First Flush is a unique tea boutique located in the bylanes near Golpark. Well, tea boutiques aren’t quite popular in Calcutta. The essence and flavour of the teas of the different tea estates of Darjeeling are distinctly different and, we Bongs, are really fond of them. Thus, First Flush has come up with this unique concept where the taste of the ‘queen of the hills’ is retained and you’d find all the unique varieties of Darjeeling Teas on their regular menu. But that’s not all about this place. First Flush welcomes you with an amazing menu which can be definitely enjoyed over a cup of amazing tea ! I was invited to First Flush for a bloggers meet. Now what does First Flush mean? Most of you reading this aren’t aware of the meaning of this term. First Flush is defined as the very first plucking of a tea plant’s harvest season. The new grown leaves plucked during First Flush are the youngest and most tender part of the tea plant and are said to yield the purest and freshest cup of tea that the plant is capable of producing. The restaurant, as evident, is completely centred around tea and tea lovers. But wait? You don’t love tea? Never mind, there are still various reasons why you must visit this place. Let’s get into details.
I wasn’t really sure if I had stepped into a cafe or into someone’s house. This actually isn’t one among those cafes where you expect a quirky theme, loud music, etc. This is actually one among those rare, soulful cafes where you can enjoy the homely decor over a cup of warm tea. There is a central large room which can accomodate around 25 – 30 people at a time. Most importantly, there’s a different sort of comfort as the seats are placed far apart from one other, thereby maintaining proper privacy of every customer. The owners were very much welcoming and hospitable. This place actually scores a rank higher because of such a welcoming and friendly gesture from the owners, who treat every customer with a smile on their face. That adds life to the place. Not only youths, this place is ideal for people of every age group who love to hangout. The walls showcase pictures from Darjeeling. Overall, for a person who love hills, specially Darjeeling, this is heaven ! There was a set menu prepared for us. Let’s get into details of the food that was served.
Arya Ruby Tea
I was really eager to try the tea here and it was the first to come. The tea and the cutlery in which it would be served, came in trays fixed to wheels. This is the method of service at this place and was quite impressive. The tea pot was covered with a cover and the sand glass, which denotes time, was kept inverted. Once the entire sand goes into one section, it’s time to remove the cover and enjoy your tea ! The Ruby ( Black ) tea was bought from the Arya estate of Darjeeling. The aroma was very much addictive. The flavour was light and refreshing. If you’re tea lover, you’d definitely love this !
‘This is a very common dish’. That’s what you’d think right when you see this on the menu? Even I came to such a rapid conclusion but when the lollypops reached my table, I was surprised as those were the largest lollypops I’ve ever seen. The amount of chicken stuck to each bone was huge and each lollypop seemed equivalent to two ! The meat was soft, the coating was crispy and a special mention goes to the not so spicy sauce with which the lollypops were tossed. This common dish actually proved to be extraordinary !
Six cylindrical thick, medium sized fish fingers were served with tartar sauce and thinly chopped salad. The fish was fresh and moist while the outer coating was perfectly crisp. The tartar sauce tasted amazing and complemented the fish fingers well.
Basil Chicken Skewers
Chicken marinated with basil paste were grilled on skewers and served with hot marinara sauce. The texture of the chicken was lovely. The chicken was a little hard as it was supposed to be and the surface of the meat was burnt to a little extent, which examplified perfection. Once again, the sauce needs a special mention. I felt like I should take a jar of this sauce home. Yes, it was that delicious !
Bacon Cheese Bombs
I got hungry just by taking its name. This is one sinful dish which you can’t stop ordering. This wasn’t there on the set menu but on our personal request, we were served a portion of this ! The soft fleshy bacon had a dense layer of creamy semi-liquid cheese wrapped in it. One bite and cheese would flow into your mouth. That’s how the dish has been named as a bomb since the cheese is bound to explode. I would rate this dish 100 out of 10. Nothing can be parallel to this ! If you love bacon then it would be foolish to step out of First Flush without having this. I can’t write any more on this as my mouth has already started watering !
I am a fan of burgers and this did impress me a lot. The moist and well seasoned buns had a thick and crispy chicken patty, along with fresh lettuce, cheese, salad and a tangy sauce. What I loved more about the burger was its juiciness. I could literally feel the flavours in every bite. The burger came along with french fries and tomato ketchup. I’m definitely going to have this again to satisfy my burger cravings.
Egg and Mayo Sandwich
The grilled sandwich was stuffed with mayo and egg. The stuffing was huge such that with each bite, the stuffing oozed into my mouth. It came along with potato chips and tomato ketchup. This is one of your best company with a cup of tea !
The best thing that happened was the unexpected surprise which we received from team First Flush. It was a chocolate cake with vanilla frosting. Surprises like these not only make you happy, but dance with joy ! We jumped onto the cake and were accompanied by one of the owners while cutting it. The cake was rich and creamy. Even though we were full, we finished the cake in a few minutes !
Overall, First Flush is one of the those places where you can’t be satisfied with just one visit. Darjeeling Tea is an ’emotion’ which this place gives a proper value and definition. If you think that the ‘cha er sathe adda’ ( gossips over a cup of tea ) thing has vanished from the restaurants of Kolkata, then give this place a visit and I’m sure you’d go back to your old days.
Verdict : Must Visit !