Turtle Bay, Leeds – Restaurant Review
Turtle Bay, Leeds
by Kerryn Duckworth
As winter sets in, I need warming up with some spice in my life and heat in my belly. So what better place to go than Turtle Bay. The brainchild of a Las Iguanas co-founder; Turtle Bay currently occupies 36 sites across the UK, opening at a rate of eight per year, demonstrating just how the popularity of this chain has spread.
As a first timer, I’ve heard lots about the restaurant chain but never visited, so I’m excited to try out their new Christmas Menu inspired by the Islands traditional culture and the incoming festive time of year.
After a short wait at the door we’re welcomed in by the friendly door team and shown to our table by the window. Situated on the edge of The Light and looking straight out onto a busy Albion Street we can watch the world go by. We’re greeted at the table by our waiter for the evening, Albert, who is friendly, professional and filled with recommendations and a smile throughout.
Drinks are brought swiftly and we start the evening with the tangy Passion Rum Punch (£7.15 or 2-for-1 during happy hour). The new Christmas Menu is explained to us; a four course seasonal menu awaits us with sharers for the table to open the meal.
The Garlic and Herb Flatbread, Spicy Pork Rinds (serve it with the Jerk BBQ sauce on the table) and Trini Chickpeas are the perfect Caribbean Christmas sharers, however the chickpeas are a little difficult to eat – and I may have just lost a few under the table… sorry Turtle Bay!
The starters follow and my friend and I opt for the Sweetcorn Fritters and the Garlic and Chilli Pit Prawns. The vegan friendly fritters are crunchy but soft in the middle, similar to an onion bhaji. And the prawns, still in their full form are coated in a chilli garlic butter which soaks into the flatbread underneath and have just the right amount of Caribbean kick.
With the restaurant full of people we look around to the Thursday night table fillers – friends, couples, families and seemingly work groups. The music is lively and upbeat and the perfect place to sit at the central bar to make the most of the 2-for-1 cocktail menu available throughout the happy hour. It’s clear that this is a popular place to go.
With the restaurant and the stomachs filling up, we move onto the mains. Again from the Christmas menu we select the Half Jerk Chicken and the Guyanese Curry Duck. The chicken is served with the traditional rice and peas and a choice of jerk or coconut glaze. With a rich and smokey taste the chicken just falls off the bone. Whilst the duck, also served with rice and peas, has hints of cinnamon and a bit of a heat burst which really gives it the Christmas twang.
Without much room left we are forced to have a dessert… obviously! The Banana and Toffee Cheesecake and Dark Chocolate Brownie go down a treat. Whilst they don’t quite feel as Caribbean as the rest of the menu, they’re great finishers to the meal for those with a sweet tooth.
Turtle Bay promises a Caribbean Christmas, and it certainly delivers. Its traditional style is not lost but complimented with festive flavours. This atmosphere in the restaurant is lively and buzzy and large parties are catered for around the room with service being welcoming, professional and fun. As the Christmas party time is approaching, Turtle Bay would be the perfect place for the group meal or even just to make the most of the happy hour.
Turtle Bay Leeds, 14 The Light, The Headrow, Leeds, LS1 8TL
0113 242 6000