Five generations of Fine Confection… Flurys! Flurys is legendary. Everybody who has any Kolkata connection, has some nostalgic associations with Flurys. Even today with each locality and neighborhood having many confectioneries and cake shops – some locally bred brands (Cookie Jar, Cakes etc) or multinational franchises, Flurys still manages to create a distinctive image in the mind of Kolkata residents. My earliest memory of Flurys are the delicate cream rolls – the really flaky crust encasing the soft bulging rich cream – probably vanilla with a hint of strawberry. And who can forget the ‘cubes’? Huge cubes of creamy pastries with thick icing that smelt of pure butter. And the patties? The flaky, crumbly, crispy crusts of pastry sheets disintegrating as one bit into them and the filling of meat (I loved the chicken) melting into the mouth. And the ambiance? I always thought for a long time that one needed to dress up formally to come to Flurys… otherwise the usher at the door wouldn’t let you enter. I was horrified when I saw on TV that a devastating fire had erupted in Stephen Court, the 100 year old building which housed the Flurys on the ground floor. It was in March 2010, I think. Flurys was shut down – operating temporarily in the Park Hotel on the opposite side of the road. 5 weeks after the blaze, Flurys opened its doors again… I remember NDTV reporting ‘Flurys reopens, Kolkata rejoices’!
Okay, so my favourite cream rolls aren’t available at Flurys anymore. But not everything is lost. The legendary rum balls and the ‘cubes’ and the patties – everything else exists. In fact, once you flip through the menu card, you will be surprised at how many of the dishes are marked with ‘H’… these are the heritage dishes. Every year when we visit Kolkata for our summer hibernation, I take the Z-Sisters to all the places in Kolkata that have some significance in my life – starting from Kumortuli, Gariahat bazaar to the clubs that are part of Kolkata’s heritage (I have taken them to see the house where I grew up, a Ramadan trail in Mallick Bazaar, introduce them to contemporary Bengali food etc). This year I took them to the icecream parlour of my childhood – the Scoop at the Outram Ghat. But Flurys is one place that we always visit once… apart from the service which fluctuates from being really slow and uncaring to really really attentive and super efficient, everything else remains the same. For example, today’s lunch… everything felt exceptionally good… starting with the frothy coffee that my sis-in-law had ordered and the deliciously chilled cold coffee that I sipped into. We had ordered one each of the legendary rum ball and chicken patty – 2 out of the many ‘H’ marked dishes from the menu! There were of course more to come to our table… the club sandwich, chicken wings, crispy fried prawns, chicken cordon bleu, spinach cannelli… none of them were quintessentially ‘Flurys’ items (apart from the club sandwich)… but all of them perfect, really really perfect!
People watching… along with the food comes an opportunity to watch people too at Flurys. If you happen to sit by the window, covered slightly by the starched white linen curtains, you can watch the passerbys on the fashionable Park Street. Trendily dressed college students, snuggly lovers, corporate executives in smart jackets or plain beggars fighting the cops – that’s your view outside. Inside Flurys, its a myriad of people walking in… Lonely Planet guides and TripAdviser led foreign tourists, lone elderly ladies and gentlemen sipping on their Darjeeling tea and reminiscing a bygone era, families out to have a great lunch (you still get some great ‘Continental’ options here) or… social media freaks with a great check in address. Or simply foodies… like me! I feel loved in Flurys – as if the old comfortable quilt of my childhood is wrapping me up in cosy comfort of my innumerable happy memories. As I tweeted the picture of the rum ball, Kalyan, one of my favourite food bloggers and author of Finely Chopped tweeted… @IshitaUnblogged say hi to the strawberry cube from me! The strawberry cubes were off the shelf today and to my surprise I later discovered in his blog… a cake box full of memories. Do read my recent kaleidoscopic experience of the Ramadan Food Walk… a diametrically opposite experience from Flurys. Everybody knows that Kolkata has a colonial hangover but with Flurys we have been having a Swiss hangover since the time a certain Mr and Mrs Flurys set up this luxurious European tearoom in the 1930s… and glad that we haven’t lost it in rambles!
Unblogging it all… Ishita
Disclaimer: A lunch today at Flurys cost us INR 3,500/4 persons, including beverages and desserts. Please note that this post is not a sponsored post and the subject, story, opinions and views stated here are my own and are independent. While you enjoy reading the posts with lot of visuals, please do not use any material from this post. You can catch my daily food and travel journey on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter