One of the best aspects of writing about food is that I often get to meet amazing chefs who are so enthusiastic about what they do that it is simply inspirational. Turtle Bay is a Caribbean restaurant group which has recently opened a new location in Liverpool, I was fortunate enough to be invited along to a preview event last week, with some lovely fellow writers and later in the week I also attended the launch party.
It was cold and grey outside but as soon as I walked in to Turtle Bay I was transported to the sunshine of the Caribbean. The vibrant colours of the interior design create an immediate sense of warmth and happiness and the restaurant makes you feel as though you are on an outdoor terrace. The bar dominates the centre of the room, flanked by tables and booths and an open kitchen at the other side gives a glimpse of where the magical Caribbean dishes are made.
We were lucky enough to be given a masterclass by Chef Colin Scott who is Development and Training Chef for the Turtle Bay group. His knowledge is incredible and he gave us a fascinating insight in to Caribbean culture and food. We took our seats in a cosy booth and Colin poured us delicious Rum Punch, a neon pink cocktail which transported my mind to a white sand beach! We were talked through the menu and we found out that ‘Cutters’ are the Caribbean way of starting a meal, which we would refer to as starters. There are lots of mouth-watering dishes on the menu at Turtle Bay from jerk pit barbecue dishes to one pots and salads.
We were lucky enough to sample two dishes during the evening, the first of which was Curry Goat. There are many one pot dishes on the menu at Turtle Bay and Chef Colin gave us an insight about the importance of goat in Caribbean culture, before he vanished to the kitchen and tantalising aromas filled the air. After a while, Colin reappeared wielding a large pot and we gasped as he lifted the lid to reveal the fragrant curry, topped with coconut shavings. The dish was a work of art, with chunks of vegetables and a rich, deep colour.
A simple side of rice and peas accompanied the curry, which is a traditional dish in the Caribbean. The curry was ladled out and we were thrilled by the explosion of flavours and the hearty chunks of meat, the spice level was surprisingly subtle at first, then it built to a much spicier crescendo after you had taken a few mouthfuls! It was so satisfying and full of flavour whilst the coconut rounded off the dish with a delightful sweetness.
We headed over to the open kitchen next to watch Chef Colin prepare some Jerk chicken for us, which is marinated prior to cooking and glazed several times during cooking to add an extra depth of flavour. The jerk sauce contains a blend of spices and molasses and we tasted the delicious marinade which was sensational even on its own. Liquid smoke is also used during the cooking process to add further depth to the taste.
The chicken is cooked on a special Japanese Robata grill, which uses volcanic stone and radiates a fierce heat, it was quite the spectacle to see the flames and smoke rising up as Colin expertly tended to the grill. It was ready in no time and we headed back to the booth where we feasted on the chicken which was served on a board topped with a tangy sour orange chutney which added a sweet and sharp element to the tender meat.
What a feast, the food was divine and we had so much fun during the evening, it was a privilege to hear Chef Colin talk about menu development at Turtle Bay and to witness him at work!
What do you all think, have you eaten at Turtle Bay and would you like to try any of these dishes? As always I cannot wait to hear your thoughts and thank you so much for reading this post!
6A Victoria Street
Until next time,