So if you follow me on social media you probably noticed that I was lucky enough to attend a special preview evening of the new Turtle Bay restaurant in Middlesbrough last Wednesday night. This was basically a small gathering of North East bloggers, PR’s and I believe local councillors, who were all invited along to preview their new menu before it opens it’s doors on 23rd April 2017.
Firstly, why on earth have I never visited a Turtle Bay restaurant before?! “Rum, Reggae, Jerk” , can you get any better than that?! From the moment you walk through the door of this place you feel an instant relaxation. From the smooth reggae tunes and the ridiculously friendly (in a good way!) staff to the amazingly refreshing cocktails and massive choice of rums (over 40!), it’s pretty impossible not to have a smile on your face within the first few minutes of your visit.
If you just fancy popping in for a few cocktails there’s definitely plenty to choose from, whether it be a boozy one or a soft drink. My personal favourite had to be the Bahama Mama which is full of fruity flavours and finished off with some coconut rum and banana liqueur- total amazeballs indeed! What’s even better though is that they have a ‘Happy Hour’ where all cocktails are 2’4’1 all day, every day until 7pm and again from 10pm! If you’re feeling a bit peckish too they offer some moreish bar snacks of Jamaican Jerk Nuts, Spicy Pork Rinds and Jam Rock Spiced Popcorn- I couldn’t stop nibbling, especially the popcorn.
So onto the important part; the food! The first dishes brought to our tables were the Just Jerk Platter and the Vital Veggie Platter.
The Jerk platter has a selection of pork ribs, wings, beef riblets, beef patties, sweetcorn fritters, spicy popcorn and a super green salad and every single element of this sharing dish is absolutely incredible. Every piece of meat was cooked to perfection and literally fell from the bone and melted in the mouth.
The Veggie platter consisted of okra, grilled mushrooms and peppers, pepper roti, flat bread, curried chickpeas and again the sweetcorn fritters and super green salad. Now I’m not a vegetarian and probably wouldn’t have chose to order this myself so I have to admit that I was totally surprised by the utter deliciousness of everything on here! Especially the okra- I’d have that again no problem!
Next up, we were brought two curries to try; Bajan Beef Cheeks and Spinach, Aubergine and Sweet Potato Curry.
Like the meat on the Jerk Platter, the Bajan beef cheeks were incredibly succulent and tender. It had a lovely spice to it but it was quite mild, perfect for me.
The Spinach, Aubergine and Sweet Potato Curry was again gorgeous. The vegetables were cooked just right; soft enough to enjoy but still full of flavour. I don’t think I’d manage a full portion of this though, it was a tad more spicy than the beef!
After the curries we noticed that the BBQ was in action which of course meant, Jerk Chicken!
A 24 hour marinated and pit grilled chicken, smothered in jerk seasoning, sour orange chutney and fresh coconut shavings, served up with coconut rice ‘n’ peas. Incredible. I love everything about this dish- it totally shouts ‘Caribbean’ and the flavours speak volumes.
If you don’t fancy chicken though, I’d have to recommend this one, the Slow Braised Beef Rib which was my favourite of the night! This was dished up with some sweet tattie fries and some watermelon, lime and coriander chow salad which was absolutely incredible! The very thought of fruit with savoury makes me feel uncomfortable for some reason, but I have to admit that this combination of sweet and spice worked beautifully. It’s making me hungry just thinking about it…
Next up (I know, how much food?!), was the chefs own surprise creation which isn’t actually on the menu and was a total one off for us; The Turtle Bay Jerk Parmo!
As the ‘Parmo’ was created in Middlesbrough I thought this was a lovely touch! I have to admit though, as I’m closer to Newcastle (Upon Tyne), I’ve probably only ever tried a few Parmo’s in my life. And those that I have tried have been rather dry and greasy! But the Jerk Parmo? This was on another level. The flavours were just incredible and as with the rest of the meat through the evening, the chicken was tender and there was plenty of it! This should definitely be on the menu, or at least on a secret menu!
By this point I was slipping into a major food coma and was just about ready for bed, but then we were brought a dessert selection to have a try of! Like I wasn’t going to try any, right?!
Banana & Toffee Cheesecake, Fresh BBQ Pineapple, Rum & Raisin Bread Pudding, Dark Chocolate Brownie and my absolute favourite, the Passion Pie. Think lemon meringue pie but instead of lemon this is passion fruit, not as sharp but gorgeously sweet and fruity. I couldn’t get enough of it and made my food coma worse by eating quite a bit of it! The toffee and banana cheesecake was gorgeous too, in fact every element of this dish was, but I will definitely be ordering the Passion Pie again when I return!
I headed home pretty sharpish after dessert as the food had definitely won and I was literally ready to fall into bed! This is hands down my new favourite restaurant and I can’t recommend it enough- even if you’re just in the mood for some cocktails, you have to give Turtle Bay a try! And it’s open now! (Opened 23rd April 2017)
Have you ever visited a Turtle Bay restaurant? What did you think?
Mother Hermit xx