“Bahamians like new t’ings” and Lukka Kairi is no exception, although one sip, one taste proves that it is completely justified. Plating tapas (Spanish for small portions or appetizers) of Bahamian and Caribbean-inspired cuisine, the restaurant is serving a vibrant dining experience in the heart of downtown Nassau.
With its kaleidoscope of earth tones, tangerines and cyan blues, the sultry musical notes drizzling over the restaurant’s balcony is enough to lure tourists and locals walking along Nassau’s harbor. At the foot of the stairs (which is how you access the restaurant) the Creole seasonings appear as vibrant as the décor, including a wall-to-wall mural of Bahamian history, including 1600’s piracy era, Arawak civilization and the evolution of Junkanoo. This grand Allan Wallace piece sits behind the bar that serves as a stage for live entertainment. So far, songstress Richa Sands, Wendy Lewis, Julien Believe and reggae cover band Willis and the Illest have christened the stage.
Tucked along Prince George Wharf, Lukka Kairi is the perfect addition to spice up Nassau’s nightlife. So, let’s dig in…
The menu features a few bite-size versions of Bahamian favorites—tropical conch salad, guava duff and conch fritters, but Lukka Kairi also offers their Caribbean twists on classic international cuisine, including shrimp and grits. Fiery red in color, this Creole-inspired dish will leave a Mardi Gras trail of spices on your taste buds.
When it comes to cooking with alcohol, I’ve tasted just about anything—from BBQ chicken and pulled pork drenched in beer to penne pasta in wine sauce, but my taste buds had never met steak marinated in rum… nor had I ever thought of pairing the two. Earlier this summer, Lukka Kairi added the Drunken Grilled Flank Steak to its menu and, like most patrons, I could not get enough. Served over a sweet potato hash and topped with a fried egg, the steak is marinated in Lukka Kairi’s own Gun Cay Rum. With the yolk bursting at your first stab, you’ll be tempted to lick the fork.
I know what you’re thinking: how a bite can be that good. That’s what I thought when I saw guava duff stuffed in a tiny jar (I also thought: where’d they get these miniature jars from). Nevertheless, I flipped the jar upside down, watched as the sugary goodness slipped out and drizzled the guava sauce on top, as instructed by my waitress… heaven!
The guava duff was so moist. Pure heaven. My only complaint: I wished it came in a bigger jar, obviously.
Although tapas-style dining is a fairly new concept for most Bahamians, the Lukka Kairi restaurant is quickly becoming a staple of the Woodes Rogers boardwalk and downtown dining experience. As long as the music never stops, and the food continues to pop… it will light up the harbor for a long time.