Rice, beans, an abundance of spices, and perfectly caramelised plantain- what’s not to love about Caribbean food?
Cocktails! Why did I not mention them first?
The first time I went to Turtle Bay was at the Exeter branch after my last University exam, for some celebratory 2for1 cocktails. I was so impressed with how they labelled their cocktail menu to indicate what drinks were suitable for vegans. I’d never considered popping in for food in the past as I (wrongly) presumed that they wouldn’t be the most vegan friendly restaurant on the high street, but boy was I wrong!
The food menu at Turtle Bay is so clearly labeled with what options are vegan, including starters, mains, sides, and deserts. Apart from eating delicious meals when I’m out for food, I love it when restaurants make it easy to see what’s vegan and even better- when they give you a choice. There’s nothing more annoying than only having that one vegan option when you’re out for a meal, especially when all restaurants offer the same thing.
After going for cocktails, I actually ended up going back a few times for drinks again. There’s no better combination than delicious cocktails, a 2for1 offer, and a great atmosphere.
I knew I wanted to order the sweet plantain side as soon as I saw the menu, so we went back for food a week later and ordered the west indian wraps with chips and plantain. Of course, the 2for1 cocktail offer was utilized with our lunch. Every time I go back to Cyprus to visit my family, I remember how amazing the bread and pitta is from the bakeries. Don’t get me wrong, all pitta bread is delicious, but I have a soft spot for big Greek and Lebanese stretches out pittas. The west Indian wrap came in a warm toasted flatbread, with a delicious curried chickpea and coconut filling and crispy ‘fries style’ chips on the side. I’m so used to seeing falafel and hummus wraps everywhere, It was quite refreshing to see a menu that offered different contents and flavour combinations. Please don’t judge me for ordering ketchup on the side, it’s become a habit!
I’m pretty sure that turtle bay, along with chickas snacks is what fueled my plantain obsession. After having these as a side, I loaded up on plantain from my local international store to caramelise.
On my following trip to turtle bay, I gave their big one pot dishes a try, which looked and sounded so hearty and flavour packed. They were just that! Their chickpea & callaloo curry came with warmed up flatbread, which was perfect for dipping into the pot. Most of you will already know that I can’t tolerate spicy food too well, but this pot had a pleasant spicy kick to it- enough to stimulate my taste buds, without running to the bar for a glass of water! As a coconut fanatic, I was living for the thinly sliced coconut shreddings that were used to garnish the dish.
As for the cocktails, I’ve tried a range of their drinks both during the day and at night- so I’m not going to sit here listing them all. What I can say though, is that the ones I tried were quite strong. I tend to go for sweet tasting cocktails and will usually pick a coconut / pineapple flavour for one of my drinks.
Now… sit back, relax, and allow yourself to enjoy some caribbean vegan foodgasm. Unless you don’t think my food pictures are droolworthy enough, in which case- try the food out yourself and take better pictures 😉 Don’t forget to tag me on instagram (nutritionalnatasa) for some food envy!