The Review: Turtle Bay Chelmsford

Back in July I received an exciting email telling me that Turtle Bay was coming to Chelmsford - for me, this was wonderful news because there is one in Leamington Spa (near where I go to Uni) and I'd only ever heard good things, especially about their cocktails! I was invited to the launch party at the beginning of August, but unfortunately I was away, however I managed to head over there last weekend to try it out and so here I am reporting back* (SPOILER: THIS IS A VERY POSITIVE REVIEW!)...
I ended up going with my 2 good friends Euan and Jordanne, and so I thought it would be a good idea for them to write their own opinions too, so keep reading for their view as well as mine!

What I Drank
We arrived at the restaurant for 6.30 meaning we still had 30 minutes of happy hour left, so of course we had to try some of the cocktails! Euan and I ended up ordering one each, then swapping (Jordanne was designated driver, so she could only have a slurp of each!)...
First of all we tried Caribbean Pimms which was amazing - the ginger beer gave the classic drink a really yummy twist. I'd highly recommend this to anyone who loves pimms and ginger beer! We also tried the Jumbled Julep, which was a wonderful mix of fruity flavours, enough alcohol to know that it's there and fresh fruit meant that it was the perfect recipe for a good cocktail! I think I preferred the Caribbean Pimms purely because it was so unique, but both come highly recommended...
I also ended up having another cocktail rather than a desert (I was sporting a rather large food baby by the end of it!) and opted for the minty desert cocktail, that basically was just an after ate in a drink, mixed with alcohol... what more could you want in life?

What I Ate
For starter, I went for the duck roll, which was the perfect combination of flavours and it was great to try a more Caribbean take on the Chinese dish! Despite that, it did leave me wanting more as compared to Euan's starter, the portion size was a little small.
Of course I had to try something with Goat in the name (I've had goat before and surprisingly really like it!), so I went for the burger. It was cooked just how I liked it, and with the choice of side as well, I think it was pretty great value for money - I was stuffed by the end of it! The fact that it's mixed in with a little lamb as well, means that it would be perfect for anyone who wants to try goat, but still wants to enjoy their meal, as the two have a delicious taste together that isn't too overwhelming!

I love the fact that two of my best friends came along with me to experience what's set to be one of my favourite restaurants, and I'm super excited to let them have their say... It's all genuinely them, so sit back, relax and enjoy their take on the place, too!

Jordanne's Review

Hello Becana readers! I’ve never written a restaurant review before, but I would call ‘eating out’ a hobby of mine and I am so excited that my first review be for Becky and of Turtle Bay… it is by far my favourite at the moment! In fact, I’ve loved eating there so much recently that I applied for a job there and have an interview to be one of their cocktail girls soon… Very excited!

Thank you to the lovely Becky for taking me to Turtle Bay this week (it felt like being with a bit of a celeb… especially when Callum, our charming waiter, misunderstood the source of our booking and thought that Becky had her own PR team with her!... Cue red cheeks, massive smiles and very informed descriptions of dishes, including ones that we had not ordered.)

To drink, I chose to sip upon the ‘passionfruit cooler’, a non-alcoholic and incredibly delicious juice with real passionfruit pulp… I would be driving everyone home after all! I’ve loved passionfruit ever since a recent trip to Costa Rica and it’s not widely purchasable in ol’ blighty, making Turtle Bay my fave before even talking about their food! 
I skipped the starters as I’m a fan of dessert and would recommend this if you’re the type that won’t finish all 3 courses… the desserts are incredible! For my main, I had the ‘Mo’ Bay Chicken’ and it was ‘buenísimo’! I don’t mind spicy, but prefer tasty with a tang… and this was superb! I would definitely recommend this sliced chicken breast cooked in a sweet jerk flavoured sauce as it’s bone-free and super exotic, especially served with fried plantain and sweet potato fries.
For ‘postre’ I had the Zesty Lemon and Lime Tart, which also came with passionfruit on the top – perfect! This pudding was sweet, but not sickly and I felt refreshed and inspired to return to a Caribbean coastline as soon as possible! The atmosphere in Turtle Bay is superb; fairy lights, funky street art and fresh reggae versions of chart music – what’s not to love? The service was most excellent and every waiter I’ve spoken to in various branches of the chain have looked to genuinely be enjoying their job… hence their success in encouraging me to apply!

