Friday, November 1, 2013

Adda , Cha and more in Calcutta

Calcutta is the place for tea-snobs, a city obsessed with tea , gossip and more. There is tea from vintage tea-pots served at homes, the tea out of a container from the roadside and then there is always those tea-rooms or cafes for long hours of gossip. Now a true tea-drinker would invariably turn up her nose at packaged tea bags and with the best of tea available in the city why would anyone even think of little pouches of tea. Now most cafes in Calcutta barring a few serve tea straight out of a bag which is a disgrace for Calcutta.

I present my two reviews of two tea-rooms from Calcutta. Now I have already written the reviews at Zomato and they have both been featured on their home page some while ago. So here I am just copying and pasting the reviews.

The Iconic Tea-room 

It gives me great pleasure to once again review this tea-room of the erstwhile Calcutta because it has been not only a part of the growing up years of kids of the early 2000s but for generations before that and having tasted baked items from across the country I can confidently claim that when Flury's is in its glory it whips up the best tea-time accompaniments, wonderful desserts with frosting that are rich , delicious and a treat for all the senses. 

The biggest problem with this tea-room is its inconsistent quality of products because for regulars such as myself it is of great disappointment and when the quality is inconsistent it is difficult to recommend it to a person who is a non-regular because chances are that he/she ends up with a bad experience. My last two visits proved disastrous with stale pastries, stale cream, melted ice-cream to name a few and so this time I entered deciding on first checking the looks of the baked items and then ordering. You see when a tea-room churns out such deliciousness over the years they get the benefit of the doubt even if 3 or 4 experiences are sour. 

I was delighted with the fresh aroma wafting to my nose from across the counters. They were in fact stocking the counters with cakes that had just been coated with delicious frosting. We immediately decided to stay on for dessert. Now in case you are entering for desserts alone which are from the counter they ask you to politely take a seat on the high-chairs which are meant for people who indulge their taste buds to a bit of delicious sweetness. 

I thought it would a culinary sin to have visited Flury's and not order the Darjeeling tea with their heritage chicken sandwich. My two other companions settled for the truffle slice and the chocolate shortbread. 

The pastries arrived almost immediately. While my companions took a bite of their respective orders , my friend who had ordered the slice of truffle cake was delighted with the freshness of the cakes , the beautiful rich ganache icing. My other companion loved the hard crust of the chocolate shortbread which had milk chocolate icing . Why when in season, (because sometimes when the quality drops I like calling it the off season of Flury's ) they make the best patisseries in town is the richness of the ganache, which is creamy and made with dark chocolate while the cake itself if light fluffy yet has a rich texture inside the mouth. The shortbread was something that was rich in its own way for the cream frosting made with milk chocolate and the crust adds to the delight of the one who savours it. It is good to have so many options of patisseries when most other bakeries whip the same of cakes with different frosting. 

The tea is at its best for those who are connoisseurs of royal taste in the world of tea. The right amount of leaves, gives the tea its perfect golden colour. The best part is that for 1 pot of Darjeeling tea you get two cups of tea. the only problem is that by the time you reach your second cup the mashing has been done for a bit too long and you are forced to add milk and sugar. The heritage chicken sandwich is the best in town. It is thick with the filling of succulent pieces of shredded chicken , both sides of the bread are buttered and the chicken is mixed with creamy mayonnaise making it the perfect eta-time accompaniment. The almond cube which I had opted for as my other tea-time accompaniment was made with the freshest and thickest of cream available. The flakes of almonds made a delicious concoction in my mouth along with bits of almonds and a bit of thin layer of baked cake. 

In all the visit was absolutely a superb delight. I did deduct one mark because I am still unsure of their consistency in quality. Once I visit them another couple of times and see that the quality is s delightful as this experience had been I would give it a full rating. 

As is its signature even when the quality goes down the servers are very polite and nobody rushes you through your meal or cup of tea so that conversation for hours seem beautiful. 

When in its glory, no other bakery in town can come close to what is whipped up in the kitchens of this age old tea-room. May they preserve their legacy and not fluctuate the quality.

Cha -Bar 

Anyone who loves books in this city would probably have had visited this iconic bookstore on Park Street right beside the Park hotel. Their little cafe has been there at least since 2003 or even further before that time. 

As the name suggests this is a tea-cafe more than anything else. At one point this was the most preferred place for anyone who did not want to burn a hole in their pocket. The prices are still quite moderate and this is definitely a tea lover's haven. Now we all have our own preferences , be it any type of food item and I am sure there are many a people who like their tea milky , sweet and strong and then there are those who prefer the mild taste of tea liquor perhaps with just about a spoonful of milk or some other flavour this is a wonderful place. This cafe caters to both tastes with their wide variety of offerings. 

There is masala chai for the Indian at heart and the Darjeeling tea for the true tea-snob and the herbal tea for the health conscious or the organic tea for the environmentalist and the range of flavoured tea for the adventurous tea drinkers and then there are iced teas to cool anyone on a hot day. 

What sets it apart is the fact that they use freshly brewed tea instead of the tea-bags that most cafe's use and for any tea-lover the thought of tea-bags is a horror. The tea is brewed perfectly. For the adventurous drinkers they have a wide range of tea with different flavours. 

Three chatty friends decided to catch up on hours of gossip while sipping on their respective iced teas, which all of them found perfectly brewed with the flavor of the tea along with the mild hint of the additional flavour. Two of us opted for the lime and lime zest flavour which was delciious. Our peachy friend liked her peach iced tea as well. 

On our numerous visits before I have usually stuck to their Darjeeling tea since I am a strict Darjeeling tea connoisseur and the tea seemed quite nice if not the best. 

In the Bengali language we usually have a cousin word called 'ta' (accompaniment with tea) for the word 'cha' (meaning tea) and unfortunately the variety of accompaniments offered by this place is limited and what makes is worse is the unavailability of many items. Even from the section of desserts, the only available ones were the truffle slices and black forest slices. They had a few tea-cakes and their freshly baked aroma was tempting indeed. 

If not for anything else I would definitely recommend this place for its perfectly brewed tea. 

We noticed waffles being served on the table adjacent to ours but from the looks we felt it was too dry and over-cooked. 

This tiny little place tucked up in a quiet little bookstore done up in white is a lovely place to catch up with friends or to simply purchase a book and read it as long as one wants. 

P.S. They have these decorative colourful kettles with pictures on them which nicely jazzes up the place 

I am attaching the links for any further reviews that people might want to read


No comments:

Post a Comment