Fans of fiery Caribbean food and rum cocktails will be delighted this week to see the opening of Turtle Bay’s Newcastle restaurant in the historic Co-operative Building on Newgate Street, right in the heart of the city. The successful chain started in Milton Keynes in 2010 and has since expanded to over 20 branches across the country, with another 10 to launch this year.
I was invited along to join a group of bloggers for a preview and we were given a warm and very enthusiastic welcome by the freshly trained team. I haven’t seen a group of people whooping and hollering in the workplace like that for quite a while, that’s for sure. It must be the fumes from all that amazing rum they serve, but we’ll get to that…
The interior is like stepping into a party at a beach shack with lots of reclaimed wood, twinkly lights, funky murals, a wall of speakers and the kitchen and bars set up to look like market stalls. You instantly feel like you’re on holiday and once those rum cocktails start to flow, you can just ride the wave to pure escapism.
It’s an eclectic menu that reflects the diversity of Caribbean cuisine with offerings starting with sharing boards (called Cutters) loaded with tasty morsels like sweetcorn fritters, duck rolls and jerk chicken wings. I’d also really recommend their sweet potato fries as a little extra. So good. Cutters are ideal if you just fancy a few nibbles with your friends instead of a big meal which can often kill off the party mood if you’re making a night of it.
If you’re feeling a little more sedate and are in for the evening for a sit-down meal, then you need to check out the legendary Jerk BBQ menu and the one pots. The Rastafari Run Down gets my vote with butter beans, corn cob, greens, carrots, sweet potatoes, herbs, coconut milk, rice ‘n’ peas and fried dumplings
Basically there’s a whole lot of kick to this food, so you’ll be washing it down with an ice cold pint of Red Stripe or something from the cocktail menu.
Oh my. Within seconds of coming through the door we were presented with VERY strong rum cocktails. You know when you first try a drink and think “I can’t drink this it’s far too strong”, then suddenly you’re at the bottom of it and you’re moving onto the next one… Yep that.
These guys know their rum, and at Turtle Bay it’s treated with the same reverence as gin and whisky. If you’re a bit of a connoisseur you’ll want to be chatting to the bar staff about the 40 different types of rum they have on offer.
Top tips from the drinks menu from our trip was the Reggae Rum Punch made with 126 proof Wray & Nephew rum, strawberry liquor, fresh lime, orange and pineapple and the gorgeously smooth and fruity One Love which is passion fruit liqueur, Blackwell rum, fresh passion fruit and coconut served martini style. Blissful.
If you’re starting a night on the town, then this is the place to go. Turtle Bay’s happy hour lasts from 11.30am – 7pm and then starts up again at 10pm! ALL of their cocktails are available at 2-4-1 during that time so you really want to make sure you catch it coz the rum is especially good! Newcastle is THE party town in the UK, so I think Turtle Bay is going to fit in just fine…
The restaurant is open 7 days a week from 11.30am until 11.30 pm Sunday – Wednesday, 12.30am Thursday, and 1.30am on Friday and Saturday.
More reviews of Turtle Bay Newcastle
Disclosure: I was a guest at Turtle Bay. All opinions and views are my own.