13 January 2020

Turtle Bay in Winchester - Vegan Menu With A Kick!


January = Veganuary in the blog and press calendar. If you're not familiar with Veganuary it is a UK nonprofit organisation that encourages people to go vegan for the month of January as a way to promote and educate about a vegan lifestyle. Since the event began in 2014 participation has more than doubled each year - and it's a hot topic all over the press every January.

I'm not a vegetarian or vegan, I do enjoy eating meat - however we have pledged to eat more fruit and veg based meals this year cutting down our intake of meat, which I think will help benefit both our bodies and the environment. The idea behind it is we will still have meat when we fancy but this meat will be sourced from our butcher, farm shops, or game hunters to help support the local businesses and ensure quality of the meat. This will also be a treat when going out for dinner! Talking about going out for dinner, we were recently invited to review the new vegan menu from Turtle Bay - so we popped into our closest Turtle Bay restaurant in Winchester.

Review of Turtle Bay in Winchester, Hampshire
Review of Turtle Bay in Winchester, Hampshire
Review of Turtle Bay in Winchester, Hampshire
Happy Hour at Turtle Bay - Vegan cocktails

Turtle Bay is one of my favourite restaurants to pop in to enjoy Caribbean food and cocktails (or mocktails!). Their menu is full of flavours and the hot sauce is just perfection. Caribbean cuisine is one I have always imagined would taste delicious as vegan because of the spices and flavours flowing through all their dishes. The vegan meals were clearly labelled so it was easy to see what to choose - and their drinks are also clearly labelled to be vegan friendly. It's amazing how many people I have come across (especially on social media) who actively preach veganism but yet drink wine... Not all wines are vegan or even vegetarian friendly. We settled in to enjoy a vegan feast fuelled by vegan cocktails and mocktails.

Vegan Sweetcorn Fritters at Turtle Bay in Winchester
Vegan Sweetcorn Fritters at Turtle Bay in Winchester
Vegan Trini Doubles at Turtle Bay
Vegan Trini Doubles at Turtle Bay
Dalry Rose Blog reviews the vegan menu at Turtle Bay in Winchester

To start we had Sweetcorn Fritters - crunchy roast sweetcorn and onion fritters, pink onions & mango mole; and Trini Doubles which are puffed up bara roti flatbreads, curried chickpeas, hot sauce, coconut & cucumber chutney. The starters came out full of colour and looked so appetising - I loved the pop of colour from the pink onions! The fritters were crunchy, filling, and packed with gentle heat - I love spice and this way perfectly seasoned. The mole which accompanied the fritters was a sweet kick to cut through the heat, mango and scotch bonnet are the perfect combination. I really enjoyed the Trini doubles too - soft roti flatreads (I love soft bread), spiced and seasoned chickpeas, and chutneys which perfectly complimented this slightly spicy dish. You could really taste the scotch bonnet coming through this starter but it wasn't overwhelmingly spicy so even if you're not great with spice, this is a dish to try.

We also hit the Happy Hour at Turtle Bay so we ordered Passion Rum Punch and Island Affair cocktails to go with our meals!

Vegan menu review at Turtle Bay in Winchester
Jerk Tofu at Turtle Bay in Winchester Hampshire
Dalry Rose Blog reviews the vegan menu at Turtle Bay in Winchester
Vegan avocado fries at Turtle Bay
Vegan Motherclucker burger at Turtle Bay
Dalry Rose Blog reviews the vegan menu at Turtle Bay in Winchester
Vegan avocado fries at Turtle Bay in Winchester
Vegan menu review at Turtle Bay in Winchester

It was then time to try our vegan main meals - we ordered plates we could share like Jerk Tofu (Organic & crusted creamy tofu, served with pick-up slaw, scallions & jerk gravy), Vegan Motherclucker (Chicken style vegan patty in Jamaican spices, smashed avocado, wild rocket, pink onions, jerk mayo & BBQ), Spiced Fries (Thin & crispy, tossed in Turtle Bay spice mix), Avocado Fries (Fresh avocado wedges, coconut milk, panko & spice mix), and Caribbean Dumplings which are fresh to order and are perfect for mopping up sauces or enjoying with jerk seasoning.

I don't usually have tofu and I struggled to make tofu flavoured and inviting in texture so I was really excited to see how Turtle Bay have prepared and served their tofu which by the way was delicious! Tofu itself doesn't have a lot of flavour so it's important to pack the plate with seasoning, spices, and textures which Turtle Bay have done fantastically. Pairing tofu with watermelon, crunchy slaw, jerk gravy and adding chilli sauce delivered a mouthful of unexpected yet perfectly combined flavours! Be warned though - this portion is deceivingly filling, especially accompanies with fries!

The superstar of the meal for me was the Vegan Motherclucker burger - the chicken style vegan patty was delicious! So soft and it honestly tasted like chicken. I absolutely loved the burger and if I'm 100% honest, next time we're in Turtle Bay I would happily choose this vegan option instead of the chicken burger. It is worth the hype and gets a big thumbs up from me!

Our sides were also delicious - avocado fries were everything and more than I expected: chunky, crunchy yet soft avocado wedges topped with panko breadcrumbs. You HAVE to try them when you visit Turtle Bay! And I'm a huge fan of the Caribbean dumplings - I will always order them because they're delicious.

Avocado fries and Caribbean dumplings at Turtle Bay in Winchester
Dalry Rose Blog reviews the vegan menu at Turtle Bay in Winchester
Cocktails at Turtle Bay in Winchester

Overall I'm really impressed with the vegan menu at Turtle Bay in Winchester - there is a variety of meals and drinks available, the menu is clearly labelled with vegan and vegetarian dishes, and the food itself is packed with flavour and spice. Seeing food like tofu which has a bad rep because not many people know how to cook it, beautifully presented and paired with unexpected accompaniments has been great - it's inspired me to get tofu and prep it for my lunches with crunchy homemade slaw, avocado, and hot sauce!

Find out more about Turtle Bay - visit their website: Turtle Bay

*The food and drink featured in this post was complimentary for review purposes from Turtle Bay. All views are my own.
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