Restaurant review: Turtle Bay, Preston

Turtle Bay Caribbean restaurant in Preston
Turtle Bay Caribbean restaurant in Preston

We normally try to stay close to Chorley and Leyland for our reviews of places to eat locally, but so many people have been telling me how fantastic the new Caribbean restaurant is in Preston, I just had to give it a go.

First impressions were good, as the atmosphere was lively and very colourful.

There’s a large square bar near the entrance where people were enjoying drinks under twinkling lights as energetic music played loudly.

The bar staff were impressing with their cocktaill-making skills and as we’d arrived half an hour before our table was booked, my party of four found a good spot at the bar.

We tried a number of cocktails from the large menu, including a vanilla and passion fruit mojito, a Hummingbird (rum, Tia Maria, banana liqueur and coconut), and our new favourite, a Jamaican shandy, made with the restaurant’s own ginger beer, Jamaican lager and bitters.

All were very refreshing and tasty, with the shandy packing a particularly gingery punch.

For starters, we went for Jamaican fried bait (lightly spiced whitebait); duck spring rolls, pulled jerk pork and jerk pit ribs.

They certainly got the tastebuds going!

Salad doesn’t normally excite me, but my pork came with not only leaves, but orange segments and mango amongst other things, and it was nice to try some citrus and exotic fruits with pulled pork.

The whitebait batter was especially tasty and meant the starter wasn’t too ‘fishy’, and the rolls and ribs also went down a treat.

We’d been pre-warned that the food tends to be spicy at Turtle Bay, which we were all looking forward to, but apart from the table sauce which we tried, the starters weren’t too mind-blowing in that department.

We were soon to be tested when the mains arrived though.

I had the jerk ribs, which came in a honey barbecue glaze, with a sour orange chutney, Caribbean ‘slaw’ and sweet potato fries.

The meat just fell off the bones and melted in the mouth, and the accompaniments were delicious too.

My fellow diners opted for the double dipped steak (grilled jerk marinated steak with ‘slaw’ and sweet potato fries); the jerk pit burger (served with pulled jerk pork, salad, pineapple, ‘slaw’ and sweet potato fries); and the Escovitch fish (whole bream, with a sauce of tomatoes, scotch bonnet chili, onion, carrots, salad, rice and peas).

Everyone was suitably impressed with the food, which we polished off, although the whole bream was a bit ‘difficult’ to eat because of all the bones.

Note the word ‘jerk’ though, because this is where the incredible heat came from!

The shandy certainly went down well throughout the meal as we attempted to cool our mouths, and even all of the sauces on the table were hot, so they couldn’t save us either.

I would have liked to see a cooling sauce to make my meal a bit more enjoyable, but we all agreed that despite blowing our heads off, the heat didn’t take away at all from the flavours.

You really could have been anywhere in the world, with the atmosphere offering a very enjoyable holiday vibe. Definitely one to visit again.

The bill came to £120.

Factfile -

Name: Turtle Bay

Address: Crystal House, Birley Street, Preston, PR1 2AQ

Contact: 01772 824800 or preston@turtlebay.co.uk

Opening hours: Sunday to Wednesday 11.30am - 11pm. Thursday 11.30am – midnight. Friday and Saturday 11.30am - 1am.

Other details: Lunch and lighter options also available. Happy Hour with ‘two for one’ cocktails from noon until 7pm and 10pm until close.