Passenger Pick of the Month

Tukka Restaurant and Bar

Beach Resort

Tukka native fusion Restaurant is coming on strong, celebrating its first birthday and beingtukk1 13 named by many passengers as one of the best restaurants on the island. Recently Passenger Picks caught up with the brainchild of Tukka, owner and head chef Ron Hargrave, a native Aussie and long-time Cayman Islands resident.

“The concept of Tukka is native Caribbean and Australian fusion,” Ron says. “It’s Caribbean food with an Australian blend, so you may get a Tukka 1jerk kangaroo; you’ll have an Aussie burger, which is probably one of the biggest burgers you’re going to eat. We’ve got a steak and mushroom pie, which is sort of the equivalent of a Jamaican beef patty.”

Tukka 2But no worries, there’s plenty of local food to offer, and Chef Ron does mean local. “All the fishermen out here… whenever they’ve got fresh snapper, wahoo, tuna, mahi-mahi, it’s going to come straight here, through the back door and straight onto the plate. Many guests of the island think of Calypso Grill, only on the East End. There are also a few tukka 3other fresh seafood options to be had at Tukka, they are the only live Lobster restaurant in Cayman with Maine & Spiny Lobsters! They also take pride in having the best Lion Fish on the island and the only restaurant that has it available everyday on the menu.

When asked, “what’s your signature style of cuisine?”, Ron replies, “I’m a true blue Queensland born Aussie so I guess it should be Barby cooking, but I’ve always has a passion for Thai cooking. tukka 5I love to create dishes that are interactive with the guests and don't just come out on a plate! The Tukka brochette is the #1 main course for that very reason, and this year’s season will see the launch of the Thai Sizzle Bouillabaisse Dish! I’m very excited to see this when it comes out onto the ocean deck.”

tukka 6Many passengers rave about Ron’s wonderful dessert creation: Date and Walnut Pudding. “Yeah,” Ron says, “I created this dish due to the amount of restaurants that had sticky date pudding on their menus and I wanted my own original recipe! It’s a lot lighter and moister than others with that great date flavor.”

What about the name Tukka? “The word Tukka comes from the Native Australian Aborigines. It means native food, or food from the land. It’s Tukka time!”

tukka 7The Walkabout Wednesday event is quite popular. “You’ll be able to get picked up from the Ritz, the Westin, the Marriott or the Beach Suites on a Wednesday afternoon with Tukka’s very own Tukka mobile for a Wednesday you will never forget! This includes is a scenic 30-40 minute ride out to the beautiful East End. tukka 6Enjoy a Walkabout themed 4 Course Dinner with culinary delights from around the globe. Drink until you’re merry without the hassle of driving home.

“I want to open up East End to a lot of the tourists over there, even if they don’t have a vehicle. When you have a full moon that comes up over here, it comes up right over that (outdoor) balcony at seven, eight, nine o’clock at night. It’s one of the most beautiful things you’re ever going to see in your life.”

tukka 9tukka 10Tukka’s Sunday brunch has really taken off, and there is no better place to begin your week than to relax at the brunch that’s closest to the ocean, of any on the island. From 11:30 am to 3 pm, delight your taste buds with a carving station, breakfast items, soup, salads, desserts and a chef manning the barbecue. Combined with sparkling views of the famous Wreck of the Ten Sails, it truly is a brunch to remember. “It’s easy on tukka 11the pocketbook, and there’s all the ambience of the ocean.”

The feel of Tukka is a bit more relaxed than its predecessor at the tukka 12East End location, but Chef Ron said visitors shouldn’t worry – there are plenty of fine dining options with wine pairings and the like. Tukka is family-friendly, with modern high chairs and changing stations in the bathrooms.

“You head to Pedro Castle, you do the blowholes, then you’re looking for somewhere to eat,” he said. “You’re going to come here, because it’s your halfway point.”

As a child, Ron enjoyed helping his Mom in the kitchen, and at 12 he became “the family's chef” when he presented his sister with a homemade birthday cake. At 14 Tukka 17he started working in restaurant kitchens until he graduated high school in 1987, when he enrolled in Professional Catering School. Once the culinary decision was made, he started a four-year apprenticeship through Ambassador Hotels, which took him to several Australian cities. Ron then went on to chef for several prestigious hotels in roles of increasing responsibility.

