Sunday, May 18, 2008

Can butterflies stop dancing?

Flit and fly…like the beautiful butterfly. Somehow these words seemed symbolic as we made our way through the winding lane, just after Tito’s, Baga, to visit the Loungefly. The name was catchy, did it have anything to do with the term ‘social butterfly?’

Deep Biswas, the warm, friendly co-owner of the Lounge-fly, dispelled our fears. ‘The loungefly is here to give ‘wholesome entertainment,’ he says. We look at the huge towering platform 50 feet above ground level, high above the swaying coconut palms…that is the sundeck. A place where one can ‘chill out’ throughout the day, overlooking the beach, soaking in the panoramic view. And then at sea level, rows and rows of lit candles, interspersed between the bamboo styled sofas, with soft cushions…the ones you can sink into and not ask for more. Bean bags dot the green lawn, while the foliage forms a perfect backdrop to set the mood. The stage is tastefully decorated keeping in mind the ‘local’ touch is in Ash Aqua green, with a long ramp, 60 feet in length cutting across two bars on either side.

We take all this in, as we sink into the comfortable sofa’s. ‘Why loungefly?’ was the first question. ‘Well a butterfly never settles down in any one place,’ he says with a smile, ‘but we have created the ambience, so that we can tempt even this elusive creature.’
Point taken. The place is open from 1.30 pm in the afternoon....and lunch is served till 3.30pm. After that, one can lounge around sipping on their range of 55 different cocktails or have a shot at their fully stocked bar, nibbling on the starters. I guess the sundeck must be very popular during that part of the day. Joe sips on the Kiwi and Blackcurrant Margarita. I believe they have got their recipe right.

And then from 7.30 pm to 12.30 am, the dinner gong sounds. Their cuisines…Tropical. ‘Well the butterfly is usually found in tropical spots,’ adds Deep, ‘so we have food from all these countries….South East Asian, Mediterranean, Sri Lankan, Jerusalem, Morocco, Mexican…..’ I look at the menu….Soups, both hot and cold to tempt the palate. Jerusalem Artichoke Soup, a classical soup with artichokes in a creamy sauce, Mexican Chilly soup, baked with beans and topped with cheese and crushed tortillas, Crab coconut and coriander soup..a Brazilian soup with coconut cream, red chillies and herbs. We decided to beat the heat by having cold soups…the Avocado lime soup and the Chilled Asparagus soup. Heavenly!!!

‘We have had a few concerts,’ states Deep, ‘the recent one was the Khoji Mix. Different musicians from all over the world..America, France jammed up and put on a show. It was excellent.’ We believe him…everything here, from the designer plates, the glassware, the garnishes spells ‘5 star category’.

The starters arrive. Garlic pepper prawns, an Oriental preparation, and Balinese Chilli Squid. There are vegetarian favourites too like Griddled leek, Asparagus and pepper with Balsamic vinegar. Tangy and tasty…these would be the adjectives used.

We sink into the deep cushions, the lounge music wafting slowly into our senses. We feel on top of the world. ‘This is what we would like our guests to feel,’ says Deep, ‘the spirit of complete entertainment….eat, chill, lounge, dance.’ Many of the guests around us are also reduced to this surreal state of mindless bliss. I now know what he means.

The main course has a long list of dishes which would excite, even the most discerning gourmet. No standard dishes here. There is Sri Lankan Vegetable Curry served with steamed rice, Lobster Morappa…a stir fried lobster in spicy Thai basil sauce, mussels in lemon grass, a range of Italian pasta. We decide on the Mustard baked Chicken with shell pasta and the Moroccan Red chicken. Delicious. There is total silence as we carve every piece of meat off the bone.

There are no desserts on the menu, but a footnote to check with the service staff. We decide to do so. We were offered Flambeed Fruit. The stewed fruit in a caramel sauce, topped with a scoop of ice cream was placed before us. But that was not all. The waiter brings in a flaming glass of brandy and pours it over the fruit. Blue flames lick hungrily at the concoction adding to its own rich taste. Divine!!!

Do we want to get up to leave? No sire. This is not just another eating out joint. As Deep puts it, the moment you sink into that cushion, or Sun bed mattress on the top most point, the sun deck…it’s the start of an experience. Let it soak into you, the way the brandy did during the sweet finale. I remember an old proverb as we leave the place with some regret… ‘If you want to give someone a gift, give them your time and attention.’ Take some time off, my friends…you will definitely get the attention.’ A perfect gift for everyone at the Loungefly.

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