Can’t make it to the Caribbean for a sun-kissed break but craving some island flavour? Not to worry. Turtle Bay fills that gap serving entry-level Caribbean cuisine and laid back vibes down your local high street. Our #HDYTISquad contributor, Caroline Sande, went to Brixton to sample their offerings.
 
 
Curry goat, rice and peas, scotch bonnet, well-seasoned meat and fish are just some of the foods that come to mind when you think of Caribbean cuisine.
 
In their words, Turtle Bay Caribbean is bringing “the fun, flavour and good times” across its 43 restaurants all over the UK including London, Birmingham, Manchester and even Cardiff.
 
 

Located in the heart of Brixton

A short walk from the train station, away from the hustle and bustle of Brixton market, my taste buds were ready to be whisked away to the Caribbean.
 
Nestled between a book shop and a mutual building society, Turtle Bay can easily be overlooked from the outside. However walking in, I was taken aback by the brightly painted distressed walls, beautiful mural artwork and a beach shack bar that dominates the room dispensing rum cocktails.
 
Turtle Bay Brixton | Caribbean food in London
 
Interior at Turtle Bay Brixton | Caribbean food in London
 
Getting a table was the easy part. It was 3pm on a Saturday afternoon and we almost had the restaurant all to ourselves apart from two other diners enjoying a drink by the bar.
 
Attendance picked up about an hour later (just before happy hour started). Despite this temporary lull in clientele, the waitress was not attentive and getting her attention took a few tries before she walked over to talk us through the new menu.
 
 

Classic Caribbean dishes at Turtle Bay

The choice between jerk sauce or BBQ, sharing platter or individual starters was the debate on our table of three. Whether you like sharing or having a meal to yourself, the beauty of Turtle Bay is that there is a meal for everyone even for ‘Little Turtles’.
 
Their huge menu is divided into sections. Classic Caribbean dishes such as curry goat bursting with island flavours and unique to the region are found under the “West Indian Curry” section.
 
If you prefer to dive in and get your hands dirty, then the “Jerk It” section is where you will find baby back ribs, chicken wings and salmon. Meanwhile, a “Soul Food” section features American-inspired dishes like Mac ‘N’ Cheese.
 
 
Vegetarians will not miss out on the fun as Turtle Bay also has a selection of healthy dishes available.
 
Whetting our appetite, we kicked off with a ‘beach sharing’ platter (made up of jerk pit chicken wings, pork ribs, crispy chilli squid, bara roti, cucumber chutney and pickled vegetables). Succulent chicken wings with a bbq glaze were the star attraction of this platter followed by the crispy squid. The ribs were rather dry and the marinade had not penetrated all the way through to give it the ultimate finger licking taste.
 
   
The portion size of the platter was for one person however it served as a useful guide to help us decide on what to get for our main course.
 
Choosing to keep it “jerky” on the mains, we stuck to the whole rack of pork glazed ribs accompanied by tasty sides including sweet potato fries, grilled halloumi, sweet plantain and spiced fries.
 
It would be rude not to take advantage of their 2-for-1 cocktail offer doubles of drinks such as ‘Rude Boy’, Strawberry Daiquiri and ‘One Love’ to wash it all down. With little room to sample the desserts, it was time for us to call it a day.
 
 

Final Thoughts

Though I consider myself to be a tourist when it comes to West Indian cuisine, I found the dishes at Turtle Bay to be slightly over-manufactured. This reinforced the common feedback I have from folks who grew up eating curry goat, jerk and roti from a young age who call Turtle Bay’s version of Caribbean food inauthentic and will remind you that is “not how mama, grandma or aunty made it!”
 
Regardless, if you are simply looking for a place to chill or hang out with some mates and sample some Caribbean food and enjoy cocktails with some reggae beats, then this is the place to be.
 
In my opinion, Turtle Bay has the potential to take it up a notch and become the ‘go-to place’ for authentic (make-you-wanna-slap-your-mamma) Caribbean grub. To do that, however, some improvements are needed on their food menu.
 
Bookings can be made via their website.
Twitter: @turtlebayuk
Instagram:@turtlebayuk
 
Disclaimer: Caroline was a press guest on behalf of HDYTI. However, all thoughts and opinions remain hers.
 
 

Caroline Sande is the Founder of TravelEatSlay an apparel brand for travelling millennials. Her aim is to share travel experiences, explore global food cultures whilst expressing a fashion statement within a growing community of travellers. Through hosting group day trips around Europe, Caroline is passionate to show how accessible travel can be whilst connecting like-minded travellers.