NEWSFLASH: There’s a new Afrodisiac in my hometown and she’s serving up an array of robust rum cocktails and mouth-watering Jerk Pitt dishes. All of this to the backdrop of reggae melodies that soothe the spicy blends on offer.
This Afro lady I speak of is none other than a rather enticing large-scale painting adorning the wall of the newly opened Turtle Bay Restaurant in Ealing – an authentic Caribbean dining and drinking experience in West London.
For the last few weeks, I’ve been peering through the windows and giving a nod of approval at the interiors, which replicate food huts in the Caribbean down to a tin enamel plate. The launch party was pretty awesome too; with the restaurant rammed to the brim and canapés fresh from the flames of the Jerk Pitt, there was enough heat and humidity to throw on a bikini.
This week I finally got to sample the menu to give my Island girl seal of approval. After devouring my Jerk Chicken drizzled with a creamy jerk spiced sauce, each bite took me back to my roadside pit stops in Jamaica, coming very close to the authentic Caribbean experience.
Executive Head Chef, Collin Scott and General Manager, Derek Casey poached from Jamie’s Italian by Founder Ajith Jayawickrema both expressed their love for West Indian food and the laid-back island vibe, which Turtle Bay captures for British foodies to experience. It also helps that the bar and table staff are as attentive and friendly as the warmth received from a Caribbean food vendor on the daily hustle.
Executive Head Chef Collin sandwiched between the ComplexdWoman team
Although not a specialist in Caribbean cuisine, the menu was meticulously researched and lovingly created by Chef Collin who has 27 years of kitchen experience. When I asked him whether Turtle Bay’s menu matches up to ‘mamas’ cooking, he declared, ‘nothing could ever beat your grandmothers cooking. When I’m developing the menu, whether it’s Trinidad Curry Chicken or Rastafarian Run Down, I focus on giving diners a taste of the spices and flavours each island has to offer’.
The Turtle Bay Restaurant concept manages to pack the spirit of the Caribbean under one roof. The buzz surrounding the new location in Ealing gives you that Friday feeling even when you’ve got Monday blues. If you’re a reggae, soca and dancehall lover, the playlist will have you beating your glazed jerk pork bones on the enamel plates and if you just appreciate darn good design, the shipping container fixtures and drum barrel washbasins will certainly catch your eye and have you instagramming everything you see like me.
Chef Collin hinted at more rapid restaurant openings in London so watch out Brixton, who knows… you could be next!