|Ambiance:||(4 / 5)|
|Service:||(4.5 / 5)|
|Value for money:||(4 / 5)|
|Toilet:||(4 / 5)|
I’d been recommended Turtle Bay a few times before and Sam has always wanted to take me, but we’d been unable to get a table due to it always being fully packed. Known for its cocktails and Carribean food, its developed a great reputation throughout Southampton. And, after weeks of attempted bookings, we got lucky on Saturday night.
Situated by the Guild Hall Square, it benefits from a brilliant location; close to West Quay and the student areas. It also looks pretty impressive from the outside; with its glass fronted walls and canopied outside seating area, it omits a great first impression. We arrived dead on our 6.45 booking time, and sure enough, the place was impressively busy. Cocktails are also 241 between 4 and 7pm, (and after 10), which you’re able to drink at the bar. We made the most of the few minutes left of cocktail time and after a lot of umming and erring and asking our very patient waiter, for every recommendation (and then ignoring it) under the sun, we ordered our original selections of Marley Mojito (Mojito with homemade ginger beer) and a Raspberry Reggae (gin, raspberry and soda).
The drinks arrived long before we were even near making a decision on food. The menu was brilliant; presented on an A3 piece of parchment paper, it was divided up into nibbles/tapas dishes, smaller dishes/lunch, one pot, grills and larger dishes. We settled on a lamb pattie and deep fried chilli squid from the tapas section and trini fish and Mountain Goat curries from the one pot meals.
A guy next to us was served a humongous chicken, which looked incredible but Sam and I agreed before coming that we couldn’t order ribs or chicken. We weren’t going to Nandos after all! It was tempting though… who would turn down a whole Jerk chicken, with trimmings for £15?! Vegetarians, maybe…
Anyway, we enjoyed our cocktails – me, much more so than Sam as I seemed to have knocked back the majority of my two drinks before he’d even got started on his first. Oops. Soon enough, our starters came and were presented really nicely. The chilli squid, although pretty small, was really tasty and came with a decent amount of sauce, and perfect chilli kick. The pattie, although full of flavour, resembled more of a Cornish Pasty and could have benefitted from a sauce, as we both agreed it was pretty dry.
Our one pot dishes, complete with rice and flat bread (despite being miniscule portions) was served to us with the lid being taken off at the table. I was slightly nervous about the goat as a) I’d never tried it before and b) I’ve heard it can be very dry if cooked wrongly. However, I needn’t have worried as it was delicious. The goat melted in your mouth and had such good flavour. I could have had a whole portion to myself. The trini fish wasn’t quite so good; it didn’t have enough sauce, meaning I was left with a lot of plain rice at the end and the calamari rings were slightly chewy. However, at least I didn’t leave feeling too full – see, there’s always silver linings! Also, these are the benefits of sharing – the odds of getting something good are so much higher!
One pots cleared, we were soon asked if we’d like pudding menus. We turned this down and were immediately greeted with our bill. We’d barely looked at the price before our waiter was back with the card machine. We understand Turtle Bay is busy and tables can only be kept for so long, however, the rate at which we were rushed out of the door upon our cutlery touching the plates, was a little unnecessary. Despite this, 4 cocktails and 2 courses each only cost £41 and we had such a lovely evening, that we’d both definitely recommend, and go back. We’d just book the table for longer next time, and get there slightly earlier, to enable us t get in more of those yummy cocktails!
Recommendation (4 / 5)
I’d recommend Turtle Bay for any occasion. A brilliant date venue, or perfect for a family meal out… it’d suit any occasion. Just make sure you book for enough in advance!