Turtle Bay is a newish Caribbean bar and restaurant on trendy John Bright Street in Birmingham City Centre (near New Street Station). It sits opposite Cherry Reds and next to craft beer pub Brew Dog, a ray of finery not seen in the area since time began:)
Now, Caribbean food isn’t likely to be the first type of food that a vegetarian or vegan may chose for that night out, but Turtle Bay ticks many boxes for me. It has a bar..tick. It has a lively atmosphere..tick..sometimes…it has a good menu, well on paper at least..double tick:) it has got good veggie and vegan options, and though a small chain, is actually very good:)
Turtle bay offers cocktails and good food at very reasonable prices. The trendy location is ideal for its punchy cocktails and happy atmosphere. Turtle Bay is a good time place, and in this warm weather, its terrace was heaving on a sunny Saturday night.
The bar/restaurant is full of vibrant colours. It’s a very large space and feels like a beach shack, with its corrugated iron roof structure and light shades that give it a subtle intimacy. There is urban art on the walls, ads for rums and Red Stripe lager and has a trendy vibe that holds a buzz all evening. If that is for you, you are sure in the right place:)
The first thing you notice when you walk in apart from people enjoying themselves is the island style bar that appears a hive of cocktail activity.
Turtle Bay offers an impressive list of cocktails and non alcoholic cocktails and drinks. See website for full list. The drinks are the thing, and the bar though busy appears to be spacious. The service at the bar is quick, it appears the choosing of cocktails is to be expected:) which is good because there is a lot to get through.
Priced at £6.95 they are decent value. They run a happy hour from midday to 7pm and then from 10pm to close. There is a 2-4-1 deal on too.
I chose a Marley Mojito,which is Appleton special rum, Midori, fresh mint, water melon and home made ginger beer, it was very good, with a nice punch with a good freshness through the watermelon and mint, though maybe too much ice for my liking, but a good way to begin the night all the same.
Ruth chose to try the superb (and I agree) Jamaican Red Stripe shandy and home made ginger beer. It was superb she said. She also tried the home made ginger beer that came in its own bottle which we both thought was a nice touch.
We both liked the bar and felt it would work well with bar snacks and a cocktail or just for drinks also.
We were then taken to our seats which was in a quieter elevated group of tables looking out on the restaurant.
For starters/cutters we both decided to have two vegetarian dishes. Ruth chose the sweet corn fritters and I chose the so called Trini doubles which were two roti with curried Trini chick peas, cucumber, chutney and coconut.
Both were very good, the sweet corn fritters were a good shape, well flavoured and were good with a hot sauce. My Trini doubles were well flavoured with a subtle curry flavour that was good finger food and would go well in the bar for a snack. We both thought that Turtle Bay should introduce a veggie platter to share as the portions taken in isolation were quite large. Maybe served with some flat bread. :)
For my main course I chose the Rastafari Rundown: this was a lovely dish, with butter beans. Corn cob, greens, carrots, sweet potatoes, fried dumplings, herbs, coconut, with rice N’ peas.
It was a lovely rustic dish, served in a superb bowl with lovely curry flavours. It was well cooked, the rice N’ peas were beautiful and as a whole was a brilliant choice. Though maybe the dumplings were slightly over cooked.
We also orders some sweet plaintain to share which enhanced the food no end and was lovely.
I also ordered a Jamaican Red Stripe lager with my food which commie noted the curry flavours of my main course well.
For desert we chose the Caymana Rum Cake which was so lovely I forgot to take a photo:) it was warm and golden with a mellow rum flavour, served with a caramel and vanilla ice cream, superb.
We then ordered a rum for me and a fresh mint tea for Ruth, both lovely and both to be recommended.
The service throughout our meal was excellent, it was non intrusive and friendly and offered advice on the menu and my rum:) in an upbeat way and dealt very well with the busyness of a Saturday night, to the point where you didn’t feel rushed or neglected.
Turtle Bay then ticks the boxes well. It’s a vibrant and buzzy place, a place for a celebration, and a place for two to relax. It maybe noisy at times, but it offers a unique dining experience in Birmingham. Caribbean restaurants are few and far between in Birmingham, Turtle Bay strikes the right chord and has developed something now and with the added knowledge that you will be well fed (yes veggies us too:)) in a colourful environment, on a buzzing mainly pedestrianised John Bright Street. What’s not to like? :)
John Bright Street
0121 643 1303