Having let the Caribbean restaurant settle in to its High St location, Colchester Life went back to see if it's living up to the earlier promise our Phoebe experienced on its preview night.
I must admit, I wasn't expecting to be over-enamored with Turtle Bay, for a number of reasons. I'm not big on very spicy food (I know, right?), I generally don't like chain restaurants and I was expecting to be overcharged for average food. Well, aswell as my dinner, I must eat some humble pie. I LOVED it!
A warm welcome was given the moment we walked in the door, despite the place being really quite busy. There are lovely comfy booths at the front, some counters perfect for groups in the middle, and more traditional seating at the back, just in front of the kitchen area. We were seated quickly and had menus straight away. We also had water offered for the table, which is always a big plus in my book.
Service was quick and friendly, but without that overly familiarity that can be, let's face it, annoying. For starters we chose sweetcorn fritters and garlic and chilli prawns. Both were delicious: The prawns served in their shell, plump and smothered in a finger-licking dressing (and yes, they really were this pretty!). We accompanied that with a pint of Red Stripe beer, and a gorgeously floral, refreshing elderflower cooler.
Mains were an easy choice. Ever since tasting goat curry cooked by the Jamaican mother of a friend, I have hankered after the taste. It didn't disappoint. Unctuous, with gorgeous cocnut rice and sweet plaintain. My consort chose the jerk steak and enjoyed it immensely. Not perhaps the best cut of meat he's ever had, but extremely tasty, and cooked exactly as he had asked. We also had a green salad side, which while tiny, (really, our only bugbear) was very flavoursome, with chickpeas and pomegranate adding some crunch.
We didn't think we had room for dessert, but eyes bigger than belly prevailed (shocker!) and consort had a comforting boozy bread and butter pudding, while I opted for a much-lighter-than-it-sounds banana and toffee cheesecake. Heaven.
When the bill came I was pleasantly surprised. A three course meal for two, with a side and drinks for £60... can you complain? We certainly didn't. And, I can't quite believe I'm saying this, but we'll definitely be back, and next time with Bean in tow - a good excuse to sample the Little Turtles menu, which is certainly a welcome departure from the usual chicken nuggets and chips options!
And if you eat with a child at Turtle Bay this week, until Sunday, Feb 18th, you will receive a free adult drink. (I recommend the elderflower!)
Even if you don't 'do' spicy, do give Turtle Bay a try - it's a great example of how good chains can be when they try!