It’s been a while since I last visited Caribbean restaurant Turtle Bay on Broad Quay in the city centre. We’ve been in for cocktails during the last year (got to love their happy hour deals…) but we haven’t eaten there since May 2013. Our last experience was a little underwhelming, so when we were invited to come and try out Turtle Bay’s new lunchtime menu, we were keen to see how things had changed.
The Saturday lunchtime of our visit was pretty busy – there didn’t seem to be a single table free in the 120-seat restaurant. The decor is still bright and lively, and a combination of Caribbean and non-Caribbean hits was blaring quite loudly from the speakers. Luckily, the volume seemed to be turned down part of the way through our meal…
We started off with a couple of drinks – non-alcoholic, despite the fact that it was happy hour and two-for-one cocktails. This may have been a mistake, on reflection… Still, our booze-free options were pretty damn good: a refreshing limeade for me, a naughty peanut butter and banana smoothie for Chris.
While we were able to choose from the full Turtle Bay menu, our aim was to test out a few dishes from the “Lunch ‘n’ Light” menu – a brand new offering for the restaurant. The menu is designed both for lunchtimes and for those looking for a dinner option that isn’t quite as full on as their other dishes (hence the name), and is pretty well priced at £6.95 per dish. Diners have a choice of a range of buns, wraps, salads, flatbreads and grills, with both healthier and more calorific options available.
Neither of us had eaten breakfast, so we went for the latter. My pulled chicken bun was still pretty impressive in terms of portion size, and was served on a paper-topped wooden board. The brioche bun itself was perfectly grilled and held together well – but I still ate with a knife and fork as I’m prone to dropping things all over my clothes. The chicken was tender and tasty – and included dark meat, which made me happy – but could possibly have done with a little more spice. The herby mayo and baby gem added more flavour, and I loved the caramelised onion pieces that topped the chicken (although the lurid colour was a little disturbing…) and the sides? Fab. The chips were nicely spiced, and the Caribbean slaw included the novelty of sultanas along with the vegetables, all dressed in a well-flavoured mayonnaise.
Chris went for the Street Burger – his bun containing jerk pulled pork (as beautifully cooked as my chicken) and a decent-sized patty too. We were impressed at how quickly our food came – but realised why when we saw just how pink the burger was inside. For Chris, this wasn’t an issue – but for some, it would have been way too underdone.
We were persuaded by our waitress to order a side of the cheesy jerk fries to share (£2.35) – yes, I know, extra chips…but she did a great job of convincing us that we really needed them. And pretty good they were too, full of flavour and generous on the cheese front – not as spicy as we were expecting, and a little soggy towards the bottom of the dish, but still fantastic in terms of their taste.
We were far more impressed with this visit than our previous trip to Turtle Bay – the lunchtime menu is great value for money, and we enjoyed what we ate. Sure, it’s not completely authentic Caribbean food, but it’s a way of enjoying the typical flavours of the islands in a format that’s more familiar. There were a few niggles – the undercooked burger being the biggest of these – but a positive experience overall.
Please note: this meal was received free of charge, but in no way impacted on our opinion. We were not obliged to write a positive review, and the venue did not see this review before it was put up on the site.