New Delhi, India
December 11, 2009
Flury’s dates back to 1927, when it was set up by a Swiss baker called Mr Flury. Ever since, Flury’s cakes, pies, pastries and breads have remained Kolkata icons, despite a gradual decline during the last few years of the 20th century. My sister, who visited Kolkata in the 90’s, remembers that it had become a dingy little place, dark and uninspiring, with waiters who seemed to sleepwalk their way through their work. The food, fortunately, didn’t suffer. A few years back, the Park Hotel—which lies further down Park Street—acquired Flury’s, and pumped in enough money to turn Flury’s around.
Today, it’s a smart and stylish place (Flury’s was awarded the MTV Style Award for most stylish restaurant; the award sits on the counter and is in the shape of a large black metal iron—the sort you use to get the creases out of your clothes. Rather out of place). There’s lots of natural light streaming in through the windows, and the interior is typical 1930’s tearoom: chandeliers, columns, gleaming display counters crowded with baked goodies, the aroma of coffee and cakes.
After waiting outside for about 10 minutes for a table, we were ushered in and seated next to an interesting glass case filled with original Flury’s memorabilia: cake tins, cookie cutters, muffin trays and more, some embossed with the Flury’s logo. Menus were handed over soon after, and though we did look through the list of sandwiches and three-egg omelettes, we’d all made up our minds within a couple of minutes: the all-day breakfast was it. My brother-in-law, who’s eaten it before, endorsed it too, so that’s what we ordered. The all-day breakfast consists of egg, sausages, bacon, hash browns, toast, grilled tomato, and a choice of tea, coffee, or juice. My sister chose tea (Darjeeling), while my husband, my brother-in-law and I settled for orange juice. Separately, we also ordered Viennese coffee, to be served after breakfast.
The juice was the first to arrive, after a wait of about 10 minutes, which we spent people watching: a girl breakfasting off a mammoth sundae; a Jewish man with a little boy who was obviously enjoying his tall glass of hot chocolate; and someone whom my sister and I were convinced was female, though our husbands weren’t so sure.
The juice tasted freshly squeezed: deliciously refreshing and neither too sweet nor too tart. About 5 minutes later, our plates arrived, along with little bread baskets containing crisp slices of toast, and tiny china bowls containing thinly sliced butter. Each plate had one fried egg, sunny side up (I wish they’d asked what we wanted: runny yolks don’t appeal to me); two sausages, two rashers of bacon, half a grilled tomato, and a wedge-shaped piece of hash browns. We tucked in, and though the bacon was a little tough in places, the meal was on the whole a satisfying, tasty one. It probably wouldn’t be sufficient for someone looking for a really big breakfast, but for an average appetite, it’s good enough—and you can always order something else from the menu to fill up empty spaces in your tummy. We, of course, had ordered our Viennese coffee, which came shortly after we’d finished breakfast. This was a strongish coffee (by Indian standards, which doesn’t mean ‘thick enough to float a horseshoe’!), with a hefty dollop of whipped cream on top. Heavenly!
We paid Rs 1,595 for our meal, including a tip of Rs 100—not as cheap a breakfast as you’d get on a Kolkata pavement, perhaps, but surprisingly cheaper than I’d expected. In fact, considering the charming ambience, the good food and the excellent coffee, I’d say this was great value for money.
From journal Kolkata, Very Very Quick