Sunday, 26 August 2012

Turtle Bay - Restaurant Review

Trini Fish Curry

My friends, Paul and Susie, are about to have there second child, in fact the baby due date is tomorrow (Monday 27th August). I haven't seen them for a while and so decided to visit them in Milton Keynes, an area known for it's plastic cows, actually they are concrete as I was forcibly reminded (lol hahaha) and lots of roundabouts. When I arrived we went to Mortimer Square which is an area surrounded by restaurants, most of them chains, like Café Rouge, Las Iguanas. We were trying decide where to go but as Susie was almost due it was decided not to have anything spicy, just in case. After looking around for a few minutes it was decided to go to The Turtle Bay, a Caribbean restaurant, odd choice, seeing as Caribbean is renowned for being spicy, but I wasn't one to argue as I love spicy food.

We entered the large restaurant which was surrounded by large windows and because it was sunny the restaurant had warm and bright feel. In the centre is a large style wooden shack bar which all the tables surrounded. The tables and chairs are all wooden which add to the rustic feel, but it does have a feel of a restaurant chain in the making. When I checked out there website I saw they have another restaurant in Southampton, so I was right a new chain in the making.

Salt Cod Fritters
The menu is extensive with Cutter (starters), Lunch and Lighter (lunch menu or lighter bites if you don't want a full meal. One Pots, (dishes that comes in a pot - bet you didn't see that coming). And Jerk Pit BBQ (dishes from a BBQ with Caribbean flavours). They also have a large array of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic cocktails which are on an almost continuous happy hour of 12-7pm and 10pm-close every day.

Jerk Chicken Wings
I guess they don't see themselves as a family restaurant as they don't have a child’s' menu. If you do take a young child in with you it appears that if you don't want spicy food for your child you need to order a meat dish and ask for the spicy not to be added. We ordered a duck wrap, for little Henry and asked for no spice as advised, but when it arrived it was still fairly spicy..
Sweet Potato Fries
Myself and Susie order fritters, I ordered the salt cod fritters and she ordered the sweetcorn fritter. They were not what we were expecting, they were more like savoury doughnuts rather than fritters. Also my fritters had virtually no salt cod in them and in fact I pulled them apart and only found one very small piece in each of the four fritters. The sweetcorn had more flavour but again more doughnut than fritter. Paul ordered the jerk pit chicken wings, which were very tangy and with a kick, the meat was moist and well cook and I certainly had food envy.

After a disappointing starter and a slow removal of out plates and a far wait for our main courses our mains were delivered and we were not disappointed. I ordered the Trini Fish Curry, which was salmon, prawns, mussels, squid and white fish in a gorgeous curry spiced coconut milk. The rice and peas were well cooked and complimented the curry wonderfully. Paul ordered the Blue Mountain Curried Goat was also very tasty, the meat was tender and the curry sauce full of flavour, but with one little moan of not enough sauce, but fully enjoyed. Susie ordered Jerk Chicken Roti, which was pulled jerk chicken in a flat bread wrap which was moist with a hot kick. But not over spicy so the baby did not kick in objection or even worse, decide to show his/her face :-)

Blue Mountain Goat Curry
We also had some side dishes, which I didn't mind paying extra for as the main courses were reasonably priced. We ordered fried plantain, which were well cooked with lots of sweet flavour. We also ordered Sweet Potatoes Fries, there were delicious if a little greasy, but one of the highlights for me, seeing as I didn't think sweet potato would work as a “chip”, but it's nice to be proved wrong.

Jerk Chicken Roti
Now I don't normally review drinks, but as it was a cocktail bar and as Susie couldn't drink, Paul and I decided we should try as many cocktails for her. So that she knew which cocktail tasted the best and to order once the baby was born. Well it was the only excuse we could come up with to allow us to try as many as we could. We tried the classic Long Island Ice Tea, which was the best. Jamaican Mule, okay, but the ginger beer wasn't strong enough. Elderflower Collins which was fresh with lemon juice and club soda. Mojito, which had far to much ice so at the end we were drinking cold water and we finished off which Tropical Rum Punch which was okay, but we didn't like the allspice syrup, which I thought would be nice with rum, but for us didn't work.

The staff were very friendly and polite and couldn't really fault them. But if I was to grumble, which means I will, they were a little too over enthusiastic. When we sat down, one waiter took our drinks order and then before the drinks came three other members of staff came over to take our drinks order. It was like that for the rest of the meal, but then when we wanted them there were hard to track down. I wonder if I am moaning for the sake of it, because as I said they were friendly and were very good with baby Henry.

For a small chain, I believe the Turtle Bay has a lot going for it and hopefully they will be a great success. I just hope they don't go like other chains that as they become popular they expand too quickly and they lose there charm and the food starts to really suffer. I can think of two chains that at the beginning were very good, but I wouldn't go near now as the food has really suffered. So fingers crossed for them and I would love to see one in London.

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