Turtle Bay is easily one of my favourite restaurant chains. If you're looking for somewhere that has character, great music and fantastic belly filling grub, then Turtle Bay is the place to be. I first fell in love with Turtle Bay and Caribbean food when they opened a restaurant in my hometown a few months ago. I was lucky enough to be invited to their launch and learnt so much about the history and authenticity of Turtle Bay. When I heard they were opening a new restaurant in my work town, Leeds I knew I had to check it out and compare my experiences.
On Friday night my husband and I ventured out to the new Turtle Bay* on Albion Street, Leeds to celebrate his new job. The restaurant was much bigger than I expected and like all Turtle Bay restaurants, the room had fantastic decor with Caribbean style graffiti and a bar styled like a beach shack. When we entered Bob Marley was playing in the background and the bar was getting lively. You could tell from the moment you entered the room that this was Leeds' newest hotspot.
I don't usually drink alcohol - in fact I've been teetotal for the last few months but seeing as we were celebrating, I decided to have a drink with my hubby and opted for my favourite alcoholic beverage, a mojito. Between 12pm and 7pm and then from 10pm onwards in happy hour and since we arrived at 6pm, my husband and I were able to get 2 for 1 on cocktails. Cocktails are usually priced at £6.95 each which I think is reasonable for a city centre and the cocktails are quite strong.
After grabbing our cocktails at the bar, we were promptly taken to our seats and handed the menus. I had been looking forward to Turtle Bay food all day and knew already what I wanted to order, but when I looked at the menu, the meal I was craving wasn't there. In fact, quite a few things that are usually on the menu at my local Turtle Bay restaurant wasn't there and I found the Leeds Turtle Bay restaurant to be very lacking in the vegetarian section. I'm not a fan of Goats cheese at all and the only other option was the Run Down - which happens to be one of my favourite dishes, but I've had it so many times. I really wanted to try the Chickpea and Curry Squash, but when the waitress arrived, she said it is something they don't serve at the Leeds restaurant, despite it being on the menu online and apologised.
For starters I opted for the sweetcorn fritters and although I've had them before, they did taste so much better and less oily compared to previous occasions. I could have happily munched my way through several bowls of these fritters, they were so moreish. My husband went for the Jerk Chicken Wings and really liked them. He said they weren't overly spicy and had just the right amount of heat.
When my main dish arrived I forgot all about the previous issues I had and was more than happy that I stuck with my favourite rundown. The dish was lovely with plenty of flavour and just the right amount of coconut milk. The fried dumplings really complimented the dish as they added a bit of crunch to what is quite a soft stew like dish and overall, I couldn't fault it. My husband had the Jerk Salmon which he says is probably one of his all time favourite meals. He said that jerk and salmon are two things that you don't think would go together, but it's like a match made in heaven. The jerk brings out the intensity of the salmon and has lots of flavour. The sweet potato fries were also a delight.
After our first two courses, we didn't think we could handle dessert, but I was adamant that I was going to try the Banana & Toffee Cheesecake with rum sauce as I was too full the last few times I had visited my local restaurant. My chocoholic husband went for the chocolate brownie. Both desserts lived up to expectations and although we both felt like our bellies were going to burst from eating too much, we had no regrets. It was the perfect end to a great meal.
Have you been to a Turtle Bay restaurant?
*The meal was complimentary in exchange for this review