Breakfast at Flurys(Dec 2012)
..in a few photographs and fewer words!
It all started in 1927 when an english couple Mr and Mrs J Flurys started a tea room on Park Street in Calcutta.It has survived a lot and been a witness to history as seen through its glass windows.Now Flurys is a Kolkata landmark, an enchanted memory of the British Raj and the Calcuttans enduring love for adda .
Even today you sometimes feel that time has slowed down in this place,enveloping us in a soothing calm that shuts out the din of the constant stream of patrons and sometimes irritated waiters.I studied at St Xaviers college next door and the story goes that in the good old days the Principal, Father Jorris the jesuit priest who was a legendary disciplinarian used to came to Flurys in the morning to nab his students playing truant and dating the girls of Loreto College, also nearby.
There is a life inside this place which whisks you away to a world quite different from the chaotic Kolkata outside,starting with an aromatic cup of golden Darjeeling tea as opposed to the masala tea sold everywhere on the pavement in earthen cups. Both provide the Bengali Bhadralok succour and intellectual sustenance.
The staff try their best to keep the traditions going in the face of the excess of the nouveau riche and the iPad toting patrons( DSLR toting guys like me are still indulged!).The menu provides a mix of heritage eats and new flavours of the time.Real estate on Park Street is expensive after all.
Lazy mornings,lazy afternoons,lazy evenings set to animated adda featuring Kafta,Marx,Jyoti Basu and the Book Fair.Starring of course scrambled eggs on toast and tea.If the Coffee House on College Street was where the intellectual hotspot of Calcutta was ,Flurys was a more refined version minus the urgent need to become a revolutionary.
Flurys has moved from its old location a few meters away and now is a heritage tea room priced out the reach of the average Calcuttan and becoming a magnet for the NRIs coming home or the socialites who don’t care about the bill. I had to treat my seniors in college at Flurys as part of the very gentle ragging that happens in St. Xaviers. I clearly remember my share came to 120 rupees in 1995, quite a big deal then.
We wanted to indulge in nostalgia on a recent trip to Kolkata and decided on a wintry sunday morning to go for a luxurious breakfast.The waiting time for a table was an hour long and we looked longingly through the window at the lucky folks already digging into the goodies.I decided we will not sit by the window given a choice.
The long wait outside the portals of heaven.
The sight of tea pots juxtaposed with cocoa pods filled with cocoa beans makes a former tea taster and African cocoa bean trader like me happy and the wait to enter the heavenly portals of Flurys a little more bearable.
The children don’t seem to mind the wait either.
Ah, a table at last!
Little Vedant knows exactly what he wants.”Merci Beau coup Monsieur, that will be all” .Flurys is secure with the patronage of gen Z. Not coming soon-ipad menus.
While we wait for the goodies to arrive I wander around. The bakery is awash in a golden glow, and the man behind the counter has a tough time keeping up with the demand.
The legendary Pineapple Cake…
And the decadent Black Forest..
The simple joys of well toasted bread.
The Flurys take on a masala omelette ..
A good old sandwich made special by Flurys
The piece de resistance..Creamed corn on toast..the reason why I am here..a house speciality.
The pastries arrive and things get more exciting..those things taste just the same as they did 20 years back .No holding back on sugar and cream.
Mothers soothing cool breath to cope with a piping hot morsel, makes food tastier.
This slice of the pineapple cake has a dewdrop sitting right on top…ready to slide off if not gobbled immediately.
The “pink one”..
A cross section of the “pink one”..note the crumbly texture…
A happy breakfast wolfed down with little regard for english fussiness..
The smile of contentment and gastronomic Nirvana ..so long Flurys, till we meet again..next time I will also order Peach Melba.We were off to a lunch party right after this!!
Flurys is located at 18 Park Street,Kolkata-700071
Kit: Nikon D600, Nikkor 50mm f1.8,Apple Aperture.