Chelmsford – Turtle Bay

Turtle Bay were once my favourite UK chain, serving decent Caribbean food which had a bit of spice to it. I felt that they went downhill a bit across the country last year and I’ve mostly ignored them since. However, their app gave me a free meal earlier in the year in Norwich which was rather lovely, and they’ve now sent another on-line voucher. I certainly won’t complain.

The interior is bright and decorative, with the staff member who served me being pro-active and engaging.

Some considerable thought has gone into the design of the toilets.

This is Turtle Bay’s own milk stout, which I think is made by Hunter’s Brewery. Tasted OK, sweet and creamy, although not a great richness of flavour. But, it’s nice to see restaurants making an effort like this and I’m not sure why the Caribbean has a history of stouts, perhaps it’s down to Guinness Foreign Extra Stout.

The meal which Turtle Bay kindly gave to me, which is the half a jerk chicken with spiced fries. The chicken was very tender and fell straight off the bone, with the portion seeming quite generous to me. Fries were decent, crispy on the exterior and fluffy on the interior, but I still have no idea what bloody use that watermelon is to the meal. But, perhaps it’s authentic, I don’t know. The chicken was a bit blackened in places, but I like that, I’m not a fan of soggy chicken skin, I like it firm and a bit burnt.

I’m not sure that Turtle Bay is as good as it once was, but it’s certainly better than it was at its worst. The service here was above standard and they delivered a clean and comfortable environment. The Grace Jerk BBQ Sauce in the bottle which is on the table is still beautiful, I suspect I went through the majority of the bottle. Anyway, since this meal cost me the grand sum of just under £5 for the beer, I certainly can’t complain and I note that the recent reviews for the restaurant are pretty positive. So, hopefully the future for Turtle Bay is bright in these challenging times.