There are a few restaurants in Leeds that have existed for sometime, which I’ve always wanted to try, but for one reason or another, never got round to doing so. Turtle Bay is one of those. Recently, I was asked if I’d like to go and check them out and see what they’re all about. You may have noticed I’m partial to the odd mid week meal out, as my recent post. A couple of weeks ago, we took a mid week trip to the Light in Leeds where Turtle Bay is based.
If your not familiar with Turtle Bay, it’s a vibrant, beech style Caribbean restaurant serving authentic jerk dishes, curries and cocktails. At first, I was a little unsure what to expect with the quality of food with it being a chain restaurant. Its fair to say, I needn’t of worried! We arrived at the restaurant around 5.30 and was introduced to the manager who gave us an introduction to the restaurant and menu (once we’d found a table with the best lighting, naturally)!
We started with some cocktails; Sam had One love (passion fruit liquor, blackwell rum, fresh passion fruit and coconut) and I chose Tease me (white rum, tia maria, banana liquor, cream, fresh banana and coconut). Both cocktails were delicious and refreshing whilst having a nice kick at the same time. They do offer 2-for-1 deals at selected times.
For starter we chose the mixed beach platter, £12.95 which included spicy jerk chicken wings, pepper roti, sweet corn fritters and garlic & herb flat breads. An ideal dish for sharing, it comes with 2-3 pieces of each element.
We did experience a slightly longer than expected wait for the food to arrive. When it did arrive, first impressions were good, everything looked fresh and tasty and appropriately sized for a mixed platter. We also ordered a couple more cocktails to go with our starter, Jammin (white rum, apricot liquor, fresh mint, ginger, lemon, apple juice & apricot jam) for me and Vanilla & passion fruit mojito (cockspur gold rum, vanilla, fresh passion fruit, fresh lime and mint) for Sam. I thought the fresh mint overpowered the flavour of my cocktail a bit too much.
The jerk chicken wings were delicious and had a nice fiery kick. They came served with sour orange chutney, which made a great accompaniment. The sweet corn fritters were made up of spring onion, coriander, scotch bonnet and a drizzle of West Indian hot sauce. Although I’m not the biggest fan of sweetcorn, I thought the flavours and textures here worked well.
The garlic & herb flat bread was stone baked and came served with herb, chili and garlic butter. What lovely little fiery morsel this was, probably my favourite from the platter. The pepper roti was oven baked, stuffed with shredded cheese, carrots, potatoes and onion.
For main course, Sam fancied trying the curried goat £9.75 with a side of fried Plantain. I went for the very authentic Caribbean half jerk chicken £10.35, with a side of sweet potato fries. We also tried the Tobago tea cocktail (rum, tequila, vodka, gin, triple sec, fresh lemon, mango and lemonade).
The goat was cooked in spices, scotch bonnet, sweet potatoes, citrus juice and ginger. It came served with sweet onion chutney and Caribbean dumplings. I loved how this dish was served, the wooden board and rustic tin dish just made it feel that bit more authentic.
I tried a bit of Sam’s curried goat, my first time trying it! I thought it had a really nice flavour to it. Perhaps, somewhere between lamb and beef. The amount of spice in this was well balanced with the other flavours. I also really enjoyed the Caribbean dumplings and fried plantain, both another first for me!
The half jerk chicken had been marinated for 24 hours and then grilled. It was served with sour orange chutney and coconut shavings. It certainly looked good and seemed plenty for one person. I’m glad I didn’t go for the full chicken!
For me, the chicken was so juicy and succulent and full of flavour. The jerk glaze had a wonderfully fiery kick to it, definitely suited if you like a bit of spice and heat. One to try if you like spicy food! The sweet potato fries were divine. Although not quite as authentic as perhaps rice and peas, I thought were a perfect accompaniment for the spicy, jerk chicken.
I couldn’t resist taking a look at the dessert menu. Eventually, I decided upon the banana & toffee cheesecake £4.85. Sam couldn’t quite manage a dessert, but still wanted to try my cheese cake!
The triple layered cheese cake was made with creamy soft cheese, banana and toffee I thought the presentation of the dish was simple, but effective. The layering in the cheese cake looked so good.
What can I say, the taste was unbelievably good. I loved the layering, the soft cheese and the sweetness of the toffee, worked so well together. The only downside… I didn’t get to eat it all! This is definitely one of the best cheese cakes I’ve had. I know that’s quite a bold statement to make, but it really was that good!
Overall, I’d have to say Turtle Bay surpassed my expectations. Although, the service was perhaps a little bit slow, the quality of the food and cocktails was very good and definitely made up for it. I thought it was really good value for money, (if you stick to bogof cocktails)!
If you’ve not been to Turtle Bay before, I would recommend you give it a go, (even if it’s just for the cheese cake) I for one, cannot wait to go back! Thank you to Turtle Bay for inviting me along. For more information or to make a booking, you can check out their site here.
Have you been to Turtle Bay? Let me know what you thought in the comments below.
*Food and drinks were complimentary for review purposes. All views are my own.