Overall, a solid a 10 out of 10 from me!
Euan's Review

I am sitting at my laptop, feeling rather like the food critic Anton Ego in Ratatouille. Am I reviewing a restaurant in Paris? No. Is it run by rats? Again, no. Should Becky have let me do a review for her increasingly popular blog? Probably not.
Cut to an overcast Sunday evening. I’m waiting for Becky and Jordanne. They’re late. I pretend not to care. We entered Turtle Bay only to be told we didn’t have a reservation; Becky’s email said otherwise. Fortunately, some impressive cocktail-making skills a few minutes later meant I was quickly settling into the evening:

Caribbean Pimms: Amazing! If you love Pimm’s, go for this! The ginger adds a good spice to an old favourite! (Solid 4.5 stars)
Jumbled Julep: More rum, more mint and more fruit! Sadly, it was probably overshadowed by my love of the Caribbean Pimms but still gorgeous! (4 stars)
We were quickly given a table so all was well again! Cue Callum. Already a minor internet celebrity from featuring on Trip Advisor, appearing on Becky’s blog was about to make him go viral. Well, kinda. In all honesty, I’m sorry we made you feel nervous, there was no need to be because we all loved you and your enthusiasm! This, I hope, was proved to you by our drawing of a turtle with the witty line, ‘Callum is our Turtle Bae’ *bows*
Sadly we had to choose our food! When everything sounds good, it’s definitely sad. Goat sounded edgy and exotic but then I pictured a cute little goat springing around in a field and couldn’t bring myself to do it.
Squid, on the other hand, not so cute. So I had the Chilli Squid starter. I also went for the Run Down One Pot as my main, prompting questions of ‘Are you vegetarian?’ (No) The clincher was the promise of ‘Caribbean Dumplings’ which Callum said were ‘a bit like doughnuts’. I was sold! Doughnuts with a main?! Heaven exists.

And it was all so good! The squid was soft and not at all rubbery or chewy and a perfect level of spice! And there was a lot of it too! The mix of the mango with a lime and coriander mayo was the perfect accompaniment and it was all gone far too soon. Nom. (5 stars)
The Run Down was a creamy mix of beans, carrot and sweet potato with rice and peas and those heavenly dumplings! Honestly, it was all delicious but the dumplings are what have me craving the dish again! Are they perhaps too good? Who knows. Nom again. (4.5 stars, dumplings - 5 stars for sure)

Now it was dessert time! The chocolate brownie is always a safe bet and Turtle Bay’s interpretation is certainly up there with the best! Warm and slightly gooey in the middle? Tick. Rich enough for people to say ‘Ooh that’s rich!’ but not so rich that I haven’t eaten it all in 2 minutes? Tick. Ice cream on the side? Tick. (4.5 stars)
My only regret is not having the chocolate mint rum dessert cocktail as I had one sip of Becky’s and it was like an alcoholic After Eights drink! Next time!
Overall, it was a lovely evening! The music, lights, décor, staff (including you Callum), cocktails and, of course, the food were all incredible and I’m pretty sure I’ll be going back soon! Those dumplings have me hooked. Definitely somewhere to go with friends for a bit of a party atmosphere!
Have a look at the most amazing food and drink selection for yourself here... I was so pleasantly surprised by the restaurant and would go back in an instant! Next time, I think I may even try the supposedly extremely hot goat curry... Have you been to Turtle Bay before? Have a great weekend!
Becky xx

*Thank you to everyone at Turtle Bay and for the complimentary meal. As always, opinions are 100% my own*


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