a vigorous and robust nightlife and glittering restaurant scene; CityCentre provides all of that on their doorstep. It's attractive to people who commute into town for work and aren't interested in spending extra time (or gas) on the road.

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For me, it's the allure of places like Flora & Muse that make the drive outside of the Loop worthwhile. There are cocktails there I can't get anywhere else in town, like the wonderfully of-the-moment Check Mate made with Riazul añejo tequila, Velvet Falernum, jasmine liqueur, pineapple, basil and lime. There are dishes I can't get anywhere else in town, too, like the Turkish-influenced lahmacun flatbread or a terribly standard ahi poke dish that's enhanced with the simple addition of purple-tinged taro chips.

And Flora & Muse is more than that: It's also a useful restaurant for area residents, whether they like the bustling nightlife at CityCentre or not. As much as it's an ideal date night spot, it's also perfect for rambling, leisurely brunches with great Bloody Marys. For French press coffee on a sunny morning with freshly baked croissants that may not be life-changing, but are lovely in their own way. For the kind of food and service that any Inner Loop restaurant would be lucky to have.

View more photos from Flora & Muse in our slideshow.



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Location Info

Flora & Muse - CLOSED

12860 Queensbury Lane, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant


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4 comments
Texasredraider281
Texasredraider281

I must say that I'm utterly disappointed with this restaurant. I was ready to email Gordan Ramsey to help out with a truly so called "Kitchen Nightmare". The only person that truly knew what their job description was the lovely hostess. This place is in no way a high class restaurant and as a visitor from Dallas know why the Good food Houston is supposed to have is much better up in North Texas. My Ahi Tuna came out raw and in no way can those as the kitchen staff master cooking a salad. I hope your manger staff finds my unimpressive message that " this place is horrible". Most of the staff was running around like a chicken with its head cut off. At least you got the drink orders right, but service was the worst. I will not be coming back.

Jalapeno
Jalapeno

I am so underwhelmed by the offerings in CityCentre, and would say  the same of the magnificent West Avenue venue that I have never been to:.  Parking: atrocious, really the top 2 floors  of garages EMPTY for valet parking . Food is all the same, excepting probably Pondicheri and if I ever get the nerve to brave West Avenue, I'll try it..  Flora & Muse has long ago demonstrated its inadequacy for me, with slow service and average food after two visits.  In 102 degree temps, we don't want to walk miles through parking garages to get to the destination  Maybe when the temps turn favorable...

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

I can't say I've ever had a problem parking, but then again...I like the walk before and after a meal. :)

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