Tuesday 2 February 2016

Turtle Bay - Caribbean Food In The Heart Of Leeds

I think I've been quite a lucky girl growing up really.

I love the fact that my family is quite diverse and we originate from a fair few different places - it certainly made growing up brilliant, interesting and really quite fabulous.

I wouldn't have had it any other way.

One thing it ensured was that from a really young age I was introduced to a wide range of fantastic foods, many of which originated from a lot further afield than my birthplace in Yorkshire that's for sure.

My Grandad was born in Roseau in Dominica and he and my Grandma are just the best...

Going to their home at weekends had to be one of my most favourite places in the world and it was there that my love for dishes such as broths with dumplings, plantain, salt fish fritters and spicy goat curry (to name just a few) really began.

Those types of dishes have never been strangers to me (told you I'd been a lucky girl didn't I) and so, when the Husband told me that he had a fab meal arranged for us to pop along to the very new Turtle Bay in Leeds I just couldn't wait for us to get there.

I first heard of Turtle Bay through my cousin - who resides in London - as she regularly takes my Auntie there when she visits and neither of them ever had a bad word to say about the place.

Then, the Husband was lucky enough to be invited along to the Huddersfield's Turtle Bay, both for a pre-opening event and then again once it was all systems go and everything was up and running.

The praise he gave them had me so jealous to say the very least - I wanted to go and sample all of that Caribbean amazingness

And then it was (finally) my turn.

~ Yay ~

When we arrived I was immediately struck with how calm and laid back the place was.

The staff were really friendly and pleasant and I think the chilled Caribbean music really helped to set the lovely, welcoming tone.

I could have sat in there for hours it was really that nice.

Now, food wise, I wanted to try and be as healthy as I possibly could be but without missing out on the whole foodie experience
(I mean how rude would that have been!)

So for my starter I picked a Pulled Pork Salad and was actually very pleasantly surprised...

The pulled pork was amazing - slow roasted making it perfectly tender, beautifully spiced and very moreish - the salad was fresh, crisp and whilst there was a little dressing, it wasn't oily or heavy in the slightest.

I thoroughly enjoyed the dish - and I'm never usually a "lets pick a salad when we're out" kind of a person - not ever.

Now the boys, who were certainly not after any healthy options, decided to pick...

~ Jerk Chicken Wings ...
(the Hubby)

~ Garlic and Herb Flatbread
(the son)

I snaffled tiny tasters of both and really thought that they were great.

My son wasn't impressed with "the salad" on his garlic bread I must admit, but a quick dusting solved this in seconds.

The boys certainly enjoyed their options and left nothing on their plates - the Hubby did help with a few slices of the garlic bread though...

Baby Baker, who was naturally accompanying us on our family outing, decided it was her lunch time between courses and even she seemed really chilled out and relaxed in herself too - hardly surprising really with the level of calm in the atmosphere.

She fed, laughed, and then went back to sleep.

And then it was time for the main courses and mine consisted of a quarter jerk chicken served with 'slaw and rice and peas which I picked from the "lighter" menu...

It was delicious and whilst it was a smaller portion I felt really full afterwards.

I have to admit that I wasn't overly keen on the 'slaw though but I'm not a big fan of it usually anyway.

To be fair to this, it wasn't drenched in oil or mayo and really felt as though it was a nice, healthy version of the side but it just wasn't my cup of tea.

The chicken on the other hand was perfect - not dry in the slightest, lovely, tender and cooked perfectly.

All of the spices were obviously on the skin - skin that I don't eat - but when I removed it and set it aside, I found that all of the flavours had radiated through to the meat underneath and it was all beautifully spiced.

And then to be accompanied with rice 'n' peas...well...how on earth could I find fault with that.

Healthy and amazing - a winner in my book.

My son, who adores his food, received a little bit of a disbelieving look from the guy serving us when the huge one pot of curried goat was directed towards him, and I'm not surprised really...

It was huge.

The tin pot was stuffed with rice, vegetables, potatoes and a really spicy goat curry...

Don't get me wrong it was blooming lovely, just a tad hot and you would think, quite a lot quantity wise for a ten year old child.

But nope - my son snaffled almost the whole lot...plus those yummy looking accompanying dumplings too - my boy does like his grub.

Another boy of mine, the one of the slightly older variety also loves his grub - The Hubby ordered the belly pork with rice and 'slaw on the side...

Needless to say, he ate the lot.

I can honestly say we found no fault at all with the food or the service - everything was just brilliant.

I really loved the bright, laid back decor Turtle Bay offered too...

 I don't think I've ever really felt as comfortable eating out in a place before if I'm totally honest - I loved the place.

I even felt happy (well, maybe happy is slightly too strong a word) turning away the pudding menu...

~ I Must Be Healthy ~

~ I Must Be Healthy ~

~ I Must Be Healthy ~

And then, even when these two delightful plates arrived...

~ BBQ Pineapple with rum caramel sauce and ice-cream for the Hubby

~ Dark Chocolate Brownie (what else!) for the son

...and I was presented with an extra spoon and a knowing look from the waiter I totally resisted and watched both boys devour their plates of sweet-filled goodness in record time.

Clean, empty plates scream volumes about taste really don't they - there wasn't a morsel left.

I loved my first Turtle Bay experience.

I'm definitely going to be heading back as soon as possible and I really suggest you do too.

Seriously - go!

* meal provided free of charge but opinions, words & photographs are all my own

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