Review by Collette
We last reviewed Exeter’s Turtle Bay within days of it’s opening in Exeter Queen Street. Back then, we had a lot of positive things to say about the Caribbean restaurant and we were intrigued to see if it would still be going strong some 6 months later.. So last week we popped by to try out their brand new summer menu and see if it continued to live up to the hype.
From the minute we stepped through the doors, Turtle Bay was buzzing. We had arrived relatively early (around 5.30 on a Thursday evening) and were pleasantly surprised to find that the busy atmosphere continued throughout the evening. Clearly the restaurant must be getting something right!
To start, I ordered the Crisp Chilli Squid, which read delightfully as ‘spiced panko coated squid with mango mole, fresh lime & coriander mayo’. I really enjoy this kind of dish, and was pleased to find that the plate was filled to the brim with crisp soft squid. The starter had just the right amount of seasoning and I would definitely order it again. So far, so good.
My dining partner chose the Jerk Glazed Pit Ribs with a classic jerk glaze. This dish came with a delicious fresh watermelon, lime & green herb chow and the meat just fell off the bone!
For my main, I had one of the newest additions to the menu: The Bajan Beef Cheeks. These were six hour slowly simmered beef cheeks, marinated in Caribbean spices with okra, potato, garlic, ginger, star anaise, cinnamon, coriander & toasted coconut. This was served with steamed rice and a roti bread. I had mixed feelings about this dish, whilst the meat was tender and tasty (with just the right amount of chilli) the juices where a little too watery for me. If there had been more of a thick gravy and perhaps a sweet chutney served on the side, it would have been fabulous!
My dining partner chose the Jerk Lamb Rump Grilled & Jerk marinated lamb rump. This was served with a Caribbean slaw, sweet potato mash, green seasoning, sweet onion chutney & a pineapple glaze. When the plate arrived at the table it was clear to see that it was going to be the dish of the evening! The beautifully cooked lamb fell apart and its seasoning was just right for my friend’s taste. The slaw was also fabulous; though she could have happily done without the sweet potato mash.
Turtle Bay can definitely do Puddings. I’m not usually one for super sweet puddings, but I was keen to try their Banana & Toffee Cheesecake. This was light, and not too sweet, and full of wonderful flavours. Meanwhile my friend chose the Passion Pie. This new addition to the menu was a sweet pastry topped with zesty passion fruit curd, soft baked meringue & a fresh passionfruit sauce. Think Lemon Meringue with a tropical twist. She very much enjoyed this desert and we would both order our dishes again!
There are some fantastic new choices on the Turtle Bay menu, including some fabulous vegetarian dishes and lots of fresh Caribbean flavours. With it’s good service and laid back vibes, I can see why it is proving to be extremely popular with locals. I also noticed (to my relief) that they have turned the music down a notch since our last visit. Even though a chain restaurant will never be at the top of my list, I would definitely recommend Turtle Bay as a great place to catch up with friends and enjoy good food and excellent value cocktails.