We were invited to press launch which included complimentary food and drinks but all views are my own
I’ve always been a fan of Durham, but even though it’s only 10 minutes away on the train, it’s not somewhere I get to all that often. It’s always nice to have a change of scenery though, and on a cold Thursday night a few weeks ago me and Steph went down to the launch of the new Turtle Bay.
Not sure about you, but every time go to Durham there always seems to be some building work going on, like the city is never really finished? Anyway, that aside the new Turtle Bay is based on Durham’s Riverwalk, which is definitely something that’s sprung up since my last visit. And I’m feeling it. The Riverwalk is a new precinct along the River Wear, which although only half full at the moment, will soon be a hub of bars and restaurants. What was nice to see was that it’s not all chain restaurants either, there were a few little independent pubs there too.
Anyway, back to business. If you’re familiar with the Turtle Bay brand, you’ll know what to expect. And the Newcastle branch is somewhere I’ve frequented in the past; for their great happy hour cocktail deals if nothing else. For anybody who isn’t familiar though, Turtle Bay is a Caribbean themed restaurant who place authenticity over and above anything else. And the second you step into the restaurant, it’s an onslaught of music, colour and spicy smelling food, so they’ve definitely nailed the vibe.
We were treated to an array of cocktails and a sharing platter which included a sample of some of their most popular dishes. The highlights of which for me were the Garlic Pit Prawns (they were full shell on bad boys) the Crispy Chilli Squid (there’s a seafood theme here isn’t there?) and goat curry (a Caribbean classic!). Goat puts a lot of people off by concept alone, and it’s apparently notoriously hard to cook, however if you like lamb you’ll like goat, and I’m pleased to say the chefs at Turtle Bay Durham nailed it. It was extremely flavourful and tender. I mean, hoy anything in a curry and I’ll probably like it but this was definitely a cut above your average curry any day of the week!
For pudding we had Banana Toffee Cheesecake and Chocolate Brownie. The Cheesecake wasn’t for me, not being a fan of anything banana unless it’s in foam form, but the Brownie was indeed delicious. And there are vegetarian and vegan options on the full menu so most if not all tastes should be catered for.
Drinks wise, the highlight for me was the Grapefruit Fizz; aperol, passion fruit, grapefruit and prosecco. I know Aperol isn’t for everyone (I’m a big fan) but the passion fruit and grapefruit really softened the sharpness of the Aperol. It slipped down very nicely that’s for sure. For research purposes we also tried a glass of the house white wine which was a really smooth pinot grigio, which, I’ll be honest at £7.80 for a large glass is a little on the steep side price wise, I guess it’s competitive for the area. It is Durham after all.
The biggest shout out for the night though has to go to the staff. Our server Sophie was an absolute hoot, nothing was too much trouble for her, she made sure we were constantly fed and watered and kept the party atmosphere alive throughout the night.
Listen, is Turtle Bay somewhere I would take my mum and dad for a quiet catch up meal on a Sunday afternoon? Probably not, but is it somewhere I’d go with Dave for a day drinking session or the girls for Friday night cocktails? Absolutely. And I think with the festive season fast approaching it would also be the ideal venue for a work night out.