If Caribbean inspired food, rum, reggae and chilled out vibes are your jam then you’ll love Turtle Bay. The Norwich restaurant has almost been open a year now, whilst I wasn’t blown away with the food choices the first time around, I heard that they were upping their game with a new gluten free menu at Turtle Bay restaurants across the UK. So I decided to head down there with Hamish and check it out.
Turtle Bay was buzzing when we arrived on Wednesday evening. It felt more like a Friday night in there. The restaurant was full of groups of friends and couples having a catch up over food and cocktails. The vibe was very laid back, it’s the kind of place that you walk into and instantly feel comfortable and at home. We were shown to our tables and sat admiring the graffiti whilst decided which cocktails to order.
Happy Hour Cocktails are basically the best kind of cocktails. It’s 2 for 1 up until 7pm every day and then again from 9pm Sunday – Thursday and 10pm and Friday and Saturday. It’s the perfect place to pop in for a drink straight after work. Or a great place to start your night out. The range of cocktails on their menu is impressive. It’s a good mix of classic cocktails and ones with a Turtle Bay Twist.
Raspberry Reggae (A mixture of dark rum, raspberries, lime and lemonade.) This was refreshingly sweet, a little bit tart and very more-ish! It’s a must try for any raspberry lovers.
Jamaican Mule (Old J Spiced Rum, bitters, lime and ginger beer.) This was my favourite of the two cocktails which really surprised me! The spiced rum had a hint of vanilla in it which cancelled out the bitterness of the ginger beer. It was sweet and refreshing, it’s the kind of cocktail that you’d reach for on a hot summer afternoon. I’ll definitely be making this one at home!
I was a little overwhelmed with the choice of gluten free items on the new menu! So we decided to get a bowl of spicy pork rind to snack on whilst I made up my mind. These were light, crispy and all kinds of delicious. A great treat to snack on whilst sipping a cocktail!
Jerk glazed pit ribs. I have a little bit of a thing about ribs so naturally I couldn’t say no to these! It would be rude to head to Turtle Bay and not opt for jerk too. The meat just fell off the bone, it was tender and perfectly spiced. It wasn’t a hot, burn your mouth kind of spice, but a flavoursome one. You could pick your jerk glaze on this dish too, so if you weren’t a fan of spice you could opt for coconut or pineapple, which is such a good idea. I’d order these again in a heartbeat. You can opt for ribs as a main too, which I might just have to do next time.
Jerk pit wings. Again the meat just fell of the bone. They were marinated for 24 hours before being grilled in a sour orange glaze. The meat was tender and packed full of a spicy, zingy flavour with that hint of a chargrilled taste. They were delicious, potentially more so than the ribs, it’s a tough call though!
West Indian steamed snapper with steamed rice and fresh pineapple and coriander chow.
If you’re a fish lover you have to try this dish! It was cooked to perfection, gently spiced and packed full of flavour. The fish was light and moist, the zingy-ness of the pineapple chow perfectly complemented the spices. The rice was a light and fluffy welcome addition to the plate too. The fish just fell apart and melted in your mouth. It was heavenly! I’m desperate to get my hands on the recipe to the chow, as it was just so refreshing. It would make a lovely summer side salad.
Bajan Beef Cheeks
This was a perfectly spiced one pot wonder that Hamish is desperate to recreate! The beef cheeks fell apart and melted in your mouth. It was well-balanced and delicious, the kind of dish that you would order again and again.
The rum boards!
The rum boards showcase what Turtle Bay is all about! Essentially it’s a board with four rums and a mixer of your choice. You can choose a selection of rums from the good, better and best menu’s. We opted for El dorado 12-year-old, Mezan Barrique, Angostura 1919 and the Appleton Rare 12-year old. It’s such a good way of trying out a variety of new rums. As rum lovers we were definitely pleased to see this on the menu.
The rum boards are a great alternative to dessert or the perfect way to start your night out. It’s definitely a conversation starter and something fun to do. If you’re not a drinker Turtle Bay offer a range of Caribbean soft drinks too. You have to try Ting, it’s basically the best thing since sliced bread!
Spiced rum chocolate pot with coconut ice cream
If it has chocolate in it, I’m all over it! This did not disappoint. It was delicious, even though there was way to much of it.
Rum and raisin bread pudding with vanilla ice cream
Hamish opted for this delicious dis. (It’s not gluten free, so I didn’t try it.) The cake was moist and tasty. He said it as a good twist on the classic bread and butter pudding. A Caribbean twist on a classic dish is something that Turtle Bay excel at.
We were both stuffed and rather happy after our meal. The energy inside Turtle Bay was incredible, you ended up feeding off of it, so we left on such a high too. We were gutted that we went on a Wednesday evening and not a Friday night because it would be a fantastic place to start a night out.
Overall, the new gluten free menu at Turtle Bay was impressive. They had a huge range of gluten free options as well as loads for vegetarians and a selection for vegans. We couldn’t fault the service either. Everyone was so friendly, welcoming and helpful. The food came quickly and it tasted amazing. I just loved the chilled out sociable vibe in there. It’s the perfect place to come for a relaxed date night or with a group of your friends for a catch up too. It’s almost like you’re actually in the Caribbean, if you visited on a hot summers day with a little bit of imagination you could perhaps mistake it for the Caribbean too!
Have you tried the new gluten free menu at Turtle Bay?
Find out more about Turtle Bay and book yourselves in for a treat here.