Turtle Bay is an exciting addition to Newcastle's busy foodie scene and I was very fortunate to be invited along to a sneaky peak preview ahead of the opening and I can't wait to share all of the gossip with you.
Turtle Bay celebrates all things Caribbean, meaning that you can experience rum, reggae and jerk without having to buy an expensive plane ticket. Stepping into the lively colourful restaurant I was immediately impressed by the wonderful atmosphere and brilliant décor and before I realised it I started to feel like I was on holiday.
There's a definite nod to its new home in Newcastle with plenty of exposed brick, metal and concrete in celebration of our industrial history. I particularly loved the brightly coloured wall murals that are dotted around the restaurant, and party lovers will appreciate the wall created entirely out of speakers.
The island bar serves up classic Caribbean cocktails and has more than 40 Caribbean rums on offer from the full breadth of the Caribbean. The cocktail list is a great read although decision making isn't easy so if you get stuck I'd recommend starting your visit off with some "Reggae Rum Punch", a refreshing drink of 126 proof Wray & Nephew, strawberry liqueur, fresh lime, orange & pineapple.
My other favourite of the night was the "One Love", a deliciously fruity mix of Passion fruit liqueur. Blackwell rum, fresh passion fruit and coconut served Martini style.
You can get all of the cocktails on 2 for 1 during Happy Hour which runs every day from 11:30 am - 7:00 pm and then again from 10:00 pm. The central island bar and veranda style drinking spaces away from the main restaurant means you can enjoy a drink without eating. Something tells me Turtle Bay is going to become a cocktail destination for Newcastle.
So the rum gets a big thumbs up from me but what about the food?
The tasters began with a selection of food from the Starters/Cutters menu, inspired by Beach Shacks & Street Hawkers across the Caribbean Islands, it's a menu of dishes perfect as a starter or for friends to share with a cocktail.
Our selection of sharing food came from the Caribbean Collection which will be part of the Valentines Menu on Sunday. We had Duck Rolls, Jerk Chicken Wings, Hot Hot Pepper Roti and my personal favourite the Sweetcorn Fritters.
On to the main event and there are two parts of the menu at Turtle Bay to get seriously excited about. The One Pots and of course the Jerk Pit BBQ.
The One Pots at Turtle Bay are huge delicious bowls of simmering hot and delicious Caribbean flavour that are so amazing with Rice 'n' Peas or Fried Dumplings.
The Jerk Pit BBQ is the ultimate Caribbean BBQ. We enjoyed the Jerk Chicken, 24 hour marinated and grilled and served with sour orange chutney and a portion of Cheesy Jerk Fries on the side.
Of course no great meal is complete without dessert and at Turtle Bay you can get yourself some West Indian delights. Rum and Raising Pudding, Caymanas Rum Cake, Dark Chocolate Brownie and BBQ Pineapple are just some of the treats on offer and I recommend the refreshing coconut ice-cream as the perfect cool down after all that delicious hot food.
The food at Turtle Bay is hot, fiery and bursting with flavour. It's definitely a great idea to have a nice ice cold cocktail sitting by your side to cool your mouth (and because, let's face it, rum is great!) My trip to Turtle Bay really left me buzzing and I can't wait to go back with Simon who I know is going to love it.
Turtle Bay opens from 11:30 am tomorrow and on launch day you only pay full prices for drinks. "Pay as you feel" asks diners to pay whatever they think the food is worth with the amount each table decides to pay being matched by Turtle Bay and all proceeds going to local charity The Sunshine Fund. Make sure you book your table here, and be sure to let me know what you think!