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Breakfast on the Beltway

Flora & Muse offers charming, European-style bistro fare.

 See more of the breakfast and booze at Flora & Muse in our slideshow.

One quiet Saturday morning, I sat perched at a marble-topped pub-style table, cushioned into a plush, oversize banquet, sipping strong coffee from a similarly Alice in Wonderland-esque mug. My friend Michael and I were happily jabbering and catching up over breakfast at Flora & Muse, our pub table spilling over with plates, mugs and elegant glasses of Bloody Marys.

I hadn't seen a Bloody Mary on the breakfast menu that morning, but was in need of one nevertheless, and asked our waiter if the bar could make me one (yes, at 9:30 in the morning). She obliged my request with a smile, and returned shortly with two glasses — one for me, one for Michael — simply garnished and filled with a just-spicy-enough tomato mixture over ice.

The "European Breakfast" won't last long.
Troy Fields
The "European Breakfast" won't last long.

Location Info

Map

Flora & Muse

12860 Queensbury Lane, Ste. 143
Houston, TX 77024

Category: Restaurant > Breakfast

Region: Outer Loop - NW

Details

Hours: 7:30 a.m. to midnight, Sundays through Wednesdays, 7:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. Thursdays, 7:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
Classic Benedict breakfast: $12
European breakfast: $15
Greek zucchini fritters: $9
Ahi poke: $15
Lahmacun: $12
Chicken and wild mushroom pide: $14
Akaushi burger: $15
Australian lamb chops: $26
Steak-frites: $28


READ MORE:
BLOG POST: Breakfast and Booze: Reviewing Flora & Muse
SLIDESHOW: Breakfast and Booze at Flora & Muse

Our breakfasts didn't last long that morning. Eggs on both plates were handily cooked overeasy and poached. Vegetables were roasted and well-seasoned. Hollandaise was bright and citrusy. Croissants were flaky and buttery. Jam was thick, sweet, tasting homemade. Orange juice was freshly squeezed and almost obnoxiously sunny in both look and taste. My "European Breakfast" may have been $15, but it came served on a carved wooden tray — room-service style — complete with French press coffee, that orange juice and enough food for two people.

Ten years ago — even five years ago — I couldn't have imagined this scene, any of it, taking place at the corner of Beltway 8 and I-10, a corner of the city haunted by the dead and hulking mass of the long-abandoned Town & Country Mall. When the interchange between the two highways was rebuilt in 1989, it signaled the death knell of Town & Country in favor of the more easily accessed Memorial City Mall just up the road.

I grew up, quite literally, right across the street from Town & Country Mall. It was a blow to lose the mall and all of its upscale accoutrements: the Neiman Marcus, the Marshall Fields, the specialty chocolate store that looked transported from Bavaria. CityCentre — the best of the many "town square" concepts popping up across the city — has brought all of those things back to the area, for better or worse.

It also brought with it Flora & Muse, one of its anchor tenants, a charming bistro after the heart of that little chocolate store in the mall. It feels vaguely European, and offers an assortment of charming delights: cocktails with cutesy names like the Calliope and the Terpischore (yes, they're named after muses), crystal chandeliers abutting casual, overstuffed chairs, requisite trendy dishes like salmon lollipops and ahi poke tuna that may not match the rest of the Mediterranean-esque menu, but demand to be ordered nevertheless. All of these things can easily turn saccharine, however, with too much exposure.

And although it's been open less than a year, Flora & Muse is already starting to show a little wear in that regard. Service has actually improved since opening — and, in fact, Flora & Muse has offered some of the best service I've enjoyed in Houston lately — but the menus have become ragged and threadbare and the food itself can feel the same way at times.

But for all of that, I like Flora & Muse very much.

It still offers one of the only compelling reasons to drive out to CityCentre — along with Bistro Alex and Straits — if you're not a local Memorial resident. After all, one can find Eddie V's, The Tasting Room, RA Sushi and many more of CityCentre's tenants in plenty of other places around the city, if not the country in some cases. But there's nothing quite like Flora & Muse in Houston.
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Flora & Muse brought a dazzlingly glamorous feel to CityCentre when it opened in September of last year. It employed the talented David Luna as its chef, fresh off stints at Shade and Canopy. The space evoked a French patisserie on one side, a Viennese bar-cum-restaurant on the other. Its owners are jet setters, people like Turkish film star Basak Köklükaya and several silent European partners.

One public partner is Hayri Gurbuz, who told me last year that even though Flora & Muse had only been open a week, "I'm surprised at how many people have already been coming on a regular basis."

"They've come every day for the past six days," he said. Fast-forward to 11 months later, and it would seem those regulars are still there, even if Luna is not. He left three months ago, depositing the kitchen in the hands of his pastry chef, who is still running the place pretty ably. It's no surprise the pastry dough on the pides — traditional Turkish savory pies — is so pretty (although it was a surprise to taste it and find the dough terribly undersalted).

On a recent Saturday night, Flora & Muse seemed filled with regulars. Most of them were seated at the long, voluptuously curved marble bar. Its broad pass-through was opened onto the shaded side patio, one of Flora & Muse's most attractive features on a cool evening. The lights dimmed around 9 p.m., casting the space in a more seductive light. By day, the dining room looks like the kind of place where fancy baby showers are thrown; by night, those same elements somehow function equally well as a date destination.

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8 comments
AshelyWine502014
AshelyWine502014

I just p a i d $21 for an i P a d 2-64GB and my boyfriend loves his Panasonîc Lumîx GF 1 Camera that we got for $38 there arriving tomorrow by UPS.I will never pay such expensive retail prices in stores again. Especially when I also sold a 40 inch LED TV to my boss for $657 which only cost me $62 to buy.Here is the website we use to get it all from BídsFírst.Com

chef504
chef504

Ordering a Sazerac outside of New Orleans is a very risky endeavor. The sight of Sazerac on a drink menu always causes a stir from deep within. However, one only needs to think, look around, and allow that feeling to fade, as the reality of the non New Orleans environment sinks in. As for that part of town it was a great place to live as a youth. Town and Country Mall was great. To graduate from High School all Seniors had to perform community service. I chose the TWRC. It was located on the third floor of the mall. the day someone brought a young wounded cougar in the mall and up to the third floor was a great moment. We all had bets as to just how many senior citizens doing their daily walk would drop dead at the sight of a cougar in a cage. No seniors perished that day. JoJos was the only reason to go to church. No church. No brunch. Damn, I just realized that I have been a food whore for longer than I thought.

Unsatisfactory
Unsatisfactory

Now I know why the food is so bland. A pastry chef should not be head of the kitchen. In other aspects, service was slow (we had to wait well over thirty minutes for our food) and some things on the menu were not available. During my visit, the blender was also broken. This information came after the waiter strongly recommended a blended beverage. My friend and I really wanted to love Flora & Muse because we adore nearly all of City Centre, but it was quite a disappointment.

Mr. Blonde
Mr. Blonde

The food at Flora and Muse is excellent, but the trafic and parking situation in City Centre is untenable.

Kelli
Kelli

Growing up in that area, the best and I mean best place to eat brunch back in the day was JoJo's at Wilcrest and I-10, I still weep for the closing of that place~

Bistro2525
Bistro2525

I've followed Chef Will and his food for years. I've experienced both his savory and sweet creations...very impressed by both. Unfair appraisal of a chef who took over a set menu...

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

I'm sure the waiter was equally annoyed to find the blender broken as you were. ;)

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

Oh, man! We used to eat there too! Did you call it HoHo's? It's not the same since Denny's took over...

 
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