Everything changed by chance one afternoon in August 1998 when he saw a small advertisement in the local paper, "Cayman Islands need chefs.” With a desire to travel and broaden his culinary experience, and after a great telephone interview with Executive Chef Patrick Maloir of the Westin Casuarina Resort, he moved to Grand Cayman in February 1999. Ron started at the Westin as a line cook and worked his way to becoming a Sous Chef. After stints as Executive Chef at several outstanding Cayman restaurants and winning numerous tukka 14prestigious cooking medals and awards, Ron and his wife Lana finally realized their dream, opening Tukka last year. And what a year of blessing it’s been, not only a incredibly successful restaurant, but also the birth of their first child, son Ledger! “I’ve always wanted to be a Dad,” Ron says, “and I guess I just got lucky! Ledger has given me a more solid direction in life along with my beautiful wife Lana…who is the best mum ever!”

tukka 15Passengers consistently comment about how fun it is to dine at Tukka…great food, great fun! “I want everyone who comes to Tukka to have an awesome experience and enjoy great food with friendly service,” Ron says. “When I hear that our guests have had a fun night out and had a great meal! I’ve done my job as a chef!”

Tukka is also open for breakfast, but only on Saturdays and Sundays. During the week it’s lunch and dinner.

www.tukka.ky                        e-mail: tukka@candw.ky
Phone: (345) 947-2700
898 Queens Highway, East End, Grand Cayman


Pick of the Month Archive:

Pick Of The Month 2011

Pick Of The Month 2012

Pick Of The Month 2013

Pick Of The Month 2014

Guy Harvey's Island Grill 2015

Tortuga Rum Company 2015

Tiki Beach 2015

Agua Restaurant & Lounge 2015

Red Sail Sports 2015

Eagle Rays Bar and Grill 2015

Cayman In A Nutshell 2015

KARoo 2015

Eden Rock Diving Center 2015

Abacus 2015

Michael's Genuine Food & Drink 2015

SNUBA Cayman 2015

Capt. Marvin’s Watersports 2015

Copper Falls Steakhouse 2015

Discover Scuba Diving with Red Sail 2015

Catch Restaurant & Lounge 2015

Capt. Marvin’s Watersports 2015

Lobster Pot Restaurant & Wine Bar 2015

Tukka Restaurant and Bar 2015

Cayman Kayaks 2015

The Jolly Roger 2015

Catch Restaurant & Lounge 2015

Guy Harvey's Island Grill 2016

Eden Rock Diving Center 2016

The Bistro 2016

Paradise Sailing & Snorkeling 2016

Agua Restaurant & Lounge 2016

Red Sail Sports 2016

Cayman In A Nutshell 2016

Eagle Rays Bar and Grill 2016

The Jolly Roger 2016

Grand Old House 2016

Capt. Marvin’s Watersports 2016

Osetra Bay 2016

Copper Falls Steakhouse 2016

Discover Scuba Diving with Red Sail 2016

Capt. Marvin’s Watersports 2016

Catch Restaurant & Lounge 2016

Cimboco 2016

Lobster Pot Restaurant & Wine Bar 2016

Tukka Restaurant and Bar 2016

Cayman Kayaks 2016

Cayman In A Nutshell 2016

Guy Harvey's Island Grill 2016

Catch Restaurant & Lounge 2017

Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park 2017

The Bistro 2017

Red Sail Sports 2017

Agua Restaurant & Lounge 2017

Cayman In A Nutshell 2017

Eagle Rays Bar and Grill 2017

Eden Rock Diving Center 2017

Cimboco 2017

Casa 43 2017

Pedro St James 2017

Agua Restaurant & Lounge 2017

Capt. Marvin’s Watersports 2017

Copper Falls Steakhouse 2017

SNUBA Cayman 2017

Lobster Pot Restaurant & Wine Bar 2017

Eden Rock Diving Center 2017

Tukka Restaurant and Bar 2017

Divetech 2017

Eden Rock Diving Center 2017

Catch Restaurant & Lounge 2017

Red Sail Sports 2018

Guy Harvey's Island Grill 2018