I visited Turtle Bay back in November last year to find out about their Southampton restaurant, the Caribbean style food and concept that they offer and also attended a cocktail masterclass to learn about the many different rums they use in their extensive range of cocktails. I was recently invited back to try Turtle Bay’s new menu.
Turtle Bay’s New Menu
The items they have added as new starters are Okra, a Just Jerk Platter and a Vittal Veggie Platter, both for sharing, and a new Super Vital Green Salad. Three new burgers – a Two Way Chicken Burger, a Jammin Lamb Burger and a Mushroom and Goat’s Cheese Burger – have been added as well. For those who like a lighter bite, they have added a new Spiced Chickpea Ital Wrap. Two new one pot dishes – a Spinach, Aubergine and Sweet Potato Curry and a Bajan Beef Cheeks. Three items have been added to their classic Jerk Pit BBQ – Baby Back Pork Ribs, a Slow Braised Beef Rib and a Jerk Sirloin Steak. To finish for pudding there is the new Passion Pie. Phew…! That’s a pretty good overhaul!
For a starter I was tempted by the okra. Okra, also known as Ladies Fingers, is a very popular vegetable in Creole cooking, but can be a bit tricky to cook, as it can go a bit slimy. Turtle Bay coat theirs in spiced panko breadcrumbs and deep fry them. They were wonderfully crisp and served with a mango mole and a fresh lime and coriander mayo. I could imagine sitting on a Jamaican beach with a bottle of beer and snacking on these.
Garlic & Chilli Pit Prawns
Inke could not resist the Whole-Shell King Prawns, simply grilled on the jerk pit grill, generously coated with a herb and chilli garlic butter and served with a roti flatbread.
Bajan Beef Cheeks Prove Popular
I am very fond of beef cheeks and the ones they had on the menu sounded tempting. Slowly braised for six hours in Caribbean spices, okra, potato, garlic and toasted coconut. They were served with steamed rice and a roti flatbread to soak up all the sauce. I was sold… That’s what I was having. However, it turned out that a lot of other people had also been sold on the description, as after I had placed my order, our waitress returned to our table to advise that they had unfortunately sold out.. Noooo!!
Instead I opted for their Jerk Sirloin Steak ordered rare, and that’s exactly how it came. The amount of times you order steak from certain chain restaurants that arrive at your table cooked further than you wanted. (Probably because they were sitting on the pass for too long.) Good job guys! Beautifully charred on the outside, coated in the tangy jerk seasoning, it cut beautifully and was extremely tender. I’m almost glad they did run out of the beef cheeks as I would have missed out on a wonderful steak.
Slow Braised Beef Rib
Inke went for the beef rib which had been marinated and then slowly cooked. They were finished off on the jerk pit grill, accompanied by sweet onion chutney and green seasoning. Served with sweet potato fries, fresh watermelon, a lime and coriander chow salad and a coconut jerk glaze to finish the dish.
Cocktails & Wine
Inke’s choice of cocktail to wash this all down was a Goombay Smash. Cockspur and Koko Kanu rums are mixed with apricot liqueur, bitters, orange and pineapple juice. I choose a Roots Culture. Uncle Wray overproof rum mixed with strawberry liqueur, raspberry, lime and lemonade. As we had spiced beef in some form or another, we decided to try a bottle of their Bodegas Etchart Privado Malbec 2015 from Salta in Argentina. An inky, medium bodied red, it was smooth, but not as strong as some other Malbec’s (probably to do with it’s vintage), so did not compete but complimented the food nicely.
I like the fact Turtle Bay have decided to add new items to their menu and that it was not just one or two. It gives people a good excuse to revisit, especially if they like what the restaurant offers in the first place. I now have a fantastic excuse to return again, to try those Bajan beef cheeks!
Turtle Bay, 1 Guildhall Square, Southampton SO14 7FP
We dined as guests of Turtle Bay, but all editorial content is my own.