Turtle Bay, a Caribbean restaurant, opened its first Essex branch in Chelmsford.
Whoever made the call to set up shop in Chelmsford is one clever person. This area is overrun with the usual pubs, Indian and Chinese restaurants, starved of something new and exciting. In sweeps Turtle Bay, and where clientele at other establishments are slowly trickling in at 6pm, this restaurant is already heaving and desperate people are queueing to get in.
Happy hour, i.e. two-for-one offers, definitely helps. An extensive array of rum is available and most cocktails are rum based. The food proved to be just as vibrant as the drinks and great emphasis is put on jerk seasoning. You can order the latter with ribs, salmon, rump and, of course, chicken. For those who like it less hot, a coconut jerk glaze is the answer. Interestingly, goat in the form of curry and burger is available.
For starters we had Sweet Corn Fritters (spring onion, coriander, scotch bonnet & sweet corn mixed together with a dash of West Indian hot sauce) and Jerk Glazed Ribs (24 hour marinated, grilled pork ribs, served with jerk glaze & sour orange chutney). The former was comforting and the latter comprised four ribs, meat falling off the bone, with a decadent apricot and raisin sauce.
A half or full Jerk Chicken can be ordered but the half version (£10.50) is a pretty decent portion already. It came with aptly named, Dirty Fries, which is sweet potato fries topped with melted cheese and BBQ sauce, and slaw. Absolutely succulent was the Grilled Lamb Steak (£12.50) which came with ubiquitous rice and peas and more slaw. What I appreciated was the generous portions of sauce that came with all the dishes, from starter to dessert. No skimping in that department!
All desserts are priced at £4.85. No Caribbean meal would be complete without some pineapple. Paired with rum caramel sauce, coconut ice-cream and shavings, it is the perfect dessert. Bread and butter pudding, given a twist of rum & raisin, is not to be missed either.
Colourful decor, upbeat music, happy vibes, plenty of cocktails and fantastic food made amounted to a great meal. Will I be back? Yeah, baby!
Turtle Bay Chelmsford
22-24 The Exchange Way
P.S. I was a guest of Turtle Bay.