The flavour of Kolkata

The flavour of Kolkata
The city is known for its old alleys. One such is shot by Atanu Pal.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

First Flush- love in a bylane, indeed

When I first walked into this tea café in a lane in Golpark in August, just after it opened its doors, I found the ambience intimate, cozy and different - Low glass-covered cane tables and chairs with relaxed seating and nicely spaced out, framed photos on the wall done in cream colour with red punctuating in racks displaying books, teapot, cups & mugs and a low cabinet. The tables are small and laid out with two or four chairs. Since people don’t come here for a meal, a table can comfortably accommodate four guests. The warm feel resembles a living room, which makes for a perfect lazy afternoon / evening meet-up with friends or even a relaxed business meeting.

You can reach here by taking the lane adjacent to the Axis Bank ATM on the left just before Golpark, going from Gariahat. A red door and a glowsign bearing the name with a thoughtful tagline “Love in a bylane” welcome you.

First Flush serves a small range of teas, the specialty being Darjeeling tea (first and second flush). The menu includes Gidda Pahar, Thurbo Moonlight and Castleton among others.

I like my tea strong, hence between Darjeeling tea and Assam tea, my loyalty goes with the latter. When I told the same to Subhasish Mitra, the owner, in a recently held blogger meet, he advised me to try second flush. I was soon served Avongrove tea in a colourless cup and plate through which its nice light brown colour came out well. I liked the flavour which was precisely between mild and strong.

Subhasish is a senior official working in IBM. His passion for tea, as my short conversation with him indicated, is probably the reason behind his first business venture in F&B. This part of the city doesn’t have well-known tea joints like in central Kolkata. So, being close to Gariahat – the heart of south Kolkata – it’s a well-chosen location.

There was a small, compact menu for the blogger meet, and first arrived Bacon Cheese Bomb. It was bacon wrapped around molten cheese served with a dip. The cheese caressed the palate and the perfectly done bacon flirted with it before melting away. The dip enhanced the sublimity of the dish. A definite recommendation for a light bite and I wonder why it is not listed among the signature dishes on the menu. A portion of five pieces is reasonably priced at Rs 200.

 Bacon Cheese Bomb

The usual banter and leg pulling among blogger friends was on in full swing, along with discussing what was happening in the city blogger circuit. The next to come was American Fish ‘n’ Chips with Beer Batter served with lemon butter sauce and French fries – a signature dish of the house. The thick fillet of Bombay beckti fried in a thin batter went well with the yummy sauce. The crunchy French fries are abundant. Subhasish told me that it was one of the popular picks. We called the young chef and asked what the sauce was and he shared with us the secret – it was lemon butter sauce added with cream, lemon juice, salt and pepper that brought out the killer taste. At Rs 390 for two pieces, it’s value for money.

 American Fish ‘n’ Chips with Beer Batter

As I asked about its offerings in coffee, Subhasish told me that they serve Jamaican, Irish, Puerto Rican and Colombian coffee. Though the range is small, the options are decent.

I tried the cappuccino and loved it.

My cappuccino

Next came American Club Sandwich which was noticeably heavy for one person, so we shared it. A full sandwich served generously with French fries should suffice you for dinner. At one layer it has slices of salami and at the other, poached duck egg. Tastes good, especially the finger-licking yolk. If you are looking for a sandwich meal, just order one. It is expensive though, at Rs 295.

American Club Sandwich, the heavyweight

It was a sweet ending with a nice brownie with chocolate sauce and a lage scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Blogger Debjani Chatterjee Alam posing with the brownie with chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream

To summarize, it has the qualities to justify its tagline – love in a bylane, whichever way you think. It’s a place that you may develop a soft corner for as it’s just right to unwind alone with an invigorating cuppa tea (The books in the rack can give company) or with friends over coffee and snacks, also for lovebirds to while away time.

(Left to right) Bloggers Debjani, Madhushree, Anindya, yours truly, Subhadip and Subhasish Mitra (owner)

I was told by Subhasish that the pastas also move well. Noted, for the next time.

#Cafe #Firstflush #Tea #Darjeelingtea  #Fingerfood #Sandwiches

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