Calcutta: Little Shops of Wonders

Courtesy Flurys

The classic tearooms of Calcutta are proof positive that the legacy of the British continues to rule here. The city’s hotels, like the quaint bungalow-style Fairlawn (13A Sudder St.), and its many members-only clubs—Bengal, Tollygunge, and Calcutta are three of the more exclusive—remain beloved tea-taking locales, but there are several popular stand-alone teahouses scattered throughout town, too. The legendary Flurys Tea Room (18 Park St.) introduced the city to European pastries and fine Swiss chocolate when Joseph Flury opened it back in 1927. Today the pink-and-brown shop does a full high tea—it’s great for breakfast as well—with cucumber sandwiches and fruit scones served on fine china. During its 2004 renovation, which detracted from the original charm a bit, a temporary location opened across the street. Now permanent and known as T3 (57 Park St.), that spot serves nostalgic fare of chicken patties and beans on toast. But nowhere is the city’s love affair with tea more evident than Dolly’s Tea Shop (2 Gariahat Rd. S.), at the Dakshinapan Shopping Complex in the southeastern part of town. Growing up in Darjeeling and working as a taster and auctioneer for Indian tea companies, proprietor Dolly Roy made tea her passion. She opened here 20 years ago, and the small space, lined with tea boxes and memorabilia, remains steadily busy. Neophytes and connoisseurs alike will find Roy happy to dispense recommendations: Her favorite variety is the aromatic second-flush Darjeeling.