Date Night: Turtle Bay


The Northernist takes The Southernist on a 'date night' to sample the delights of Turtle Bay's new autumn/winter menu. (#Gifted)

To find your nearest Turtle Bay or book a table go to; https://www.turtlebay.co.uk/ or download the Turtle Bay App for iPhone or GooglePlay.


As the days of late summer become colder and September nights paint a darker shade of autumn an ever growing challenge for couples over the winter months is how to maintain that wonderful feeling of summer love.

Ideally, we'd all love to escape to warmer climes with our loved ones, sat under palm trees whilst sipping cocktails, looking out towards a glorious white beach and deep blue sea, under the warming glow of a Caribbean sun.

But when that is not possible, which for many of us will be the case, an ideal evenings getaway from the hounds of winter is the vibrant good time surroundings of Turtle Bay.



Caribbean Spirit

As invited guests to sample Turtle Bay's NEW menu, myself and my partner - professional name The Northernist - were warmly greeted by our host for the evening who ran through the new menu.

He explained that a significant change to the menu was their range of burgers; including the Smoking Goat Burger (grilled goat burger, rocket, tomato, hot sauce - oh my!), no longer came with a standard side, providing diners the freedom to choose from the wide selection of side plates they have to offer.

But having arrived just before 7pm, attention was immediately turned to the drinks menu so that we could take advantage of the Happy Hour 2-4-1* offer on all cocktails and 'mocktails'.
With a range of 24 cocktails all priced at £7.25, plus 6 alcohol free cocktails at £4.50, there's a drink to suit everyone's taste, but having already been put into a relaxed summer vibe we went for a Raspberry Reggae [VE] (dark rum, raspberries, lime & lemonade, made with Vodka or Gin) and a UB40 [V] (blackberry brandy, white rum, raspberry, honey, ginger beer... and of course red, red wine).

Our drinks promptly arrived, with paper straws which was nice to see, and I was soon 'falling in love' with the UB40. It was a properly adult cocktail, containing a superb hit of ginger and honey from first sip to last; a 'loving cup of burning sun' if you will.

The Raspberry Reggae on the other hand was a beautifully refreshing and easy to drink cocktail, with a perfect balance of lime and raspberry giving it with a satisfying sharpness, making it a fitting aperitif.



Starters Orders

Having whet our appetite, some food was now in order, but with so many tantalising options deciding did prove difficult; it's certainly a menu that demands repeat visits in order to define a firm favourite.
But follow some agonising, we went for the Crispy Chilli Squid (Panko coated squid, mango mole, jerk mayo) and Jerk Glazed Pit Ribs (24 hour spice marinated back pork ribs, spicy jerk glaze, sour orange chutney) from the starters menu.

Once again, impeccable timely service was received and we quickly tucked into our starters.
The Squid was insanely good as well, a fabulous mix of flavours and textures, prompting thoughts of a crisp clean ocean, all of this backed up by a satisfying heat from the jerk mayo.

It was a good job they were this good too, because it would have been all to easy to be jealous of the generous portion of Glazed Ribs being enjoyed across the table. The succulent meat coming clean of the bone, the ribs were fantastic in their own right, but were given a whole new vibrancy when combined with the sweet orange chutney.




The main deal

To follow, we had chosen the Shack Stack Burger (seasoned beef burger, jerk pork belly, mature cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, jerk bbq sauce) and Aubergine Curry [VE] (sweet potato, light fragrant curry sauce, steamed rice, roti flatbread) with sides of Sweet Potato Fries [VE] and Dirty Curry Fries [VE], the later of which came highly recommended by our host.

And both mains caught the eye immediately when arriving, with the burger looking like a good burger should - tall, juicy, well constructed - something you can just pick up in your hands and devour.

But the Aubergine Curry also offered great theatre, being served in a personal casserole dish on a wooden board alongside fluffy cloud like mini flatbreads. When the lid is removed at the table, you are enveloped by a light, fresh and inviting aroma, that simply demands you to dive in.

The taste of both dishes wasn't to disappoint either, with the curry representing the perfect meal for those soon to be upon us cold winter evenings, it is a truly excellent dish that can be enjoyed regardless of whether you are a practising vegan or not.

In terms of the burger, you will have to take my partners word for it being "juicy and cooked perfectly" with her also adding "the pork belly really added an extra dimension" for it was gone before a chance arose to sample it, but the fact it was not for sharing speaks for itself!

Something that was for sharing however, was the majestic Dirty Curry Fries as recommended by our host - they were just to good to keep it a secret. A happy addition to a main meal, at £2.90 they would also work on their own as a light bite with an early cocktail - or you can get two for £5.40.




Go bananas!

If you've reached this far, you may be at the point of begging us to stop because you can't take the thought of yet more delicious food anymore. Equally, you may be thinking, they couldn't possibly eat any more after all that?

And indeed, that was very nearly the case, we did feel a little bit glutenous at this point; but if nothing else, we showed tremendous dedication to the cause - and it is a good job we did, because the very best was certainly saved to last!

Looking to indulge our inner monkey, we ordered a shared desert of Banana & Toffee Cheesecake [V] (Triple layered cheesecake with crispy biscuit base, creamy soft cheese, banana & toffee) alongside the creamy banana infused cocktail Guilty Pleasure [V] each (Baileys, banana liqueur, rum caramel sauce, vanilla) and both of these blew our minds.

So caught up in the delight of each, the act of recording detailed tasting notes was lost, replaced by four simple words - "these are pure sex!"

It's one of those situations where words, and even pictures, fail to provide any real insight as to just how amazing they were. You will just have to get yourself to a Turtle Bay and try them for yourself.

But suffice to say, it was the perfect ending to a perfect evening, leaving us with a warm, contented and happy summery feeling on our way home.




Summary Review

  • In our opinion Turtle Bay represents a perfect venue for a Date Night,
  • It's also a venue that would suit Pre / Evening Drinks or a group meal. In short, it should be high on your list of places to go on a night out.
  • At £13 for 2 courses, or £15 for 3, Turtle Bay's Set Lunch Menu represents great value.
  • Our date night was enjoyed at Middlesbrough's Turtle Bay, situated on the corner of Corporation Road.
  • However, if you're not local to Middlesbrough, Turtle Bay has 47 other locations across the country, meaning there's a good chance there is a Turtle Bay near you.
  • We would highly recommend all of the dishes featured, however;
  • The Guilty Pleasure, Banana & Toffee Cheesecake and the Shack Stack Burger are rated as MUST TRY items.
  • The service we received from all staff was excellent, but a special mention has to go to our host Dave who was warm, genuine and attentive; he was a perfect example of how service should be provided.
  • Our meal consisted of the following, with the final bill coming to a total of £66.30;
2x Raspberry Reggae Cocktails [VE] (using 2-4-1 offer*)
2x UB40 Cocktails [V] (using 2-4-1 offer*)
Jerk Glazed Pit Ribs
Crispy Chilli Squid
Shack Stack Burger
Sweet Potato Fries [VE]
Aubergine Curry [VE]
Dirty Curry Fries [VE]
Banana & Toffee Cheesecake [V]
2 x Guilty Pleasure Cocktail [V]
Key: [V] = Vegetarian dish [VE] = Vegan option
*2-4-1 cocktail offer is available between 11:30am - 7pm & from 9:30pm - Close, Sunday to Thursday / 11:30am - 7pm & from 10pm - Close, Friday to Saturday (must be the same cocktail, served at the same time)

To book a table, or find your nearest Turtle Bay go to; https://www.turtlebay.co.uk/ or download the Turtle Bay App for iPhone or GooglePlay.


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