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November 2016

Visiting Nottingham’s Turtle Bay is like walking into a sunny summer’s day. There is a relaxed vibe that hits you when you walk into the door and you can almost hear the cocktails calling you.

 

We were greeted by our server, Barbara, who did an excellent job of explaining the menu and giving us her recommendations. I was with my friend Julie and my 8 year old daughter Evie, neither of whom are massive fans of spicy food. Barbara immediately suggested some dishes that were less on the fiery side for Julie and also said that we could have any sauces served separately, in case they were too hot, which seemed like an excellent plan.

With this in mind, we chose the Jerk Pit Prawns and the Jerk Chicken Wings to share as starters. The food and drinks arrived promptly and we were very pleased with our choices. The shell-on prawns, served with herb, chilli garlic butter & flatbread were, in a word, sublime. The sauce complemented the prawns perfectly and the flatbread was perfect for mopping up the residue. We chose to have the classic jerk glaze ‘on the side’ for the chicken wings, as Barbara warned us that it had a kick to it, which was a wise decision and they too, were very tasty.

Evie was provided with a children’s menu which, as well as doubling up as an activity book (as a parent, I love these in restaurants!) had plenty of options, including chicken and burgers. For her main course (costing £4.50) she chose the flatbread, topped with cheese and tomato and served with salad and a choice of fries, sweet potato mash, or rice and peas and declared it ‘absolutely delicious’.

Julie and I, again going with Barbara’s recommendations, chose the Jerk Salmon, finished with classic jerk glaze (on the side) and served with dressed salad and the Trinidad Curry Chicken – sliced chicken breast, cooked in coconut milk with mango, spices, garlic and scotch bonnet and served with a roti. We also had some Caribbean dumplings on the side, which I think are an acquired taste. The food is brought to you in slightly banged up blue and white metal dishes and bowls, which really helps to give it all a feeling of authenticity. The portions are generous and everything we tried tasted freshly prepared, with bucketloads of flavour.

Somehow, we managed to squeeze in a pudding, although choosing between rum and raisin bread pudding and Caymanas Rum Cake was tough. In the end, we went for the Rum Cake, the Banana and Toffee Cheesecake and the Dark Chocolate Brownie, accompanied by a hot chocolate and a coffee. We were glad that we decided to loosen our belts and squeeze in that final course – the Rum Cake, in particular, was something that will live in my memory for a while – moist, tasty and incredibly Moorish.

Turtle Bay has the atmosphere spot on. With music at a level that enables you to enjoy it, yet still talk to the other people on the table, well-placed lighting (no squinting to see the menu but not cold and glaring) the ambience is warm and relaxed. We did not feel as though we were being rushed by the staff and they were attentive but not annoyingly so.

Being quite traditional about my food, this is not somewhere that I would instantly think of for Sunday lunch but it is obviously very popular and for good reason.

My advice would be – don’t be put off by the spice but talk to your server and let them advise you if you like your food on the milder side. Turtle Bay in Nottingham is certainly a great place to visit if you want a laid-back meal that’s a bit different to the norm. The prices are reasonable (the Jerk Salmon was £12.50 and the desserts were £4.85). The portions are big and we certainly felt like it was good value by the time was managed to waddle to the door, back into a cold Nottingham day.

Review undertaken by Lisa, Julie and Evie.

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