Oh jolly, it’s Tahitian coco prawns

August 12th, 2011 - 4:37 pm ICT by IANS  

Gurgaon, Aug 12 (IANS) You fork into some Tahitian coco prawns, admiring the wafer thin coating while taking measured sips of the island runner. You catch yourself smiling at the tribal mask on a wall, waiting for it to smile back. And you know it’s the rum working, and the Afro-tribal settings, and the retro music.

Welcome to Jolly Rogers. Perched on the 10th floor of a Gurgaon building, this 220-seater eatery guarantees some exquisite food apart from a good time.

Introduced as a French Polynesian place, the one-and-a-half-year-old restaurant is fast adding Mexican, Italian, Lebanese and Indian cuisine to its already thick menu.

Situated in the Pacific Ocean, French Polynesia consists of over a hundred islands divided into five island clusters. Papeete on Tahiti, located in the Society Islands cluster, is its capital.

The islands usually have a tropical climate, and it’s the very same effect Jolly Rogers tries to recreate through the novel blend of cocktails it offers.

The place is divided into three sections. The lounge has a laidback comfy look done in a lot of soothing whites. The fine dining is cosy, thanks to the virtues of candle lighting. But it’s the outdoor section that takes the cake. The thatched roofs, gentle breeze, greenery, all work together to heighten the gastronomical pleasures.

From island runner to beach bum to aye captain, most of the rum-based drinks Jolly Rogers offers have a distinct coconut flavour — a fruit found in abundance in French Polynesia.

The food mostly lives up to the expectations, barring stray disappointments.

The tropical Hawaiian salad and the island tuna and pineapple nicoise are both easy and refreshing, keeping up the promise of freshness that French Polynesian cuisine is known for.

The vegetarian starters, introduced as ‘For the Herbivorous’ in the menu, offer a lot of cottage cheese and mushroom.

Cottage cheese fafa, cooked with pepper, onion and coconut milk, is bright and delightful with its flavours. Pepper cheese and corn roll overwhelms you with its thick texture — but those with a thing for cheese won’t be complaining.

There’s a lot of appetising chicken, fish, prawns and lamb to feast on. Sweet and spicy fish — beer-battered and cooked with piquant sauce — is pungent yet subtle in its flavour.

Star anise garlic chicken morsele looks as exotic as it sounds. The aroma and uniformity of the chicken pieces make for a picture perfect dish, but its dryness is unexpected.

One look at the main course menu and you know the chef has a non-vegetarian bias. However, the mushroom and corn ravioli shines. The delicate cheese, corn and mushroom filling between thin pasta layers sprinkled with some fresh pepper is easily one of the most exciting things for foodies.

The chicken tortilla rolls with salsa are scrumptious, thanks to the perfectly grilled chicken providing the necessary edginess. Moving on to sea species, the olives and capers-crusted basa fish isn’t too inviting, but the Tahitian coco prawns is both flawlessly crisp from outside and tender inside.

However, as they say, save the best for the last. The desert sweeps you off your feet. The fried ice-cream with rum glaze is a must.

A huge ball of vanilla ice cream coated with coconut and rum glaze, served with three types of sauce, the spectacular finishing of the desert makes you admire the meticulous effort that’s gone into its making. It’s worth the money at Rs.175.

Save for a slightly slow service and a case of missing mocktails, Jolly Rogers makes for a cosy outing. Dinner for two costs Rs.3,000.

(Mohita Nagpal can be contacted at mohita.n@ians.in)

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