Thursday 31 March 2016

Turtle Bay Cardiff

buzzoole code
A photo posted by Turtle Bay (@turtlebayuk) on

During a recent trip to Cardiff for my friend's birthday (I'll be blogging about it soon) we decided to grab a bite to eat at Turtle Bay, we all love Caribbean food, Reggae music and we are total foodies so we couldn't wait. I'm 1/2 Caribbean and I know how many Caribbean food should taste so I had high hopes for Turtle Bay especially after reading so many amazing reviews. I've pretty much loved every Caribbean restaurant I've eaten in, it's a shame Turtle Bay isn't one of them!
Turtle Bay's Menu

We arrived at Turtle Bay around 5:30pm on Friday 18th March, we had forgotten to book a table but we were lucky to get a table for 6 as long as we left before 7pm, which was easy because we were in a bit of a rush anyway. We sat down and ordered our drinks whilst we waited for the boys to join us as they were still on the Megabus from London. We were told it was happy hour and 241 on cocktails, like the students we are we decided to split the deal and share the price so we all chose our cocktails before being told it is actually 241 if both cocktails are the same, which is fine because that's completely understandable. We split our drinks and was a little shocked when they arrived. 
two fruity cocktails
Happy Hour drinks
The picture above actually makes the drinks look bigger than they were! I know why they both have to be the same drink - because the mixologist makes one normal size drink and splits it between two glasses during happy hour! Of course I'm not sure if that is true but others who clearly didn't have happy hour had larger drinks than we did. The drinks did taste nice however there was a lack of alcohol flavour and more of a sweet fruity taste, again I'm use to this most cocktail bars in London have the same issue.  While waiting I couldn't help but notice how loud the music was, not great for a romantic meal but it was fine for us as we didn't really want to talk to each other and it was getting us in the mood for our night out at Pryzm. The decor was pretty authentic and there was a great vibe as the restaurant was pretty busy.

We took a while looking over the menu while waiting on the boys, I was shocked to see how many things had scotch bonnet in (I've experienced this before and I know how mum has to cook them because they're so hot) so I knew to stay clear of any scotch bonnet infused meals, it was hard because everything I wanted had it in. I opted for the light bite 1/4 Jerk chicken knowing that Jerk is about my maximum when it comes to spice. The 1/4 Jerk Chicken was a very reasonable £7.
Caribbean food, chicken, rice and peas
My meal: 1/4 Jerk chicken rice and peas with slaw
Once my meal arrive I was excited, I was so hungry and I love my jerk chicken, rice and peas, plus Caribbean slaw is my favourite type of coleslaw (my auntie makes the best slaw you'll ever have in your life!). I was extremely disappointment with the whole meal, which is a shame because you get a pretty big meal considering it's from the light menu and so cheap. My first mouthful of rice actually make me cough, you know when you're completely unaware that something is going to have such a fiery kick? It took me and my mouth by surprise. It was so bad my friend actually asked the waitress if I could have plain rice as the rice alone was ruining my meal but the waitress said they don't do plain rice! This really took my by surprise and made me upset. Takeaway or dine in I have never come across a restaurant (not just Caribbean) that doesn't serve plain rice. I could be allergic to kidney beans or in my case can't handle the spice, there should always be an alternative, surely? The waitress ended up giving my mayonnaise to help cool down the rice. I couldn't let the meal defeat me but it got so bad I ended up eating the ice from my cocktail and most of the water. I wasn't the only one blown away with the spice which did make me feel a little better about it. It would have been nice for a plain rice or yogurt to help cool the mouth, I know in most (if not all) Indian restaurants they have this due to some of their dishes being so fiery

Phyll's meal
I know jerk seasoning is fiery but I've eaten Jerk chicken so many times and it has never abused me like it did that night. It's a shame there wasn't an alternative as even the chips were spicy chips, may with plain or less spicy alternatives I wouldn't have such a negative experience of Turtle Bay Cardiff.

How my Welsh friend described it to me was that in London we are spoilt for choice with Caribbean food, there are loads of amazing restaurants with great menus, Cardiff don't have as many. So people rave on about Turtle Bay because it honestly is the best they've had. I'm sure I'll give Turtle Bay a second chance and try something different but for now I'm in no rush at all. I'll stick to my mum's Caribbean food and the odd London take out.

Would I recommend Turtle Bay? No, not right now I wouldn't but I'm sure if you like extra hot it's the place for you.

If you'd like to visit Turtle Bay:
Turtle Bay Cardiff, 
114-116 St Mary’s Street, 
CF10 1DY 

Do you like Caribbean food? 
Do you like spices and would the heat be too much for you too?


  1. Whoa that food does look super spicy. What's your favourite Caribbean restaurant in London - would love to visit :-)

    1. I really enjoyed Caribbean Hot Spice in Wembley. Rhythm Kitchen and Caribbean Scene are pretty decent too they're both in Stratford Westfield but more of a quick fast food Caribbean x

  2. That's so disappointing! We have one in Bristol and I've always wanted to try it. I won't bother now! Thanks for the heads up

    Love and Feathers,
    The Owlet 💜

  3. Aw that's disappointing. I love my local Turtle Bay!

  4. Wow I love Caribbean food so this is super dissapointing! My husband is half caribbean and makes the best food ahhh! We sre so picky when it comes to ordering it in. Your friends are right there is so much choice is London so it sucks when you get a bad choice!

  5. I've never gone to a Caribbean restaurant but it's definitely on the list of things to do. Such a shame when you get all excited for a meal only to be let down by it, and poor service from staff can really ruin an experience too. Hopefully the next place you try is much better :) xx

  6. Oh No! We have a Turtle Bay in Newcastle and I've been twice - both times the food was very spicy but I'm ok with this. I recommend the Jerk chicken wings (although they are spicy) to everyone as I love them. I agree with you about the cocktails and do wonder if it's a sneaky trick bars use?

  7. Oh what a shame! I haven't had such a bad experience for quite a while :) H x

  8. Ohh this sounds amazing - I don't think I've heard of Turtle Bay before but I would love to go to one :) x

  9. Im not a fan of extra hot so it doesnt sound the the place for me, thought would love to try Caribbean food! Will have to look out for your recommendations :D x

  10. I love spicy food but not overly hot so I'm not sure it would be the place for me either ut the food does look nice!

  11. It is a shame it wasn't as good as you hoped but I also like something less spicy on my plate if I have something spicy x

  12. See I love spice although my stomach doesn't but I can't believe they didn't have plain rice that is shocking.

  13. I can't believe that they didn't have any plain rice that is shocking and it is so inexpensive so why wouldn't they stock it?

  14. I've been past this place many times and always wanted to go in there. The food looks amazing x