Last weekend I met up with the girls from biology to catch up over some yummy food and cocktails. We get together every month or so for a foodie outing in Birmingham, and this time we decided to try out Turtle Bay (next month is Coast to Coast!).
When we arrived, I couldn’t believe how busy it was for a Sunday evening and the restaurant was pretty much full. This only added to the fantastic atmosphere and fun vibes at Turtle Bay! It’s so lively and there’s a real sense of everyone relaxing and enjoying themselves. I loved all the bright, beach hut inspired decor that filled the room, along with the great selection of chilled music and the wonderful smells coming from the kitchen.
The biggest selling point of Turtle Bay for me is their cocktail happy hour – everyday before 7pm and after 10pm you can get 241 on cocktails! This has to be the longest happy hour I’ve heard going, and as a self-confessed cocktail lover it’s music to my ears! We arrived a little early so that we could make the most of this cracking offer and order a few cocktails to enjoy between us.
I started with the Rum Runner – Frozen Blend of Dark Rum, Blackberry and Banana Liqueurs, Lemon, Grenadine and Pineapple. Although the presentation wasn’t the best and it took a while for the frozen drink to melt, the actual cocktail itself was really fruity and refreshing, and overall it was a great cocktail.
My second, and favourite, cocktail of the night was the Passion Rum Punch – Dark Rum, Passoa, Fresh Passion Fruit, Orange Juice and Lemon. It was bursting with passion fruit flavour, and had a nice kick from the rum too whilst still being well balanced. They’d executed it really well, and it was a fantastic cocktail that I’ll definitely be ordering again.
Savannah and Becky also tried the Raspberry Reggae – White Rum, Raspberries, Fresh Lime and Club Soda – which they said was nice, but it didn’t have enough raspberry flavour and needed to be sweeter.
We decided to share two starters between the three of us to begin with, and it took us a while to decide between all the tasty sounding dishes on offer. I was really excited for the Duck Rolls – Slow Roasted Shredded Duck, Onion, Tamarind, Soy Sauce, Chilli and Sugarcane, with a Sour Orange Chutney – however when we got round to trying them I was a little disappointed. Although the chutney was nice, the actual duck roll wasn’t as we expected and I found the flavour combination just didn’t really work for me.
Our second starter was the Jamaican Fried Bait – Lightly Spiced and Crisp Whitebait with Fresh Lime & Coriander Mayo; this isn’t the sort of starter I’d normally opt for, but I’m so glad we ordered it as it was really tasty! The fried bait was crispy and had a flavoursome spiced coating which gave it a nice heat. Whilst the coriander mayo cooled some of the spiciness, and the lime complimented and lifted all of the flavours.
After another short wait, our mains arrived and I couldn’t wait to take the lid off my Curry Squash – Butternut Squash, Coconut Milk, Spices, Green Seasoning and Sweet Onion Chutney with Rice ‘n’ Peas and Flatbread. My curry was really delicious, packed full of flavour and with just the right amount of spice. The butternut squash was cooked perfectly and there was plenty of it too, whilst the sauce to rice ratio was spot on. It was a really great dish that I’d definitely order again as it was just so tasty. However the flatbread was a bit dry and bland, and it would have been nice if it had been served warm or had been flavoured with something.
The girls also really enjoyed their mains of Jerk Chicken and the Street Burger (which came complete with spicy pulled jerk pork on top too!). We all thought that the food was great portion sizes and although it was spicy, it was a manageable heat that didn’t blow your head off. But if you are a spice-lover then there are a range of hot sauces available on the table to add to your dish!
They gave us a big break for our food to go down so we could just relax and enjoy the atmosphere. And we soon found ourselves being intrigued to see what was on the dessert menu.. So despite already being pretty full, we just couldn’t resist ordering something as the rest of food had been so good that we knew we’d be in for a treat with the desserts too. Whilst Savannah had the Banana Fritters with Vanilla Ice Cream, me and Becky both got the Banana and Toffee Cheesecake with Rum Caramel Sauce. It was absolutely heavenly! So incredibly creamy and moreish, but without being too sweet. The delicious rum caramel sauce (which I could happily eat from the bottle all day long) just completed the dish for me too. I’m a tough critic when it comes to cheesecakes and have eaten so many bad ones in restaurants, but this was easily one of the best I’ve had whilst eating out.
Although the food and drinks all came out quickly, the service for taking our orders was really slow and we often struggled to get someone’s attention; I think we sat there for a good 20 minutes before they’d even asked what drinks we wanted. However, all of the staff we came into contact with were really friendly and chatty. They also didn’t bug us all night to order more drinks, and instead left us to take our time and enjoy the Turtle Bay experience. We felt so relaxed and comfortable here that three hours later we were still chatting away over our first round of cocktails.
I’ll definitely be coming back to Turtle Bay very soon! I think it’d be great for just a night of cocktails thanks to their cracking 241 deal and lively atmosphere, making it the perfect spot to start the night at or to stay at for the whole evening. But it’s also on my radar now as a great dining destination in Birmingham with it’s winning combination of delicious food, fantastic cocktails and fun, easy atmosphere. I thought it was great value for money too as we only paid £25 each for 3 courses and 2 cocktails! However if was to change anything, I’d say the service needs to be a bit faster and they need to keep their eyes peeled for customers who want to order more food or drinks.
Disclosure: I paid for my own meal and drinks, and all opinions expressed are honest and my own