The power of Good Times, not the Vijay Mallya variety, is fantastic – like the waves on the beaches of Goa , it can sweep you irresistibly towards the shacks and the chilled beers available inside.
The first post on this topic seems to have struck a chord amongst my friends of the Emerald Bower days, so a few more posts will follow. A quick request to my old pals – send me material, stories, pics, etc of your youthful days in Delhi, Bombay, Madras, etc – we don’t want these posts to be only Cal-focused, right?
Ravi Mehrotra, aka RPM, of our days at IIMC, has sent a bunch of old pics of Firpo’s – a long vanished restaurant in Calcutta. As a child who numbered his summers in single digits, I seem to remember that it existed, and there is a vague memory of having been taken there to enjoy cakes and biscuits – but it’s really hazy; my memories of other establishments are far clearer.
A number of blogs/sites have got some interesting coverage of Firpo’s in its heydays – in PuronoKolkata, in noisebreak (which also has a pic of the undisputed heartthrob of our Emerald Bower days; yes, boys, I refer to Miss Shefali!):
The pics of old Firpo’s that I like best are from this source. This also has a little bio of the founder – Angelo Firpo. His restaurant was called the Maxim’s of the Orient – high praise indeed.
Another venerable institution in Calcutta is Trinca’s, Park Street – fortunately, she still exists. My friend, Gaur Mohan Kapur, aka Gary Cooper since GM (his other nickname) was as good-looking as the star of High Noon, has sent me this – I guess it’s from his private collection; I couldn’t find an online source. This dates from 1960 or thereabouts, I guess – that’s quite a spread for the price:
Some of my old buddies who moved to Mumbai with me in 1973 in the pursuance of filthy lucre will recall Gourdon’s, opposite Churchgate Station, who would do us a five-course meal at the princely sum of Rs 20 those days.
Another famous establishment – this one predates my existence – was Peliti’s in Government Place. He was a successful restaurateur and photographer – you can read about him here. There are a number of websites and pages which give interesting details about him and his restaurants – Puronokolkata, Peliti.org, and ndmagazine, which celebrates Peliti as a photographer.
It’s getting toward that time of Sunday morning when the beers inside the fridge start getting restive, like a woman who is on the verge of thinking that she is being scorned. I shall attend to their needs and bid you all farewell, borrowing a famous line from a famous film.
“I shall be back.”