When I want to impress visitors new to dining in our beautiful islands with stunning views, a relaxed atmosphere, tasty food and friendly service, I always think of Tukka. It might not be the first restaurant that springs to mind, after all, we have some really fine restaurants in the popular Seven Mile Beach location; however if you want to experience the “real feel” of the Cayman Islands, albeit in an Australian themed restaurant, I think Tukka is a great choice.
The drive out east is always fun, a time to remind ourselves that Cayman is so much more than the Seven Mile ‘strip’, as marvelous and award-winning as it is. A little more than a half hour’s drive from town and here you are, at a gorgeous location perched over the stunning hues of East End’s unspoiled coastline.
Tukka gets its name from the Australian word for food. The restaurant is owned by an Aussie and there are plenty of references to his native home through the Aboriginal décor and of course, in the menu, which has its own Caribbean twist. This means you can order conch and crocodile fritters, or kangaroo filet mignon or kanga burgers, as well as the more traditional local choices of jerk chicken and locally caught fish, such as Lionfish.
Our visit was on a Sunday lunchtime, a time when most diners are enjoying the limitless bubbles and impressive display of choices at the restaurant’s brunch. We chose instead to enjoy the regular lunch menu, but managed to enjoy a glass of bubbly, a very refreshing mojito and a bottle of Cayman’s own White Tip beer on the side, served by the smiling Omar from Jamaica.
In the mood for salads, our choices included baby greens and arugula, served with a citrusy avocado and lime sesame dressing with orange segments and crispy hoe kin noodles. You could have added three grilled prawns, 3oz salmon, a 3oz lobster tail or 3oz chicken (or, I guess, all four), for an additional cost. We opted for the salmon and it was very good – moist and delicious. Another healthy salad choice was the Tukka Salad, which consisted of mixed greens and cabbage with diced tomato, dried cranberries, crispy tortilla strips, grated cheese and citrus dressing. After a little digging, the tortilla strips were found to be absent, but it didn’t detract from the enjoyment of the salad.
Another solid menu choice was the fish and chips, usually thought of as a British staple, but very popular in Australia, too. This was locally caught Mahi Mahi in a crispy tempura batter and served with a lovely vinegary escovitch and also a tartar sauces and fries. Other dishes that caught our eye for next time included the chicken curry, served West Indian style with coconut basmati rice, mango chutney and crisp pappadoms, along with the shrimp brochette, promising plum glazed grilled shrimp on a skewer served with a Tukka salad or fries.
Dessert was a very fine frozen key lime pie, served with some kind of fruity sauce and, for some reason, covered with colourful sprinkles. (If it had been left at the key lime pie itself that would have been just fine with me.)
Mesmerised by the intense hues of the ocean at this location, we were really hard pushed to leave this beautiful part of the island.