I know I say this every time I sit down to write about my experiences, but I really am a very lucky lady!
Over the past few months, I have met and started working with a fab PR company based in Liverpool called Think PR. They are now working with some of the very best hospitality / lifestyle businesses in Liverpool and I was delighted when Nathalie invited me to a private bloggers preview evening at brand new Caribbean restaurant Turtle Bay on Victoria Street in the city centre.
As an operator (originally), I have and continue to work with independent venues and restaurant groups alike, and was fascinated to learn that this fab, über-cool venue is part of a group with twenty one sites open and many more coming on line. Having seen and worked with so many, this one seriously turned my head as soon as I walked in through the door.
I was greeted by Nathalie and introduced to Chef Colin, the Executive Chef of the entire group who had travelled up from Bath just to introduce the three of us to Turtle Bay. To say we were flattered is an understatement!
My fellow bloggers arrived (Coco Cami and Stephi LaReine, gorgeous ladies) and we had a proper mooch about. We all absolutely loved it!! Turtle Bay is fun, bright, bold and completely original… there are some fab features including a bar made of vinyl and huge Caribbean style painted wall murals … the booths are pretty sexy too!
Colin poured us the most delicious rum punch cocktails and talked ‘rum’ with us to kick off our evening. He talked about how Turtle Bay came to be, and also of the history behind West Indies food and hospitality, and how the Caribbean is a melting pot of so many different cultures, all of whom have left their mark in terms of its diverse and delicious cuisine.
Chef Colin talked about the importance of the spices used in Caribbean cooking and those used in the dishes at Turtle Bay and we discussed the use of chilli (scotch bonnet in particular) and how the balance of heat and flavour is so important throughout the menu.
Time to try!! Colin disappeared off and returned half an hour or so later with a Dutch oven full of goat curry, which smelt unbelievably good! Garnished with mint and coconut, this dish looked amazing and we helped ourselves along with an accompaniment (‘provision’) of rice ‘n’ peas. As expected, it was superb. Massive bold flavours balanced perfectly with the right amount of heat. We all had seconds of course – washed down with plenty of rum punch.
Then it was over to the kitchen for the evening’s main event, jerk chicken cooked especially for us over a specially made pit, called a ‘robata’ grill. Whole chickens split in half had been marinated and pre-roasted, then onto the grill to be ‘jerked’ with 4 different levels of flavouring and seasoning… once again the smell of this food was mind blowing and Colin served us this Caribbean speciality along with a garnish of fruit chutney and sweet potato fries (which were perfectly crispy btw!)
We couldn’t finish the massive board full of delicious jerk chicken so he filled some take away containers for us to take home, along with a bottle of Aunt May’s hot Bajan pepper sauce …
A massive thank you to Nathalie for the invite, and to Chef Colin who not only travelled up from Bath just to look after us, but also travelled back down the same evening! Colin you are a super star and we can’t thank you enough for a totally fabulous experience and the most delicious food…
Turtle Bay is laid back Caribbean cool… no need to dress up, just get ready for a seriously chilled evening that will send your taste buds into orbit.
Turtle Bay Liverpool opens this weekend so make sure you pop over the water to visit… I’ll be returning very, very soon.
Turtle Bay (Liverpool)
6A Victoria Street