My friend Jenna and I were sat bored at work months ago and she told me all about this great idea she had thought up, which was to open a Caribbean cocktail bar/restaurant in Newcastle. Her description of the place was quite detailed. I thought it sounded interesting and only slightly flawed by her complete lack of knowledge on Caribbean food or running a restaurant… Unfortunately for her, only a few weeks later I had to tell her the bad news (and good news for everyone else) that a restaurant was opening called Turtle Bay, a Caribbean restaurant and cocktail bar. She was devastated as expected, but like everyone else was so excited to see something like this opening in Newcastle.
Turtle Bay as I said is a Caribbean restaurant, it is a chain restaurant and they have quite a few all over the country. I love that Newcastle is getting more and more restaurants and cocktail bars. I love writing this blog and having an excuse to sample them all, which is what I tell myself to justify it. My last review was of Byron Burger so make sure you also check that one out.
My first visit was on a night out, we popped in to try their cocktails. I have been to the Caribbean twice and the only thing I wanted was a Rum Punch, I was hopeful they did this cocktail as it just epitomises the Caribbean for me. Obviously, they did, so I had their version called a Passion Rum Punch and it definitely packed a punch.
The atmosphere was fantastic and it most certainly had an authentic vibe, it also didn’t feel like a chain restaurant.
I knew after that quick visit that I had to go back to try the food, the smells coming from the restaurant side were incredible. I decided to go with the girls the following Monday for lunch. They have lunch time deals on every day which makes it the perfect place to pop into after shopping in town.
Even though it was a weekday afternoon there still seemed to be a nice atmosphere. We hadn’t booked a table but this was fine. They sat us down and were more than accommodating for my friend that had a pushchair with her. I know this is primarily a Jamaican restaurant but the decor and music just took me back to being in Barbados.
I opted for a cocktail again, unfortunately this time it was non-alcoholic. I would say thats because it was a Monday afternoon but that usually wouldn’t stop me, it was because I had the car. Luckily their virgin cocktail list looked just as nice.
There is one major flaw in my plan to love this restaurant and make it my new favourite place to go, and that is that I am terrible with spicy food. I have been trying a lot more recently and Thom has been slowly increasing the heat in the chilli he makes, so I was willing to work on this issue to sample what Turtle Bay had to offer. To be fair not everything they do is spicy hot, there is a mix I think everyone would enjoy. There was 3 of us and we all picked very different meals.
I went for the BBQ Jerk Pork Belly with spicy fries. As usual, my eyes are far bigger than my belly and when it came I was disappointed with the amount I got, however when I actually finished it I was more than satisfied and I was just being greedy.
It tasted amazing. Yes it was very spicy for me and I drank 3 glasses of water but that didn’t take away from the chargrilled BBQ deliciousness of it. Emma got the Jerk Chicken Bun which again looked and smelled amazing (I am seeing a common theme here). It comes in a brioche bun which I think makes all the difference. Jessica opted for the light choice and went for the Duck Roll from the starter menu. Turtle Bay are actually known for their amazing One Pots so I think a second trip has to be on the cards to sample one of those.
The service was great and our waiter was very helpful and knowledgeable of the menu which is good when you are trying certain dishes for the first time. It would be good to see what the service is like when they are really busy like a weekend night time for example.
The prices are standard for a city centre restaurant, it isn’t cheap but it isn’t over priced either. You get what you pay for and at Turtle Bay that is delicious food and a relaxed atmosphere. I can’t wait to go back and I think this is the perfect type of restaurant for Newcastle. I hope it is here to stay as I have many more cocktails to sample.