I was fortunate enough to have been invited to Turtle Bay in the Queen Street Dining Complex last week to get a sneaky peak before its official opening. Situated right in the heart of Exeter’s city centre just set back a little from the High Street. It’s in a perfect location. Turtle Bay prides itself on a laid back vibe which is typically Caribbean and very suited to Exeter’s restaurant scene.
I arrived to a warm welcome from the staff and was soon directed to the bar to try one of their cocktails. One of Turtle Bays specialties is rum and with 40 on their menu you are definitely spoilt for choice. I asked the bar tender, Adam, for a recommendation and he suggested a glass of rum punch would kick things off in style. A shake and a shimmy later I was presented with my first taste of the Caribbean and I have to say, Adam was right. It certainly did put me in the mood and transported me straight to a white sandy beach next to an azure sea!
A short while later we were treated to a little masterclass in rum by Adam who proclaims to “love rum”. To be honest I was inclined to agree with him. This man knows his stuff and treated us to a dazzling show whilst telling us that “no two rums are the same”. To prove this we were poured a shot of Santa Theresa Orange at 43% proof. One of the most expensive rums on the market and extremely drinkable with a lovely orange tang on the tongue. Adam suggested a little squeeze of lime which brought the rum alive. Beautifully citrusy it was like nothing I had tried before. The second sampler was my favourite. The Old J spiced rum smelt of Christmas. Vanilla, cinnamon and a hint of citrus that was so smooth to taste. It was one that I would have liked to have savoured over ice but unfortunately it was on to the next. The last was Blackwell rum from Jamaica and this felt a little harsh to me compared to the sweetness and softer finish of the others. I guess this proved Adams theory right… No two rums are the same.
From the bar we were ushered to tables where we were presented with various treats from the menu. Lots of spice and heat from chillies in the dishes with a wonderful sense of barbecue flavours in the jerk chicken wings. The goat curry was a particular favourite and certainly got those taste buds working. I love spice and heat so I was in my element and really felt like I was sitting in a Jamaican beach hut with my jerk chicken, rum cocktail and reggae tunes in the background. Now, I understand that the menu and decor isn’t particularly authentic but I was having a great time and I can only imagine on a weekend evening it will be buzzing.
I am hoping to return once it’s open so I can do a proper review of the menu and experience.
Opening hours vary depending on the day but they always open at 11.30am with closing between 11.30pm- 1.30am.