Opening on the 11th December Turtle Bay is the newest member to the Cardiff food scene. With 25 restaurants already in the UK, it’s aim is to bring a style of food which is missing from the high street; Caribbean. Turtle Bay can be found on St Mary’s street at the castle end. I was very lucky to be invited to a blogger event so I could experience the food, cocktails and vibe of the restaurant. Walking into the restaurant is an experience, the chilled vibe and beach hut furnishings takes you out of the rain and onto the beach. The restaurant layout is very spacious with different types of chairs and tables that can seat sizes of different groups. The décor is eye catching, with the different metals and wood materials it really is like a Caribbean beach shack.
The event started with cocktails. Turtle Bay’s cocktail range is wide, from classics to new inventions. I was recommended the Tobago Tea; a twist on the traditional Island ice tea. The drink was really fruity with fresh lemon and mango however the drink was not overpoweringly sweet; it had the subtle taste of rum not too powerful. We were also provided with jugs of Caribbean Pimms and reggae rum punch. The pimms again was really refreshing, the hint of ginger made the drink. The reggae rum punch had a great kick but again was fruity rather than sugary.As a group of 20 we discussed the two main dishes of goat curry and jerk chicken. These are famous Caribbean dishes, so these will properly be popular choices on the menu. The much discussed goat curry seems unusual to the British high street. Turtle bay has two dishes that include goat, the curry and a goat burger. With a large combination of spices and vegetables the goat curry is laboured over for hours to present a tender meat covering in a spicy sauce. The meat used is from the shoulder and leg of the goat. Spices included are turmeric, ginger, all spice, spring onions and some secrets. The main spice in the meals we were served that evening was the scotch bonnet chilli. As a rating of number 9 on the Scoville scale this chilli was a daunting factor of the dish. If you have tender taste buds I wouldn’t recommend Turtle Bay (however you would be missing out so be a hero and have a try). The Goat curry was served with rice and beans (also including the bonnet). The rice itself was scrummy and had a nice little sprinkle of heat. The goat curry was the winner. The hours of labour provided a brilliant dish. It also (for me) was not to hot. The meat was tender and the sauce was flavoursome, with a little tickle at the end from the scotch bonnet. Please do not be put off by the fact it could be Billy the goat because this dish with the rice and beans is one for everyone to try. Trust me you will love it!
Our next dish was Jerk chicken. Again after a long preparation process of marinating and smoking the result is fabulous. Turtle Bay uses a robata grill so that the chicken is tickled by the flames. We were shown the cooking technique of turn baste turn, this is to caramelise the chicken and add the spices continuously. The result again was delicious. The smell from the kitchen was enough to make you tummy dance. The chicken fell off the bone. It was so moist and tender. All the flavours and cooking techniques provided you with a smokey and spicy tasting chicken. I loved it! A Nandos will now never be the same again after trying this chicken (not an overreaction).
Finally we were served a lovely slice of rum cake, which was particularly potent, but sweet and filling.
Overall Turtle Bay will definitely hot up the food scene in Cardiff. The food is full of flavour and cooked beautifully. With the added cocktails I think a lot of people will be coming back for more. The prices are also very reasonable and there seems to be a 2 for 1 night regularly. Please all go and try this restaurant out, it opens 11th December.
( Thank you Buzz magazine for the invite and Turtle Bay for the event)