When you think of the Caribbean it is ultimately relaxing on a pristine beach with clear turquoise waters, beautiful green mountains and palm trees. When you ask people to think of Caribbean food, I would imagine that one of the first things a majority of people would think of is Jerk Chicken or Jerk Pork. Jerk is a style of cooking that originated in Jamaica and is made from either a dry-rub or a wet marinade, but there are plenty of other styles of Caribbean cooking and Turtle Bay celebrate the beach shacks and street hawker stalls that can be found across all the Caribbean islands, and their different styles of Caribbean cookery.
Turtle Bay – Caribbean Eating & Drinking
I, along with my girlfriend, was recently invited to Turtle Bay in Southampton to sample their Caribbean food. When we arrived it was already very busy, people were drinking cocktails and tucking into their food. Turtle Bay offers a great range of Caribbean cocktails and beers and their happy hour brings in many people for that alone; and why not. Winding down after a hard day at work, sipping a Mojito, Reggae Rum Punch or Jamaican Pale Ale is understandably quite appealing. To feel at one with the atmosphere with we decided upon a Jamaican Mule and an Espresso Martini.
Turtle Bay’s starters are all based on the beach shacks and street hawkers mentioned previously. They include Pulled Pork Salad, Sweet Corn Fritters, Jerk Glazed Ribs, Island Bait and Hot Hot Pepper Roti. I decided upon Jerk Chicken Wings and my girlfriend choose Chilli Squid.
The Jerk Chicken Wings in their Classic Jerk Glaze were fantastic, falling of the bone and coated in a great combination of spices, along with a good spike of heat from scotch bonnet peppers. They came with an amazing Sour Orange Chutney, that beautifully cut through it all, to give a bit of relief.
The Chilli Squid came in a spiced coating with a refreshing Mango Mole and dressed in a creamy Fresh Lime and Coriander Mayonnaise. A moreish dish that really worked well to whet the appetite.
There were many mains to choose from. (See full menu here Food & Drink Menu). I decided to try the West Indian Steamed Fish, a dish of Red Snapper fillets with Fresh Mango, Thyme, Herb Spiced Butter, Spring Onion, Scotch Bonnet & Fresh Citrus. The snapper was buttery and delicate. You could have this served with either a dressed salad or a slaw. I opted for the slaw and was pleased with my choice; it was crunchy and with a nice vinaigrette style dressing. You could tell it had been made to order, as it was fresh and vibrant.
For her main, my girlfriend choose Curry Goat, a dish that originated in the Indian subcontinent and has become very popular in Indo-Caribbean cuisine. It is one of Turtle Bay’s One Pot dishes. The goat is marinated in curry spice, scotch bonnet, citrus juice and ginger. Slowly cooked it becomes so tender and was served with a sweet onion chutney and Caribbean dumplings. The dumplings looked a lot like French beignet’s but were more dense.
To accompany the mains I choose a cocktail called Mash Up. Appleton Special Rum, Barbados Clove Liquer, fresh Ginger and muddled fresh Oranges and Limes.
To finish our meal, my girlfriend choose a Spiced Chocolate Pot. A simple but effective dish of a set Chocolate Cream, served with Coconut shavings and a Coconut Ice Cream.
I decided to go for a lighter option and chose the Zesty Lemon & Lime Tart. It was oven baked and served with a passion fruit sauce. Perfect… and almost palate cleansing.
I was very impressed with the quality and how flavoursome the food at Turtle Bay is. There were plenty of other dishes that I wanted to try and the staff were friendly, so always good to have an excuse to go back. If you want a relaxed evening, with a different menu and a great selection of cocktails and wines, then quite possibly Turtle Bay is the place for you.
Turtle Bay Southampton, 1 Guildhall Square, Southampton, SO14 7FP
We dined as guests of Turtle Bay. However, all editorial content is my own.