Opening Night Party At Turtle BayPublished On Friday 31 Jul 2015 by Sticky Beak
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I like parties, I like music and I like the Caribbean vibe so it was pretty much a no-brainer that I was going to accept the invitation to join the Turtle Bay posse for their opening night. The Boy Wonder and I decided to go on the bus from our nest into the City so that we could both enjoy a few cocktails and beers. I have to admit that it has been a fair few (ok, a lot of) years since we’ve braved the buses, and I just want to give a big cheer to Trent Barton as their “ nines” service that we used for both journeys was spot on; it was clean, the right temperature and the driver was smart and polite. If you did food and drink guys you’d be getting your Hot Wings J anyhow, back to the real business.....
We were met at the door with cheery smiles and escorted inside to be given a rather nice glass of Rum Punch. The Punch was really fruity, one of those drinks that you could imagine sipping as you lay on a white sandy Caribbean beach. The venue itself is great, and my favourite feature was all the 7” vinyl discs hung from the ceiling. The Man remarked that I could deck our entire nest out like that with my vinyl collection - now there’s an idea for the conservatory ( I could rename it party central).If you’ve ever seen the BBC1 programme “ Death in Paradise” then Turtle Bay would remind you of Camille’s mums beach hut bar; very relaxed, friendly people and chilled music.
It wasn’t long before a couple of the staff came over and started chatting away, lovely girls called Heather and Chloe. They were regaling us with tales of all the team building fun they’d been having and how we were in for a cracking night (they were 1000% right as it turns out). The venue soon started to fill up with the other guests and not many minutes passed before the first of many dishes of food were being brought round. Everyone was tucking into the Sweetcorn Fritters and Sweet Plantain and remarking how flavoursome they were. The Hot sauce with the Fritters gave them something different to make the dish lovely and zingy. Now, those in the know always rave on about balance, so I figured that seeing as we were eating we needed to be drinking and I had a little wander over to the bar. I returned brandishing a couple of cheeky cocktails called “Bay Brambles”, so called because of the Blackberry Brandy in them; talk about deliciousness in a glass!
Chloe soon came over to our little group with some Chilli fried Squid and I have to say it was gorgeous. It wasn’t rubbery at all and it had a great kick to it courtesy of its spicy coating and was topped off beautifully with a fresh Lime and Coriander mayonnaise. Lovely crispy Sweet Potato fries and Jerk Pit Ribs were equally enthusiastically tucked into; with The Man remarking how nice it was to have ribs whose meat was just falling off the bone. I was bowled over by the punchiness of the Jerk spice that is used at Turtle Bay, I love, love, LOVE it #welovejerk. I need to become BFFs with the chef so that he’ll let me have a tub of it to use Chez Beak!
The music was terrific and everyone was swaying gently to the tunes as they were eating, it really was just like being in an authentic Caribbean setting. Even the floor staff were having a little boogie as they passed each other and grinning to themselves. I always think that happy servers can have a huge influence on the dining experience and having witnessed “ Team Turtle” (as I’m calling them) in action I think it safe to say that if you venture there yourselves dear reader you won’t be disappointed. This time it was His Nibs turn to venture to the bar and with nothing more than a request for “something nice” I wondered what liquid temptation he would come back with. A tin cup of “Ting – Well” was placed into my little hand and I took a sip and was again instantly transported to the Balmy shores of the Caribbean; if only these journeys were real I could’ve clocked up some serious air miles by now :)
Tempting morsels of Jerk salmon, Goat Curry and Caribbean Fish Curry were savoured as time passed, the Salmon in particular going down well thanks to its moistness and the spicy crust it had. We discovered that Red Stripe lager is a particularly good partner for the curries too, as well as for another cheeky helping of Sweet Potato Fries.
There was a small lull in the food at this point, which was very welcome and it was a great opportunity to enjoy the musical offerings from Troy Ellis and Hail Jamaica, and Laid Blak. These guys all embraced the atmosphere and kept us grooving, with a generous helping of audience participation and a little bit of Staff involvement too for good measure. Another couple of sneaky visits to the bar ensued - once to have a glass of Caribbean Pimms (very yummy) and once to sample a deliciously chilled glass of white wine.
A very handsome young man (whose name I incredibly forgot to get, can you believe?!) brought round the most amazing tray of Double Dipped Steak for us to sample and my gosh did it make our taste buds do a little reggae shuffle of delight. The steak itself had a fantastic natural flavour to it that told you it was quality meat but the marinade had given it a real depth of flavour that was just great. The Boy Wonder said that this was his favourite dish of the night and it really is worth trying. I also really liked the Jerk Chicken; I think that this is a quintessential classic dish that everyone associates with the Caribbean cuisine scene and Turtle Bay has nailed it perfectly.
What really impressed me throughout the night though was the attention to detail regarding tidiness and cleanliness. Several members of staff had little tubs and were tidying used napkins and bones discreetly into them, all the while smiling to guests and chatting away to them. A lovely young girl called Bailey kept keeping an eye on our section with impressive efficiency, top marks to her. When you’re invited to these events and are having such a good time it’s easy to forget the hard work that the staff are doing so I just want to say a massive thank you to them all; as my Mummy Bird always said to me “ manners are free, use them liberally”.
Turtle Bay is in a great location in the city centre so accessible if you’ve been shopping or just a short walk from the bus stop on Corporation Street if you fancy a night out. Turtle Bay, I have a feeling you’re going to be a very popular venue :)