Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Rendezvous at Flurys

What do you do when you get an unexpected half day off work and that day happens to be a Friday?

You make the most of the early weekend!! You do girly stuff like shop (if you’re a girl that is), and then set off to meet a friend for coffee & desserts. Now, that sounds like a plan!!

Honestly, I had no clue what to expect when I set off to meet The Knife on Friday evening. He’s fairly senior to me professionally (though he's part of the same organization as I), and I know him mainly through his blogs & a couple of face-to-face meetings that lasted all of five minutes. I didn’t know if we would find enough things to talk about for an entire evening.

Well, as it turned out, we did!!

In a quest to find a coffee shop that is different from the staid ambience, lukewarm coffee, and clueless & often rude waiters of Barista & CCD, we settled on Flury’s.

Flury’s, a cakes & pastry shop that the generation before ours that grew up in Calcutta swore by, has seen a dramatic fall from grace and glory since the 70s-80s. As a result of which most Calcuttans today are quite anti-Flury’s. Their stuff isn’t so good anymore but is fairly expensive. Other chains such as Kookie Jar & Cakes have taken over the desserts domain since then but the few things that are still good at Flury’s are it’s Chocolate Cubes (a simple, unassuming chocolate pastry), rum ball (rich but delicious) and as I discovered during this visit, the almost-neon-pink Strawberry Cube!

(The one thing that absolutely ticks me off with Flury’s is that if you visit during lunch/dinner hours & want only a cup of coffee and/or desserts rather than their food items, they refuse to let you sit on one of the tables. Instead you have to drink your coffee/have your pastry standing at the bar. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a bar stool.)

The Knife was pretty nostalgic about Flury’s and ordered a chocolate cube, a rum ball & a strawberry cube that I crinkled my nose at first, and even resisted eating due to it’s bright plastic pink color! Well, one bite of it & I couldn’t stop myself from taking many more. It wasn’t until when there was about one-fourths of it left that it struck me that it was actually The Knife (and not me!) who had called for the Strawberry Cube & I was being rude by gobbling it up. That didn’t stop me from polishing off the rest of it too, but at least I kept asking him to eat it as well.

We spoke about a lot of things – his market research papers (Kalyan, I think you should be a culinary expert rather than a Market Researcher, I really do!) that take him to exotic locales such as Switzerland frequently, Candies, our shared love for Bandra & loathing for coffee shops serving lukewarm coffee, books, blogging, Calcutta food & restaurants, the Calcutta Metro & many other things. It was mildly amusing to see him get excited over the word ‘Sprugli’ used in conjunction with coffee (he has just returned from a trip to Switzerland)....he was being very hopeful.

Two brewed coffees (for him), two Mochas (for me) & 3 pastries later, we headed to a roll shop where we had….guess what?....a roll each that was stuffed with chicken/mutton and deep friend in oil. A Calcutta original. I kept staring in horror at the amount of oil leaking out of the roll while he happily ignored me & chomped on his mutton roll. (I’ve got to give it to you, you really know your food. The fried onions in the roll, instead of the raw ones, did make a world of difference to the roll).

We didn’t run out of things to talk about even after 3 hours of hanging out. But I must admit one thing – if you read each other’s blogs (and blogs being an integral part of the lives of bloggers, we do put a lot of us & our lives out there), it’s strange when the other person says, “Yeah I read about this on your blog”, or you’re saying something & they finish your sentence for you because they’ve read it on your blog already. It’s a strange feeling but is it nice?

You tell me.


Mumbai Diva said...

hmmm... looks like you guys had fun. i used to also visit another pastry shop a lot....cookie jar i think it was called.....

The knife said...

Hey, super kicked to feature on your blog.

It was a lovely evening and I can only feast on the memories sitting here in Chinchpokli, marooned with nothing to eat.

I actually got some rolls home for k and me which we had over a quiet dinner last night. Loved the fried onion bites.

Yes, it was a bit funny chatting when one knows so much about each other through the blogs. It's an interesting question that you have raised. Frankly didn't think of it much then. But might be tiresome on a regular basis ... a bit like the Mel Gibson movie, 'What Women Want'.

Your grouse about Flury's reminded me about Cafe Seaside (or something) at bandstand which was equally snooty about their seaside tables. Noone goes there now.

Lovely post, and must admit, that I was looking forward to it

Saltwater Blues said...

@Knife: Did you go to the Sprungli Cafe on the Bahnhofstrasse in Zurich? The coffee and the pastries there are just out of this world. I forgot to tell you.

@Priyanka: It is my experience that when you meet with fellow bloggers it is best to keep the conversation as far away from blogging (and blogs) as possible :)

Scarlett said...

@Mumbai Diva - Cookie Jar is probably the best cakes & pastry shop in Cal right now though they seem to be suffering from the KJo syndrome, insisting on calling themselves 'Kookie Jar' :)

@The Knife - You were looking forward to the post? Really? I was looking forward to writing it :)
And to be honest, I wasn't sure it would flow as smoothly as it did! I'm sure you had similar doubts...

@Saltwater Blues - Who is Priyanka??

Saltwater Blues said...

I meant you, Aishwarya. I mixed up the Bollywood names!

The knife said...

Well Scarlett as they say, what Bengal thinks today ... Kookie Jar was well before K J

Honestly I hadn't thought so much but I guess one already connected through our blogs. Of course i was looking forward to the not just food report on the evening :)

SWB, we didn't really dicuss blogging but its just that when we spoke of certain things the other person would close the dots as we'd read about it in our blogs already

Rhea said...

It's always been Kookie Jar and I'm talking from the time I first tasted their stuff - A good 18/20 years back.

N I totally agree!! No comparison, whatsoever. :-))

(Although now, it costs an arm and a leg to buy their chocolate truffle cake!)