You may remember a few weeks ago I went to the rather brilliant press night for Turtle Bay, the new Caribbean restaurant that's just opened in Newcastle. I had a fantastic time and haven't stopped talking about it. Ever since that night I've been dreaming about the cocktails, one pots and have probably been singing reggae in my sleep. I knew it wouldn't be long before I needed to return for another visit, so last week I booked a table for date night and this time I had Simon along for the ride.
Our table was booked for 6:00 pm and I literally spent the entire day clock watching, I was so excited to introduce Simon to Newcastle's newest hot spot and was keen to see how the restaurant has been since its opening. I think the simple answer to that is - busy! It seems the residents of Newcastle love Turtle Bay, the place was packed out and the atmosphere was electric.
Important job first, ordering as many cocktails as possible during Happy Hour. Cocktails are on buy one get one free until 7:00 pm every day, which at less than £3.50 a drink, makes them some of the cheapest cocktails in the Toon.
The food at Turtle Bay is pretty hot so I'd recommend a nice refreshing cocktail to go with your food (and whatever you do make sure you accept the offer of a jug of water for the table!)
We decided on the Rum Runner - a frozen blend of dark rum, blackberry and banana liqueur, lemon and grenadine. A frozen cocktail was a great choice as our glasses were packed with ice something we knew we'd appreciate to cool our mouths when we started on the food.
One of the things I loved during my first visit to Turtle Bay was having loads of dishes to share so I decided to recreate that for our Starter. I chose the Sweet Corn Fritters, Duck Roll and Cheesy Jerk Fries. Our lovely waitress brought us over some side plates and feasting commenced.
I had been keen to introduce Simon to the Sweet Corn Fritters as I'd loved them so much during my first visit, luckily they lived up to my hype and my Mr was more than impressed as he tucked in. I actually spent most of our Starter watching Simon take every mouthful. I loved Turtle Bay so much during my first visit and was desperate for him to feel the same.
Luckily for me the Duck Roll and Cheesy Jerk Fries sealed the deal and my Mr was on the same page as me and giving Turtle Bay a rather massive thumbs up.
All Starters are £5.10 and the Cheesy Jerk Fries are from the "Provisions" menu of side dishes which all cost £2.40 - there are some great additions for your meal including Fried Dumplings, Sweet Plantain and Caribbean Slaw.
We were keen to get to the main even and as I'd spent weeks dreaming about the One Pots it was only right that I chose one for my main. Having never been a big fan of spice, since meeting Simon I've found myself acquiring a taste for it and the word "hot" doesn't terrify me as much as it used to.
Whether you love your meals with plenty of fiery heat or are a little bit more cautious there's something for everyone on the Turtle Bay menu and the waiters are brilliant at giving menu advice if you're unsure. I'm keen not to run before I can walk so asked for mild recommendations and our waitress pointed me towards the Curry, Shrimp and Mango One Pot.
As the lid was taken off my pot the delicious smell of the shrimps, mango, sweet potato, tomato, garlic, ginger, Caribbean sauces and sweet onion chutney hit me and I was in One Pot heaven. My pot was creamy with just the perfect amount of kick. I ate every last bit and mopped up the juices with my side portion of Roti. So good!
I was keen for Simon to try the Jerk Chicken so was really happy when he decided to order it. The 24 hour marinated chicken was served with sour orange chutney, coconut shavings and a generous portion of sweet potato fries.
The Jerk Chicken definitely had more heat to it than my one pot but Simon is far better with spice than me so he was up for the challenge and he more than defeated it with one very clear plate at the end of his meal.
Simon ordered the half chicken which cost £10.10. All of the Jerk BBQ food comes with a choice of rice n peas, sweet potato mash, sweet potato fries, spiced fries or beach salad
Needing something refreshing to cool down, our waitress was spot on with her recommendations once again and suggested the perfect cocktail - Vanilla and Passion Fruit Mojito. A beautiful mix of Cockspur gold rum, vanilla, fresh passion fruit, lime and mint it was a great way accompaniment to our dessert.
We're usually careful to order different courses when we're out and about blogging but we were both adamant that we wanted the Banana and Toffee Cheesecake. Simon had actually yelled "I bagsie the cheesecake" as soon as we first sat down with the menu, and it sounded too delicious for me to miss out.
We were both so happy that we'd ordered matching desserts, they were really tasty and there was no need for any sharing. I have to say I was very thankful to get every mouthful to myself.
All of the puddings are £4.85 each and if you can't get enough heat the Spiced Chocolate Pot with a cooling coconut ice-cream sounds fantastic and I will be braving that on my next visit.
I'm delighted that Simon enjoyed Turtle Bay as much as me, I'm very excited that he's on board - it would have been very awkward if I'd continued my love affair without him.
Has anyone else tried out Turtle Bay? Let me know what you think!