Turtle Bay, Broad Quay: 2019 Review

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Please note: our food and drink at Turtle Bay Broad Quay were received free of charge, but this in no way impacted on our opinion. We were not obliged to write a positive review, and the venue did not see this review before it was put up on the site.

 

The weekend just gone was the Summer Sound Clash at Turtle Bay on Broad Quay: a four-day festival celebrating their new menu with live music and DJs, special offers and more. And we were invited in to try the new menu offerings for ourselves to see what we thought…

We chose the Friday night to dine, and it was BUSY. With happy hour running for most of the day, there were plenty of people at the bar taking advantage of 2-for-1 cocktails before the 7pm cut-off, lots of full tables (even at 6pm), and DJs by the front window making the place buzzier than ever (and also making it slightly hard to have a conversation with the guy on the reservation station when we arrived).

Our table for two was in the raised section of the restaurant towards the back, a slightly claustrophobic space that involved some careful table manoeuvring to allow us to actually access our seats.

But once we were in, our servers were lovely and friendly, and very helpful, too – pointing out all the new dishes on the menu for us to give us an idea of what to go for.

And there are plenty of new choices there. Take a look at the menu and you’ll see a couple of open roti options, Jamaican patties and salt cod fish cakes on the starter list, while new mains include the five alarm curry chicken (which includes Trinidad Scorpion, Scotch Bonnet and Carolina Reaper chillies), plus a new vegan curry aubergine dish. And many of the desserts on offer are new as well…

We each started with one of the new dishes, with Chris tempted by the spicy beef Jamaican patties (£5.50). It certainly looked the part, with a turmeric-laden, yellow-hued pastry shell and a portion of Turtle Bay slaw on the side. The pastry was pleasant enough, but pretty thick and not as flaky as you’d expect from a Jamaican patty – and he found the edible sticker a little offputting. The spicy beef filling had an odd heat that was punchy at first but faded pretty quickly. The overriding flavour was of thyme, and the meat was a little too fatty.

 

Turtle Bay Broad Quay - Spicy Beef Patty

 

It was the salt cod fish cakes (£6.50) that caught my eye, with the inclusion of Scotch Bonnet chillies and spring onions promising plenty of flavour. It was certainly a generous portion for the price, the presentation reminding me very much of onion bhajis. And the consistency was pretty similar, too: long strings of onion throughout, with some of the fish cakes more onion than the deliciously strong flavour of the salt cod. The mango mole on the side had a generous hit of heat too, although the mango flavour was a little lost.

 

Turtle Bay Broad Quay - Salt Cod Fishcake

 

With his half-Trini heritage, I wasn’t surprised that Chris went for the Trini curry chicken (£10.80) for his main: a coconut and mango-based affair served with coconut rice and peas. Again, another hefty portion – Turtle Bay is definitely a good shout if you’ve got a hearty appetite. He enjoyed the curry sauce – which was definitely more coconut than mango – although he’d have liked more than five small chunks of chicken. In all honesty, we’ve never been a fan of Turtle Bay’s take on rice and peas, and this was the case this time around, too: there was plenty of allspice and chilli flavour, but the rice was pretty dry, with a bit of a sandy texture that wasn’t very appealing.

 

Turtle Bay Broad Quay - Trini Chicken Curry

 

Continuing my fishy theme, I decided to try the new fish fry (£13.50): a Red Stripe and chilli-battered salmon fillet, squid and spiced fries, served with jerk mayo. The fries were really tasty, with plenty of allspice, and I couldn’t fault the jerk mayo, with its spiced, fruity flavour. While the squid was a little greasy, it was the perfect combination of crisp coating and tender squid. And the salmon fillet was HUGE. The fish itself was nicely cooked, but the batter coating was a bit overdone and the chilli flavour wasn’t that strong.

 

Turtle Bay Broad Quay - Fish Fry

 

Being greedy, we ordered two sides to share, starting with the cheesy jerk sweet potato fries (£3) because we’re slightly obsessed with them. The crisp, sweet fries had been drizzled with an incredible jerk sauce and plenty of cheese, the sauce seeping to the bottom of the dish, giving us something to mop up at the end…

 

Turtle Bay Broad Quay - Cheesy Jerk Sweet Potato Fries

 

The other side? Not so great. The Turtle Bay mac and cheese (£3) was disappointing: the sauce thin, watery and bland – without the chillies on top, there would have been no real flavour to it at all.

 

Turtle Bay Broad Quay - Mac and Cheese

 

Similar to previous Turtle Bay experiences, the whole thing was a little hit and miss: there were elements of the meal that we really enjoyed, but there were also parts that did nothing for us whatsoever. There’s no denying, though, that it’s a fun place to eat: there’s always an amazing atmosphere, their cocktail happy hour lasts almost the whole day, and itheir portions are sizeable. Would love to hear what others think of the place!

 

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