It was a grey and miserable day on Saturday and the rain had just started to fall. However, turning the corner and being greeted by this made me feel like we’d been transported to a tropical island. The promise of 2 for 1 cocktails and the smell of the delicious food lured us inside. We were shown to our table straightaway despite it being lunchtime. They sat us near the kitchen which I actually enjoyed. I love the hustle and bustle of a restaurant’s kitchen and being able to see the different dishes coming out, it sometimes influences what I order. Me being me, I’d already looked at the menu before going so I was pretty certain what I wanted to eat. I’ve never had Caribbean food before, the closest I’ve got was a microwave pouch of rice ‘n’ peas, which Gareth says doesn’t count! I’m also a bit of a wuss when it comes to spice, I was quite nervous before going. I wasn’t sure I would enjoy any of the food and I’d leave with a burning mouth.
The amount of vegetarian options really surprised me. I’ve found that most restaurants see vegetables as a side dish and not the main event whereas Turtle Bay really celebrate vegetables and offer a wide range of dishes suitable for vegetarians and vegans. It was really refreshing to see.
Our waiter came over and was so friendly. He interacted with both of the boys and brought them both over a colouring book and crayons to keep them amused while we ordered. We ordered the Vital Veggie Platter to start. Included in this are; sweetcorn fritters, crispy okra, jerk pit grilled mushroom & peppers, pepper roti, bara flat bread, spiced curried chickpeas & cucumber chutney and a green salad. It costs £12.95 but with a single starter costing £5.10, it definitely works out better to order a platter, especially if you’ve got a big group of you or a family like us. My favourite part of this was the okra without a doubt. I’ve never had it before but it was delicious. The sweetcorn fritters were also nice, as were the curried chickpeas, but the spice was a bit much for me.
Gareth had the West Indian steamed snapper for his main. It was a red snapper fillet baked in foil with West Indian curry spices, scotch bonnet, garlic and thyme. It was served with steamed rice and a pineapple, lime & coriander salad. This was £12.50 and gluten free. He enjoyed it and said it was a nice bit of fish but it wasn’t “Caribbean enough” for him. He is a big spice lover and was expecting a bigger kick. This would be a good option for someone who doesn’t overly like spice.
I chose the Ital Rundown curry. It was a coconut rundown sauce, with butter beans, mini corn on the cob, sweet potato, carrots and coconut. It was served with coconut rice ‘n’ peas and roti flatbread. I absolutely loved it. Not too spicy yet full of flavour. The rice had a distinct coconut flavour and the flatbread was delicious when dipped in the sauce. I could have eaten another pot of it. It was £9.95, vegan and there was a gluten free version available.
We were asked when ordering if we wanted any sides. In the four and a half years we’ve been together, I can’t count the amount of times Gareth has mentioned plantain to me. He loves it and when he saw it was a side dish, he ordered it without hesitation. I can’t say I shared his love of it, I won’t be rushing to eat it again. The sweet plantain was £2.80, vegan and gluten free. We also tried the festival dumplings. I only had one bite of this though because halfway through the meal, Henry had a meltdown and wouldn’t eat his meal. We told him the dumplings were doughnuts and a waiter nicely brought him over some rum and caramel dipping sauce. They were £2.50 and vegan.
Even though we’re vegetarians (technically pescatarians) at home, when we’re eating out we always give the boys the option of eating meat. We’ll read out the things on a menu and Henry will decide what he wants. He chose a chicken flatbread and sweet potato mash. He and Archie shared it, however because Henry didn’t want any, Archie ate the majority of it himself! I was disappointed that there was only one vegetarian children’s option and that it wasn’t very imaginative, given the adult menu.
I’m very much a dessert girl. I would always choose one over a starter, no questions asked. I couldn’t decide between the passion pie, upside down rum cake, brownie or the rum and chocolate pot. I went with the chocolate pot in the end, however I wish I’d gone for the pie. The rum was really strong, it made my throat burn. And as a breastfeeding mama who hasn’t drank properly in almost 2 years, I really felt the effects of it! The coconut ice cream it came with though was delicious. It was gluten free too. Gareth had the BBQ pineapple which was drizzled in a rum caramel sauce and came with vanilla ice cream. He loved it. There was a vegan option available which I assume means it comes without the ice cream. All puddings are £4.95. Henry had vanilla ice cream, just one scoop, although he was given the option for more. I don’t know how much this was, there’s no children’s desserts shown on any menu.
With the offer of 2 for 1 cocktails, I couldn’t say no! They have a Happy Hour, which is from when they open until 7pm and then “late” until they close. We went at 1pm so Happy Hour was on. They do have to be the same cocktail though and served at the same time. Me and Gareth decided on a Koko Colada which is a Koko Kanu coconut rum, dark rum, pineapple, coconut syrup and cream and grated nutmeg (description copied from their website). It was amazing. The rum hit the back of your throat but it was followed by a rich coconut flavour which didn’t make it feel too alcoholic. All cocktails are £7.15. I wouldn’t pay this for one but the 2 for 1 make it a good deal. I was fine with that drink for the whole meal but Gareth always needs a second. He wanted a Red Stripe but it never arrived. I think they forgot about it with it being a busy Saturday afternoon but he was pretty upset (he loves a Red Stripe draught). Kid’s drinks weren’t available as far as I could see on a menu (like the puddings) so Gareth chose a watermelon crush for Henry. It was fresh watermelon blended with ice and it was £3.60.
Our total bill was £65.85. This is about £20 more than we’d usually spend on a meal out for all of us however, I think it was reasonable for the amount of food we ate (me and Gareth were full all day after eating it, we didn’t have dinner that night!) I will definitely go back and try more of the food on the menu, more cocktails and all of the puddings! If you have a Turtle Bay near you, I highly recommend going. You won’t be disappointed.
Disclaimer: We were offered this meal free of charge for an honest blog review. All of the views and opinions expressed in this post are mine and I haven’t been influenced in any way, nor have I been told what to write.