Food Review: Turtle Bay

The Place
With now in excess of 40 venues dotted around the UK, it was surely only a matter of time before Caribbean-themed restaurant Turtle Bay set up shop in the ever-expanding Sheffield city centre, taking residence in a newly-built unit as part of the redevelopment of the old NUM headquarters next to Barker’s Pool.

Inside is exactly what you would want and expect from any Caribbean restaurant worth its saltfish – an array of bright colours, lively vibes and chilled reggae sounds playing through the speakers. Stepping inside at around 6pm on a Thursday evening, there was a good mix of post-work drinkers propping up the beach hut-style bar towards the left-hand side of the room and evening diners seated on the right by an open kitchen from which some tempting spicy scents were emanating.

The Food
After being welcomed warmly and shown to our seats it was time to kick things off with a cocktail from the fairly extensive drinks list. With rum negronis eventually in hand, my dining partner Tom and I turned our attentions to the menu, eventually deciding to order four starter dishes (or ‘cutters’) to share amongst ourselves.

Feeling pretty ravenous, we opted for a rich, meaty selection of food to begin with, all of which arrived in good time just as we getting onto our second cocktail of the evening. The traditional Caribbean beef patties, which thankfully were big enough to halve, could’ve done with a tad more spice but there was enough ground beef packed inside to save it. The garlic and chilli pit-grilled prawns were also gratifyingly hefty and handily came with a roti flatbread perfect for mopping up. The final two dishes were the duck rolls, which had some tasty sour orange chutney to counteract the spicy chilli, and the moreish crispy whitebait under a light crusting of panko covered in Turtle Bay’s trademark jerk mayo.

Appetites sharpened, it was time for the mains. My eyes were drawn straight to the jerk pit BBQ section and settled upon the jerk lamb rump steak, medium-rare, served with coconut rice ‘n’ peas, pork rind, pineapple chow and green seasoning. Tom went for the two-way chicken burger with spiced fries and Caribbean slaw to accompany.

The steak was full of flavour and cooked to perfection, again absolutely no skimping on portion size, with the bit of heat coming from the green seasoning and classic jerk glaze offset nicely against the fresh fruitiness of the chow. Tom’s burger was filled generously with spicy panko crumb chicken fillet and pulled jerk chicken, topped with crisp gem lettuce, pineapple chow and herb mayo. Zero complaints from his end.

We were stuffed, but you can always find some room for dessert if you try hard enough, so we ordered a dark chocolate brownie and banana and toffee cheesecake wondering if it was against our best judgement. But despite our food stamina levels flagging, both desserts provided an indulgent, rich end to proceedings and necessitated a coffee before we could drag ourselves out of our seats.

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The Verdict
Sheffield might have arrived a few years late on the Turtle Bay hype, but there’s now another solid option on the table for some fun, casual dining with prices that won’t break the bank.

Unit 2 NUM Building, 18 Holly St, Sheffied, S1 2GT
phone: 0114 312 2730 // turtlebay.co.uk

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