Turtle Bay, Leeds

Turtle Bay, Leeds opened in December last year. Although I eat out in Leeds quite often, it’s never really planned and this place is always crazy busy so we hadn’t had a chance to try yet. I was invited to review the restaurant and was looking forward to trying something completely different.

The first thing to notice was the Caribbean inspired decor. Lots of lights, bright colours and wooden tables, walls of graffiti art and even tyres adorning the walls.

It was quite a spectacle, but I’m not sure if it was a bit of an overload. Either way, there is no mistaking that you’re in for a unique experience.

The first order was of course one of their famous rum cocktails. I got the rum punch, which while a little watery for me personally, was a nice blend of fruit with a rum kick.

The dishes were Caribbean inspired, with the renowned Jerk sauce on offer in every dish. For our starters we had Jerk Chicken Wings and Duck Rolls. The jerk sauce was far too hot for me (as expected), but the chicken was cooked nicely. Presentation was a little lacking, but there were a lot for a starter dish so these would be great with a drink after work. The duck rolls were good, but the side did seem a bit pointless. There was tangerine peel mixed in chutney – do you eat the tangerine peel? I did try and it was a very odd and bitter taste, obviously. It just seemed out of place.

When choosing a main, I struggled a bit as almost all of the meals had the hot jerk sauce. However, you could change for a milder alternative, the coconut jerk. I decided to go for the Pork Belly, one of my favourite dishes, while Ryan tried the goat curry.

Again, I found the presentation and sides a little odd. My pork belly was very thinly sliced, but tasted fine. However, there was a lot of sauce with pesto style stuff on top, sweet potato and coleslaw. The coleslaw with sauce seemed like an odd combination to me. I was left a bit disappointed to be honest, but the meat was good so the main part was fine.

The goat curry was like a stew really, which is no bad thing. It tasted good and even though it was the first time I’ve tried goat, I really liked it. Again, the sides were a bit strange in my opinion. So many carbs! It came with rice, potato and dumplings (which were sweet). I’m all for a carb fest, but again the combination was not what I would usually expect.

For dessert I had bread and butter pudding with ice cream, which while not an overly complicated dish was a nice end to the meal. Unfortunately, clever us decided we’d also have a go of the rum tasting and wow, some of those rums were strong! It was good fun trying different ones, but I won’t be going for that any time soon!

Overall, we had a great experience and it certainly was something different so worth a try if you fancy something new. I didn’t find the meal was quite the type I’d go for, mainly due to the use of sauce in dishes which isn’t really for me, but it was great to go to a unique restaurant.

Service was a little delayed at times, but the restaurant was busy. However, whenever we were speaking to anyone, they were great, attentive and helpful.

They do two for one cocktails during happy hour in the evenings and have a great selection so it is definitely worth a try. Being in The Light in Leeds, it’s in an easy place to take a pit stop during shopping or for an evening meal. It has a casual vibe and I think it would be perfect for a group.

Have you been to a Turtle Bay or other Caribbean restaurant? What did you think?