Turtle Bay, located in Nottingham’s Cornerhouse, offers a vast range of delicious authentic Caribbean food, alongside a wonderful drinks menu. The central location of this Turtle Bay is easily accessible, with several bus stops nearby, and despite the restaurant being nearby to a main road, there is no noise interference at all.
Upon arrival, we were promptly greeted and asked whether we would like to get a cocktail or head straight to our table. We asked to be taken to our table and were kindly directed to one of the larger tables to accommodate us as we had several bags with us. The tables are all spacious with comfortable seating and as you enter the restaurant, you are met with the amazing smell of food that is cooking in the open kitchen.
Being able to smell and see the food being cooked gives the restaurant a real authentic feel, which is furthered by the rustic yet vibrant décor, and the Caribbean inspired music which is not too loud nor overpowering, yet loud enough to create a fun, authentic atmosphere.
“I was amazed at how flavourful it was”
Within a couple of minutes of being seated, our lovely waitress came over to order our drinks. It was hard to choose from the extensive and intriguing menu, but we eventually decided on the UB40 and the Bahama Mama cocktails, both of which were 2 for 1 as part of happy hour. Turtle Bay’s 2’4’1 happy hour deal is definitely one of the best student drinks deals, being offered on all cocktails between 11:30am –7pm and from 9:30pm to close on Sundays and Thursdays, and between 11:30am – 7pm and from 10pm – close on Fridays and Saturdays.
All cocktails cost £7.25, meaning during happy hour cocktails are less than £3.70 each! The waitress also asked if we would also like a jug of water which was soon brought over to us. The UB40 was comparable to sangria, but with a Caribbean twist as the red wine base was paired with blackberry brandy, ginger beer, and white rum. The Bahama Mama tasted deliciously tropical, blending together the flavours of coconut, banana and pineapple.
Shortly after our drinks were delivered, we were asked if we would like a starter. I ordered the crispy okra, and my guest ordered the duck rolls. My okra was even more delicious than I expected, with the perfect blend of spices and just the right amount of spiciness, which was easily made spicier if you are a fan of spice, as I am, with the several sauces readily available for guests on the table. I was amazed at how flavourful it was, with the texture of the panko coating greatly complementing the silky textured okra. The duck was equally as delicious, with the moist slow roasted texture being very well paired with the sweet onion and sour orange chutney.
Our empty plates were collected very promptly after we had finished, and we were brought fresh cutlery before we got our mains. I had the chickpea and callaloo curry, a new addition to the menu, which was extremely tasty, and despite being full of so many flavours, they were balanced very well so that you could taste them all without anything being overpowering. My guest had the curry salmon, also a new addition to the menu, as she wanted to try something less traditional, and she was very impressed at how well the flavours all worked together. Despite Turtle Bay being a chain restaurant, all of the food tasted extremely fresh and authentic, prepared with great presentation in the perfect portion sizes.
After finishing our mains we were asked if we would like any dessert, and despite being very full, the amazing quality of the food so far meant we couldn’t resist at least having a look at the menu. After looking over the extensive dessert menu, we decided to share a coffee and the banana toffee cheesecake, both of which were soon brought to our table.
“I couldn’t fault anything”
The cheesecake was probably the best I have tasted, with a much lighter and fluffier texture than I am used to. Underneath the moussey top layer was a layer of delicious banana, which was very fresh, and far from the artificial banana taste that can often be found in banana desserts. The toffee sauce drizzled over the top was deliciously sweet, but not sickly. The moussey and light texture of the dessert meant it wasn’t hard to eat after two courses, but it was also a good size to share if you didn’t want a whole piece to yourself.
There was a great variety of choice on the menu, also catering to vegetarian and vegans, and offering both traditional and more experimental Caribbean foods. This is a great restaurant for students, alongside the happy hour deal, there is a loyalty scheme on the app through which you can earn points to spend on food, and there is a set menu for lunch, offering 2 courses for £13 or 3 courses for £15. Overall, service was great, it was quick, friendly and attentive, with meals being delivered very promptly but without feeling rushed. The waitress also went the extra mile by consistently checking up on us to make sure that we were enjoying our meal and seeing if there was anything else we would like. I couldn’t fault anything.
Featured image, and all images within article credited to Alana McKenna.
For more information on Turtle Bay, and their tasty new menu, see their website.