Who needs meat? Stripping back the dishes at Turtle Bay

‘The Best Caribbean Restaurant & Bar in Britain,’ the heading reads. Know where I’m referring to? That’s right, Turtle Bay, quite possibly the only chain Caribbean restaurant to brace the British high street.

I admit to being a little late to the party here. Admittedly, I’d enjoyed many a Mojito at the usual square shaped bar before, but I had never in my life experienced the joys of Rum Reggae Jerk and coconut rice. Sacrilege I hear you shout!

It is with great pleasure then that I should take not one, but two trips to Turtle Bay to gorge on chicken and rice goodness in the last couple of months – the first being in Solihull and the second in Birmingham city centre. As soon as I walk in to a Turtle Bay I always feel at home. The colourful wall displays mixed in with some authentic music and to-die for cocktails has a way of enticing you in and making you stay for ‘just one more’ Daiquiri, but what of the food?

Upon looking at the allergen menu, I have to admit that there wasn’t tons of dishes that were both gluten and (animal) milk free. My safest bet seemed to be in the ‘One Pots,’ which consisted of a good selection of curries. I opted for the Trini Curry Chicken – a combination of Caribbean spices, coconut milk and coconut rice ‘n’ peas. Now I’m a massive fan of coconut milk and chicken, so not a lot could go wrong for me here. The sauce was deliciously creamy, the chicken tender, and the sauce had a little kick that added to the flavour.

My top choice from my last two visits however, has to be the Ital Rundown. The coconut infused curry was actually created for vegans, but the dish was so amazing I didn’t even crave any meat. The huge ‘pot’ featured corn cobbettes, carrots, sweet potatoes and butternut squash, alongside coconut rice ‘n’ peas, and boy was it tasty. I take my hat off to Turtle Bay, it’s not often that I refuse meat and lap up a big bowl of vegetables, but the Ital Rundown was one of the best dishes I’ve tasted all year. Of course, I had to scrap the roti flatbread that was supposed to come with it due to gluten infestation reasons, but I got my fill and was determined not to leave a single scoop of the delicious flavour combos on my plate.

All in all, my first couple of experiences of eating at Turtle Bay has been a good one. The bar and restaurant offers the ultimate place to go and chill, catch up with friends and enjoy the music over a nice ice-cool Mojito…or two. Who knew I loved Caribbean food?

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