I don’t think Park Street in Calcutta needs any introduction. It is THE happening street in the city, the place with all the cool eateries and stores, the place to hang out with. On this hip and happening street of Calcutta, though, we had only one place on our wishlist – Flury’s.
I don’t think Flury’s needs any introduction, either. Flury’s is a legend in Calcutta, a landmark, a meeting point, a heritage breakfast place, a place where you stop by for some lovely baked goodies. I had heard a whole lot about Flury’s from everyone who has ever been to Calcutta or lived there, and everyone has sworn by the taste of the confectioneries there. So, naturally, the bakery was on our hit list.
Park Street looked just like any other Bangalore street to us (sorry, all those of you who have deep sentiments for the place!). We didn’t explore much of the street – we just took pictures of all the lovely lights all around us for Kali Pooja, and then headed straight to Flury’s. The minute we entered the bakery, we were struck by just how similar it looked and felt to Koshy’s in Bangalore. The vibe of the two places is very, very similar.
The Park Street Flury’s outlet is, apparently, five generations old. Established in the year 1927 by the Swiss couple Mr. and Mrs. J. Flury’s, the tearoom/ eatery/ bakery went on to become hugely popular among the affluent class of Bengalis. Later, it went on to become a cool hang-out joint for the old and young alike. Today, it is a major landmark in Calcutta that everyone recognises, and no tourist is recommended to leave the city without visiting it. I read up online about some old Calcutta residents cribbing about how Flury’s has, sadly, lost its character with time, of how the pastries don’t taste the same any more, of how the management just isn’t bothered with customer satisfaction any more, and of how the customers just aren’t satisfied any more. We decided to visit the place, nonetheless, and figure it out ourselves.
The breakfast at Flury’s was highly recommended to us, but we decided to give it a skip considering that it consists mostly of non-vegetarian options and that it comes to above INR 500 per head, including taxes. We headed straight to their pastry case, and spent a lot of time ogling at the various confectioneries on sale. Everything looked just gorgeous, and we had a tough time narrowing down our choice to just two or three pastries that would give us a fair idea of the quality of bakes on offer.
Finally, after much rumination, we chose a Pineapple Pastry, a Cherry & Chocolate Cake, and a Lemon Roll. We sat down and began tucking into our choices, one after the other, but were, sadly, only met with disappointment.
The Pineapple Pastry was very dry and had only the mildest scent of pineapple. For someone like us who is used to the juicy, pineapple-filled pastries from Sweet Chariot, Bangalore, this felt like a big-time let-down.
The Cherry & Chocolate Cake was filled with chocolate, but as dry as a piece of paper. It felt tasteless.
The Lemon Roll, again, was dry and tasteless. Eating it felt like we were eating spoonfuls of dry cake and lots of cream lightly infused with lemon essence. We have had some gorgeous lemon cakes in the past, elsewhere, and were expecting the kick of lemon, its heady fragrance, the tang of it, but it was nowhere.
Our bill came to around INR 350, exclusive of taxes (we sat in the tax-free section of the bakery, which is self-service). We dropped the idea of getting their plum cake and rum balls (for which they are very famous!) parcelled to take back home – these looked very dry, too.
We walked out, feeling extremely let down, wondering if we were making some kind of mistake. Flury’s is a legend, after all. How could we not like even a single thing out of the small selection we ordered? Did we make the totally wrong choices? Any insights into these questions would be appreciated!
Have you read the other posts about our recent trip to Calcutta? Please do, if you haven’t already!