“I wish I had your company over a cup of tea”
Believe it or not, the chances of me turning down these words is almost negligible. When it comes to Tea, no one knows it better than us Bengalis. Call it our love for adda over a cup of chai or the presence of the Queen of Hills, Darjeeling in our very state. Either ways, there is nothing that a perfect cup of tea does not set right. My love for Tea blosommed over my annual trips to Darjeeling. The hours spent in the tea boutiques taking in the aroma have always worked like magic. If there was something I missed more that the cloud laden Himalayas, were the tea boutiques.
As if as an answer to my tea-woes, my very own city has come up with something strikingly similar. First Flush, Calcutta’s new baby on a quaint lane in Golpark is one of it’s unique kind of Tea Boutiques. As I stepped inside, I was transported into Colonial Darjeeling. Done up with generous doses of old world charm, this place is heaven for all tea lovers. Being the tea fanatic that I am, the first thing I noticed was a jar of Giddapahar tea. The first time I had Giddapahar tea was in Darjeeling (Giddapahar being a te garden there) and I had lost all hope of finding it in Kolkata. First Flush made my dreams come true and my winter evening was made with a perfect brew of the Second Flush Tea. I usually prefer the second flush over the first, the former being slightly stronger.
When it comes to Tea, it is essential that the brewing time is perfect apart from the temperature of the water. First Flush serves their tea with a sand timer which ensures that you enjoy a cup of perfectly brewed tea. All Bengalis would agree, “Cha” is never complete without the “Ta”. Keeping this in mind, they also serve a wide variety of food to accompany the tea. Rather, some of them would also qualify as full course meals. The signature dishes include everything from Lamb, Chicken, Fish and Pork. I tried the Neapolitan Baked Chicken Lasagne with Garlic Bread, Pork Chops with Sautéed Vegetables and Garlic bread and Grilled Chicken. The portions are extremely generous and each work as a meal on its whole. They serve a wide variety of desserts as well.
The ambience is homely with a little bookshelf. I can totally sit there for hours, curled up with a book, savouring my cup of Darjeeling tea. First Flush is indeed my little piece of Darjeeling and I am so glad it have the best of all worlds in my city.