It was cool night and pouring down with rain – but the moment we stepped into Turtle Bay, the sunshine ambience of the Caribbean enveloped us and made us feel fantastic!
This beach style restaurant in The Light captures the mood, atmosphere and its cuisine so perfectly – and I should know for as a travel writer, over the years I have visited just about every island in the sparkling waters of the Caribbean.
The bright colourful décor if Turtle Bay is so uplifting, the beat of the steel drums and reggae music and the artistic way the restaurant tables are choreographed into areas and the large windows on two sides makes this a real island delight!
Turtle Bay are renown for their cocktails and of course they have the typically tropical addition of a plethora of rums. My colleague tried a Marley Mojito with Cockspur rum, melon liqueur, water melon and ginger bear and was absolutely delighted with the taste and the fact it was not overloaded with crushed ice.
I went for the Jamaican Mule with spiced rum, fresh lime, ginger beer and bitters. This was certainly for me with its sharp taste of ginger but yet the flavour of the spiced rum came through beautifully.
Our server was an absolute dream and helped us through the menu with some great choices as I am not a fan of spicy dishes and my colleague is just the opposite.
I went for the Jamaican Patties with a roast vegetable filling. The hand crimped patties are generous in size and brought back memories of Gemma’s Kitchen on the island of Tobago.
My colleagues Sweetcorn Fritters were moderately spicy and served with onion fritters, pink onions, which really fascinated her and a parsley and mango mole. The fritters were very crispy and flavoursome. Both the starters we had were suitable for vegans as well.
Traditional Caribbean cooking had to be my colleague’s choice. Her choice of Original Jerk Chicken was a wise one. She chose a chicken breast and it came served with a jerk gravy. The chicken was very tender and the dish not overly spicy.
I chose Babybacks a whole rack of slow roast and glazed pork ribs and had the barbecue sauce rather than the spicy Jerk option . The ribs were so tender the meat just dropped off the bones and they were not messy to eat.
We shared our side plates which come in bundle ups. The Caribbean dumplings were ideal for the Jerk dish as they could be used to soak up the gravy The dumplings were crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside and very tasty.
Our portion of pickled vegetables really made my dish with carrots, onions and peppers and went down very well. But the real crème de la crème of the sides were the Avocado Fries we both could have eaten them all night. They were light and crunchy and so tasty and are a must try dish when you go to Turtle Bay.
Did we have room for puddings – yes we did. The thing about Turtle Bay is the Caribbean no rush attitude that exists there – just take your time to eat and savour each course as you relax to the great music.
My choice for pud was the grilled pineapple. It was dusted with toffee sugar and came with coconut rum caramel sauce and coconut ice cream. The toffee took away any tartness that often pineapple has and made it just a wonderful heaven on a plate.
Kickin Ice Cream is the restaurant’s speciality and my colleagues choice of Sea Salt and Burnt Caramel did not disappoint.
Leaving Turtle Bay was a big wrench but like two Cinderella’s it was approaching midnight and we had to depart and just like a Caribbean holiday we really didn’t want it to come to an end.
Turtle Bay 14 The Light, The Headrow Leeds. Tel: 0113 242 6000. Web: turtlebay.co.uk
The restaurant is open:
Mon/Tues/Wed/Sunday 10.00am-11.00pm; Thurs 10.00am-12.00am; Fri/Sat 10.00am-1.00am.