Turtle Bay is a new chain restaurant that has just opened its doors to the public (Feb ’16) and is set to bring amazing spicy Caribbean food and drink to Newcastle!
Usually, I would dive straight into the review, but I honestly feel this restaurant deserves commendation for the fact they dedicated their opening day to help raise money for a local charity, which is something I have nothing but respect for.
On their opening day, customers were invited to pay only what they felt their meal was worth. Turtle Bay pledged to match the total amount left by customers and donate it all to the Sunshine Fund.
(The Sunshine Fund raises money to provide specialist equipment and improve the quality of life for children with disabilities and serious illnesses in the North East.)
The restaurant raised a staggering £3200.60 for a fantastic local North East charity. This meant that before even crossing their thresh-hold I already had a great deal of respect for them!
I was kindly invited for a complimentary meal, so I headed into the Toon on a Wednesday evening to see what they’re all about. I knew I was in for a treat when the restaurant was this busy mid week…
The restaurant is kitted throughout with an awesome Caribbean theme that is unlike anything else Newcastle has to offer! Whether it’s the rum bottle light shades or the epic wall art, you can immediately see how much effort the company has put into creating a pleasant environment for their customers to enjoy.
No doubt the smart arses of the North East are already licking their lips at the thought of their ‘that’s not original Caribbean’ tirade. So to put a cork in that, I’m not saying the place feels 100% authentic, but they’ve done a hell of a job creating a friendly, relaxing atmosphere which is honestly the first thing I look for when I eat out! Somewhere without pomp or pretence, just chilled out and good music.
The Turtle Bay Menu certainly offers a wide range of dishes, but straight off, I would say that their Caribbean style food offers a lot more choice for people who like their dishes spicy.
For starter, I opted of the
Chilli Fried Squid (£5.10)
Usually, this is a bit of a bland dish, but this was something totally different.
The squid was cooked to perfection with a crispy outside and soft meat inside. What set this dish apart was the explosion of flavours in the dressing. You’re hit with the sweetness of the mango, spice from the chilli and the citric burst of lime all at once. For what is usually quite a simple starter, it packed a hell of a lot of flavours!
That was washed down with a bottle of Carib beer, an authentic 5.4% Caribbean larger which goes well with just about anything!
For the main course, I decided to try the
BBQ Belly Pork (£12.50)
I’m not going to lie, when this was put in front of me, I nearly asked the waiter if it was the wrong dish because when I order BBQ pork, it has not once looked like this, but boy was I glad it was mine.
This is easily some of the best-cooked belly pork I have ever eaten in a restaurant. The meat was as succulent as it could be and presumably chargrilled to finish, leaving the meat with a fantastic blackened char on the outside.
I was expecting slightly more crackling given it was only a very slim piece. If the crackling had been left off the dish, it wouldn’t have been a miss, but as it was specified, I did expect a bit more.
The sweet onion chutney & fresh green seasoning gave this dish a fresh and fragrant taste but didn’t overpower the flavour of the pork. The Caribbean Slaw & rice ‘n’ peas (quite spicy for a side dish) went well, and the portion was more than enough for me.
For dessert, I decided to go for a bit of a palate cleanser with the
Lemon and Lime Tart (£4.85)
This was the ideal dish to finished with, having a crisp base and light fruity filling. The passion fruit sauce had a nice sharp kick that complimented the dish off perfectly.
It’s worth mentioning that they also have an excellent drinks menu, offering a selection of rum-based cocktails! These drinks pack a hell of a punch and are great accompaniments to any meal. The establishment does intend to operate as a rum bar earlier in the evenings and I, for one, will be heading there for drinks on a night out!
Turtle Bay is certainly somewhere I will be visiting again, whether it’s for some strong Caribbean cocktails or spicy food. The staff are amazingly friendly and very genuine, which combined with the relaxing atmosphere makes for somewhere I find very appealing.
It might not be as authentic as Mr Marley himself, but it has enough charm and quality to offer anyone an enjoyable evening at an extremely reasonable price.