— Chloe Dawson (@newgirlintoon) March 7, 2016
Fantastic food and cocktails @Turtlebayuk Newcastle yesterday. If I hadn’t been facing the rain outside would have thought I was on holiday!
— Emma Hepplestone (@EmmaHepps) March 6, 2016
Good food, cocktails & red stripe @Turtlebayuk Newcastle; perfect birthday fare! The goat curry is divine… My new favourite place.
— Vicky Jopling (@Viccles4) March 5, 2016
— Enda Kilgallon (@ekilgallon1) March 3, 2016
I was lucky enough to be invited along to a press launch of the Caribbean restaurant where I got the chance to sample several dishes from the menu and enjoy an endless supply of potent rum cocktails. Needless to say I had a top night, the service and food were all top notch, but my memory of the detail was somewhat hazy the next day (did I mention FREE RUM??)
So, before recommending a meal at Turtle Bay I thought I better head back and sample a typical evening there, paying a bit more attention to the food rather than the drink … you know, just to be sure 😉
I also took along my spicy food loving fella and his lovely Mam who had been wanting to try goat curry for years. Taking my Mother in Law out for a meal is always a risky business, don’t get me wrong, I love her to bits, the trouble is she has an unfortunate track record of experiencing mediocre food at even the most revered restaurants. However, it would seem Turtle Bay has broken the curse as the eagerly awaited goat curry got a big thumbs up!
The meat in the goat curry was marinated in traditional curry spices with scotch bonnet for that signature kick! Sweet potatoes, citrus juice and ginger helped balance out the heat of the chilli and the generous one pot dish was served with traditional Caribbean dumplings. These were almost like doughnuts in texture and tasted quite sweet too, which probably accounts for why my Mother in Law couldn’t find room for dessert!
To be honest, neither could me or James, our mains of Jerk Salmon served with sweet potato fries and Jamaican Browned Chicken were both delicious and seriously filling! We’d also shared a Beach Food Platter, Chilli Fried Squid and Jerk Pit Prawns prior to our main meals… OK, we may have got a bit carried away with the ordering but everything on the menu was so tempting!
My pictures definitely don’t do the dishes justice, the focus in the kitchen is clearly more on taste than presentation but I can assure you that what the food at Turtle Bay lacks in finesse it more than makes up for in flavour!
There’s actually a really good selection of starters, platters and lighter dishes inspired by the food you’d find at beach shacks on the Caribbean coast… add to this the lively atmosphere, colourful surroundings and reggae music at Turtle Bay and it’s easy to imagine you’re on an exotic island, nowhere near the bustling bars of The Gate complex in Newcastle city centre! I can definitely see myself visiting for a quick bite at lunch and not leaving till the early hours!
Although I was the designated driver on this particular visit I do have to give a little mention to the amazing selection of rum on offer, Turtle Bay stocks over 40 different Caribbean varieties, all at the same price. The outgoing bar staff are a dab hand at making cocktails and with a happy hour that lasts from 11.30am – 7pm and then starts up again at 10pm, it’s not hard to get into the party spirit (pardon the pun!)
It’s not often I find myself loving a chain restaurant as much as I love Turtle Bay and I honestly cannot wait to return!
Have you tried a Turtle Bay restaurant? I’d love to know what you thought and which dishes and cocktails you think I should try on my next visit.