Having been to a very enjoyable preview night at Turtle Bay before it opened in June, I could name half a dozen reasons to return.
For starters there is the food, Red Stripe lager, two for one cocktails, great atmosphere, the music and the service.
In the end, it was the summer children’s menu that swung it. Kind of ironic when a big, busy, noisy restaurant and bar is usually the last place I would think of taking two under-fives.
My mistake. Ignoring the menu for a moment, the place is very accommodating to little ones, from the very pleasant service to the crayons and activity packs- and let’s face it if they play up no one will be able to hear them anyway!
We booked (it is advisable) and as we arrived 10 minutes early were shown to the bar area while our table was prepared. I feared the worst. It all looked a bit frantic and I feared getting forgotten. Happily, we weren’t and by the time we were shown to our table had purchased drinks (two cocktails for £7 and a couple of apple juices for the girls) and checked out the menu; time well spent as there is much to consider.
For the little ones it was a case of which side dish to have with the very laid back pizza - a flat bread covered liberally with melted cheese, tomato and grilled chicken (£4.50). One went with rice and peas, one with skinny fries and both were very pleased .
For me, the grilled pork back ribs (£5.10) - with the traditional jerk seasoning was a great way to start off. Certainly meaty enough for a starter and a great taste with a bit of a kick.
Donna meanwhile opened with the chili squid (£5.10), which features on an awful lot of menus these days from Italian to Japanese. A nice sized portion, of the panko coated beauties with a lime heavy mayo.
I would have been happy to try any of the mains on offer to be fair but ended up delighted with my slow cooked bajan beef cheeks (£10.80). I loved the great, soft, juicy chunks of dark meat in a terrific sauce with hints of coriander, ginger and garlic. The rice was nicely cooked but the little slivers of flat bread, which came in handy admittedly for mopping up the juice, were just that: little.
Donna is a fish lover and the salmon from the jerk pit (£12.50) was right up her street. Great spicy taste and atop a “super salad” of avocado, mango, watermelon, carrot & squash, gem lettuce, crispy chickpeas, and more,
There was room for more - the upside down rum cake (£4.95) certainly had a taste of the Caribbean with the sweet and sticky sauce, while the chocolate brownie with ice cream (£4.95) was just what the four-year-old was looking for.
Turtle Bay ticks so many boxes - it has a terrific vibe - but the food is at the heart of everything and lives up to the billing.
BRAD’S RATING: 8
Turtle Bay in St John’s Square, Peterborough city centre. Tel 01733 or go to www.turtlebay.co.uk