Star rating: ****
10th February 2015
16 High street,
London W5 5DB
Tel: 0203-0670 0700
I’ve never seen any advertising for Turtle Bay, yet the social media din surrounding this Caribbean restaurant chain was deafening. Team Tiemo just had to try it out. So we ventured out to their first London restaurant in leafy Ealing Broadway, which opened a few months ago on 26th September 2014.
What first struck me about the restaurant was just how packed and buzzing it was. For a normal Tuesday night that was hugely impressive and the attendance was more what one would expect to see on a Friday or Saturday night.
The ambiance was superb and transported you right back to the Caribbean, with its shack like decor and vibrant, lively, colour scheme. Clearly a great deal of thought and attention to detail had gone into its superb decoration.
I had the Trinidad Chicken Curry which comprised Chicken breast, fresh mango & coconut, sweet onion chutney, rice ‘n’ peas and flatbread. It was quite spicy, tasty and very enjoyable. The rice n peas was fine, not outstanding, with a lightness to it and missing the heaviness usually associated with this rice. However it nicely and simply complemented the succulent taste of the chicken. My only criticism was the relatively small portion which was made more obvious by the presentation of the meal in a giant pot. This main course was part of their ‘one pot’ menu range.
My colleague ordered the Jerk Lamb, which was grilled jerk marinated lamb steak, fresh green seasoning, Caribbean slaw & sweet potato mash. She found the lamb to be a bit chewy, but quite spicy and that it tasted more like pork than lamb. I quite liked it though (and surely that’s the main thing lol!)
Dessert was a sumptuous Caymanas Rum Cake. This was served as a warm golden mellow rum cake, rum caramel & vanilla ice cream. This rum cake was absolutely divine and rounded of the meal nicely.
The service left a lot to be desired. My arm had to be outstretched for some time to catch the waiter’s attention. One even walked right past me at one point, but soon after someone came to our table, so it may be that I had been noticed and a request was made for a waiter to come over. However, it would have been far more courteous and professional to acknowledge the customer and say that they will arrange for a waiter to come over and take our order.
This was a relatively minor gripe though as I found the food to be delicious, the atmosphere and décor superb, with lots of lovely Bob Marley and other reggae tunes playing over the stereo system to add to the overall Caribbean atmosphere they created.
Ealing is one of 14 Turtle Bay’s across England. That’s an incredible achievement in such a short space of time since their first restaurant opened a mere 5 years ago, 2010, in Milton Keynes. I have visited, but not dined in that one.
The turtles have travelled a long way in quick time and have well and truly expanded the Caribbean food market in the UK. It is already by quite some distance the largest Caribbean restaurant chain in the UK. In fact, I would have to say, notwithstanding Levi Root’s reggae reggae sauce products, the growth of the Turtle Bay brand is easily the most significant development and expansion in Caribbean food and restaurants the UK has ever seen.
The social media din about Turtle Bay is fully justified. Turtle Bay is well on its way to establishing itself in the hearts and mouths of the UK in much the same way as Nando’s, McDonalds and Burger King.
Trinidad chicken curry – £9.65
Jerk lamb – £12.50
Caymanas rum cake – £4.85 (x2)
Jamaican shandy £3.75
Apple juice – £2.35
Total – £37.95 for a two course meal with drinks
© Tiemo Talk of the Town
Website: Turtle Bay
Sunday to Wednesday: 11.30am- 23:00
Thursday to Saturday: 11:30 – 24:00
Every Day: 12.00 – 19:00 & 22:00 – Close
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