Thursday nights: normally pretty uneventful right? It’s not quite the weekend yet, it’s a school night and the usual highlight is 7.30 when Jack Branning enters my life again for half an hour. But ohhhhhh no not this week my friend, I went to my first press preview dinner! Ahh! From the second I received the email to the moment my bum hit the seat in the new restaurant in Norwich I could not believe that people actually wanted my opinion on something and went out of their way to get it! It was a real need to pinch myself moment that I am actually a ‘real’ blogger these days and I love it, so thank you everyone who reads my posts, over the last few months I have loved my start on my writing journey!
ANYWAY, this post isn’t meant to be about me gushing about myself it’s all about the funky little place that is Turtle Bay! I had always heard good things about this particular chain of restaurants but there hasn’t been one locally before so I haven’t had the chance to check it out unfortunately. Well let me tell you, it really did not disappoint. Turtle Bay invested a LOT of money (£800k to be precise) into the newest of their establishments and you really can see where every penny went. For those of you old enough like me to remember, it is in the old ‘Cult’ building in Swan Lane, Norwich. How many hours I spent in that shop browsing Paul’s Boutique handbags and looking at Superdry hoodies I will never know! As you will see from the million pictures I have put in this post I REALLY liked the interior, it was as close to the Caribbean as you are going to get in Norfolk! From the smell when you first walk in, the music they have playing (Turtle Bay if you wanna hit me up with a mix tape I would be very appreciative) and then the lashings of rum you will absolutely certainly consume, everything says Jamaica. Their philosophy is ‘Rum Reggae Jerk’, and this really inspires everything they do at Turtle Bay.
‘Rum’ is not just rum but every single bloody beautiful cocktail they make and well, a lot of them do contain rum. Whilst at the dinner Thursday night I was lucky enough to try their signature ‘Rum Punch’ and OMG alcoholic but delicious. I was actually driving so Daniel was chief cocktail taster for the evening (he took up this role completely of his own accord, naturally) and I just had a tiny sip of all of them and I will definitely be heading to Turtle Bay for my drinks in future. That being said they did knock me up some fruity mocktails which hit the spot! From 11.30am – 7pm it’s happy hour meaning 2-4-1 cocktails and then from 10pm until close it starts again! I might be wrong but I reckon that is the best happy hour deal Norwich? We decided our favourite was something called a ‘Jammin’ which is apricot based and comes with a spoonful of apricot jam and is so tasty!
‘Reggae’ is not just for the music, but as I have already said the tunes are a’plenty there! It is more about the relaxed attitude and the Caribbean culture they embrace at Turtle Bay, encouraging you to do the same on your visit. The lovely ‘turtles’ who serve you at the bar and at your table all very much encouraged to help you relax, take your time with your visit and stay and soak up the atmosphere. The interior really helps with this too – there are fairy lights and candles everywhere and it is very atmospheric, meaning you really do want to stay for the duration and make a night of it – I can’t imagine this is the sort of place you would go just for a quick drink and leave. In actual fact it has inspired me to jazz up my garden a bit! We sat in the reclaimed and up-cycled VW camper van they have turned into the central seating area and all above us where lights criss-crossing overhead and I think I am going to do the same above my table and chairs outside.
Last but by no means least is ‘Jerk’. This is definitely the most important part of their philosophy as it is all about the food! Where do I even start, it’s like I have so much in my head to write about the food I can’t actually articulate it into words! Chicken. Spice. Goat. Fresh. Filling. Delicious… You getting the idea? I had a good old look at the menu and there is something for everyone, you don’t HAVE to like hot and spicy food, although in my opinion the best stuff has a kick! We enjoyed a mix of goat curry, rice and beans, Jamaican dumplings, jerk chicken, sweetcorn fritters, hot wings, garlic bread and it was incredible. Everything is flavoured so beautifully and the food doesn’t taste awfully unhealthy as they use fresh ingredients and there are some light delicate flavours. For dessert we had a little platter of everything and I was so surprised! Normally if you went somewhere like this, you wouldn’t expect the desserts to be great, or is it just me? For example if you went to Nandos, you’re after the chicken not a cheesecake. So when thinking about the food I might have at this press dinner dessert didn’t really cross my mind. We had banana cheesecake which is TO DIE FOR, lemon tart, bread and butter pudding and more. It was all so god damned delicious. It was also slathered in toffee sauce, amazing.
What else did I like, besides the Rum, Reggae, Jerk? Well, the fact that the bar staff seemed really clued up on the cocktails, they just asked what sort of flavours we liked and made drinks accordingly which is great if you are a little overwhelmed by the menu. I also really liked the fact that you can see into the kitchen, something you see more and more in new restaurants I have noticed. Finally it was rather nice to see a bit of life in the beautiful building Turtle Bay chose to inhabit! It is a grade II listed building and the decor is unique to the Norwich branch, Turtle Bay make each one slightly different which is a lovely touch.
So, if you like what you have read and want to check it out for yourself you can from the 30th August onward, don’t forget happy hour! Book using the link below …
Just Hollie xox