I have a confession. I had never visited Turtle Bay until being invited to review this popular chain. I had always heard good things about its Caribbean cuisine and its fruity cocktails but I had never ventured to its location. Perhaps the spicy cuisine, unfamiliar territory and winter months were what were keeping me away, however now with a new summer menu, I was excited to dip my toes into the pool of Reggae Music and soulful and comforting dishes.
The new summer menu at Turtle Bay consists of 15 new dishes and 7 new drinks including a wider range of vegetarian and vegan options as well as a few new meaty dishes.
Myself and my dining partner Jamie ventured down to the Crawley branch to try the new dishes and see what Turtle Bay had to offer.
When we arrived we noticed the comfortable and laid back atmosphere of the restaurant. The decor is really welcoming with Bob Marley murals on the walls and lots of colour throughout the restaurant. I noticed the kitchen is open and it was nice to see the chefs cooking away and smelling the spicy aromas that fill the air as you walk to your table.
We were seated a little table by the window and we got stuck in right away to read their large menu. After much debating Jamie ordered a ginger beer which was really refreshing and I ordered the watermelon crush – fresh watermelon blended with ice, a mocktail that looks just like a slush puppy. My watermelon crush looked so bright but it did taste very artificial. It was quite syrupy and had me doubting whether there was any real watermelon in it at all!
After admiring our unusual drinks and browsing the long and extensive menu, we finally decided on our starters. I chose the Jerk pit ribs glazed with classic jerk seasoning and served with fresh watermelon, and lime and green herb chow. The ribs were perfectly slow cooked, full of flavour, tender and just falling off the bone. Jamie opted for the crispy chilli squid (well one of us calamari fans had to have it!) which was served with lime and coriander mayonnaise. This was so delicious and the panko breadcrumbs were crunchy and the chilli seasoning complimented the mayonnaise perfectly. I wanted to eat more as the texture and flavours were simply harmonious.
Shortly after devouring our starters, our mains were quick to arrive. The main course choices were also very varied but we both decided to keep it traditional and opt for the classic jerk chicken as we both had always wanted to try this authentic Caribbean dish. The chicken came accompanied with coconut rice ‘n’ peas, Caribbean slaw, sour orange chutney and a choice of glaze.
The chicken breast was really juicy and the jerk glaze was extremely flavoursome. I did think that the glaze and sauce could have been thicker as it did taste a little watered down but the rice and Caribbean slaw were really tasty. The whole dish tasted fresh and fruity and it was extremely filling.
Alongside our mains we also got the fried plantain and the sweet potato fries as a side. The fries were seasoned well and the plantain tasted amazing. It wasn’t greasy and I would definitely recommend it as an accompaniment as it pairs extremely well with savoury dishes.
We both decided to order another drink and Jamie chose the Passionfruit cooler, and I just opted for a water. The cooler was tangy and you could really taste the passion fruit and lemon juice.
After over-indulging in our mains I decided there was still room for dessert. I originally opted for the banana and toffee cheesecake but they had unfortunately sold out so I chose the dark chocolate brownie with coconut ice cream. The brownie was rich and warm and the ice cream was so creamy and tropical. The portion size was perfect and I did struggle to finish it all.
Overall we both really enjoyed the food and experimenting with new flavours we hadn’t tried before. I’m really impressed with the new menu and the restaurant itself. I can see they have a wide range of vegetarian and gluten free options and both the atmosphere and the food is vibrant. Thank you for inviting me Turtle Bay, I will be visiting again in the future as there is so many different dishes to try!
Have you ever been to Turtle bay? Leave a comment below…