I have always wanted to know more about Caribbean food - it has all the elements of what I like in meals: spice, flavour, colour, meat, fish and an array of delicious carbs. But funnily enough I haven't actually had a chance to experience much of Caribbean flavours other than when Liam cooks it at home! So when I was invited to review Turtle Bay in Southampton, I was really excited to get a taste of the Caribbean flavours and see what cocktails were on offer.
The atmosphere in Turtle Bay (even on a Monday night which is when we went) was buzzing - the venue was full, with music that just invited you to dance! From the beginning, staff were very welcoming and friendly - even though we arrived 30 minutes early because we somehow managed to beat all the traffic coming into Southampton!
We immediately dug into the mocktails - as a designated driver, I was on my best behaviour - so we thought we'll indulge in sugar over alcohol this evening. We started off with a Watermelon Crush which tasted just like holiday feels; and Coconut & Pineapple Punch which is like a pudding version of a Pina Colada; then indulged in Passionfruit Cooler and I had the mother of all non alcoholic cocktails - Peanut Butter & Banana Smoothie. Now this was pudding in a glass - it tasted like peanuts, with sweet condensed milk and banana. YUM. This gets major YUM points.
For starters we shared Chilli Squid with mango mole, fresh lime and coriander mayo; and Hot Hot Pepper Roti which is a trini-style oven baked roti stuffed with shredded cheese, carrots, potatoes and onion - served with scotch bonnet and herb mayo which adds an extra spice to the dish.
The chilli squid was thin, crispy and soft to chew - delicious served with a zingy mayo and perfect as a starter. I had no idea what to expect when the roti came out but it was delicious - and as a person who doesn't really like (and by that I mean I hardly ever eat it) cooked carrot, this starter was delicious. The scotch bonnet mayo gave it a really nice and flavoursome kick that I was expecting - but if you like it hot then add some of Aunt May's Bajan Pepper Sauce - it's hot and tangy! And when the spice hits, make sure to have your milk or cream based cocktail near you.
We then indulged in our main courses: a Goat Burger which is combined with lamb, grilled and seasoned in jerk spices, served on a sweet bun with fresh green seasoning, sweet onion chutney and sweet plantain - accompanied by spiced fries; and Curry, Shrimp and Mango with sweet potatoes, tomato, garlic, ginger, Caribbean spices, green seasoning, sweet onion chutney and roti. I love a good Caribbean curry but I was also really intrigued by the burger - because when you find that special bun and meat combo, you know you're on to a winner. The goat meat is quite tough which is something I didn't really think about when ordering the burger - so even though it was cooked really nicely (just under being well done), it was quite tough. The taste though was delicious - it's like herby lamb, with a stronger flavour. I really like goat meat, other than the burger I've only ever had it in stews and currys! The spiced fries were yummy - I had them with mayo and Aunt May's Bajan Pepper Sauce.
Now on to the prawn and mango curry with rice 'n' peas - wow. Well that was absolutely incredible for taste and texture - there was so much flavour in the dish from the prawns which were succulent and meaty; to the sweet taste of the mango coming through; all topped off with a slight kick of spice - mix this all with rice and kidney beans and you're on to a winner! I couldn't fault the dish - it was exactly what I expected from Caribbean cuisine. Squeeze out the lime juice served with the curry for a little zest, and add in some hot sauce to make it really spicy - now you're talking! If you're not sure what to go for on the menu I highly recommend the One Pot dishes because they are so flavoursome and saucy!
All in all, I was really happy with the quality of the food; the speed of when we got our meals and also the taste - I couldn't pick out faults in the taste or ingredients of the meals. Turtle Bay most definitely encouraged me to try more Caribbean foods - which means I will no doubt be back at Turtle Bay Southampton to indulge in more tasty and spicy food.
I loved the rum, and usually I'm not a huge fan of it but this spiced rum was so sweet and pleasant it was really easy to drink straight. I actually think that a mixer would ruin it!
The chocolate pudding was something else - our waitress told us that one of her customers actually describes this dessert as 'sexy': the chocolate, the smooth ice cream and a kick of spice... Yes, a kick of spice has made this dessert one of the best I have ever eaten. There is an element of scotch bonnet in the chocolate cream which leaves a pleasant kick in the back of your throat and grows with the more dessert you eat. It was incredible! I want the recipe so I can make this at home and indulge in this heavenly combo whenever I need a pick me up.
Turtle Bay in Southampton is a fun place to spend your evening - the atmosphere, food and drinks are top-notch, and I really loved that there is such a selection of non alcoholic cocktails so you can still join in the fun without having to wake up with the dreaded hangover!
Now I have a treat for my readers - I have actually teamed up with Turtle Bay in Southampton to bring you guys an exciting competition: win a three course meal for 2 at Turtle Bay Southampton! So you can taste the Caribbean flavours - and the most amazing chocolate dessert created! Enter my competition below!