Beach party restaurant, Bob Marley, Caribbean food, Caribbean restaurant, Cocktails Guildford, Jerk Chicken, Marley Mojito, Reggae, Surrey, Surrey restaurants, Turtle Bay Restaurant Guildford, Where to eat in Guildford
Dolphin House, 1 North Street, Guildford, Surrey, GU1 4AA
‘Love the life you live
live the life you love.’ Bob Marley
Twinkling with fairy lights and buzzing with reggae music, there’s a party atmosphere at Turtle Bay the new Caribbean eatery on North Street, Guildford. The aromas of jerk spices and the buzzing bar lined with talented cocktail makers shaking Sailor Jerry’s, Havana and Appleton Special makes you feel as though you are chilling at a beach barbecue on a summer’s evening. To put it simply, everything the restaurant does is about creating the perfect atmosphere for ‘liming’, which means hanging out with friends and family, while enjoying good food and a few drinks.
Food and drink is the heart and soul of Caribbean culture, which is why the restaurant’s menu reflects the electric mix of the people you’ll find there. Turtle Bay serves the kind of food islanders enjoy at home, on the beach or in the street cafes. Rustic, authentic, packed with heat and exploding with flavour. From bar roti with curried chickpeas, jerk chicken and prawns, lamb or saltfish baked turmeric patties to one pots and Jamaican browned chicken.
Of course food is only half the story. The cocktails at Turtle Bay are all expertly made by highly trained bar staff with the winner for me being the Marley Mojito. The first sip is a sharp hit of Appleton Special rum. But as the ice melts the balance changes and the sweet flavours of watermelon and home-made ginger beer appear. The mint provides a fantastic aroma that keeps each individual flavour coming as the drink sinks lower and lower.
If Mojitos are not your thing then there is an extensive cocktail list that includes a Strawberry Daiquiri, Bay Caipirinha, Hummingbird, Tobago Tea, Jamaican Mule and many more. And there is a 2-4-1 Happy Hour!
The staff are all friendly and attentive promptly greeting you at the door to lead you to your rustic beach table. The fiery open kitchen means that customers are free to watch their jerk chicken sizzle or their one pot bubble.
The authentic taster dishes inspired by beach shacks and street hawkers across the Caribbean islands are perfect as a starter or to share with friends over cocktails. These include Jamaican Fried Bait, Chilli Fried Squid, Sweetcorn Fritters, Jerk Pit Ribs, Patties, and Duck Rolls.
I would highly recommend the melt in your mouth handmade, stone baked flatbread with herb, chilli and garlic butter. The Trini Doubles, two bara roti served with curried chickpeas, cucumber chutney and coconut shavings. And the perfectly marinated Jerk Pit Prawns.
Lunch ‘n’ Light dishes include the Pulled Pork Bun, Street Burger, Jerk Chicken Wrap, Shrimp and Mango Wrap, Salmon Salad, 1/4 Jerk Chicken and Lunch Jerk Ribs. A word of warning. The portions of food at Turtle Bay are very generous. The Jerk Chicken Wrap for example would make an adequate main course. There are a few vegetarian dishes on the menu including spicy curried squash and creamy butter beans with sweet potato and coconut milk.
Mains include Blue Mountain Curried Goat, Trini Fish Curry and Curry Shrimp and Mango. However the real star for me was the Jerk Pit Barbecue, that’s if you can ever decide what kind of meat to have. Jerk Ribs, Jerk Lamb, Jerk Salmon, Dipped Pork Steak, Jerk Pit Burger and many more all come served with Caribbean Slaw, Sweet potato mash or fries, or rice and peas. Again these portions are more than generous so you might have a bit of a challenge on your hands working through your entire plate.
The jerk sauce is fragrant, fiery hot and smokey all at once. I had the chicken which was flame grilled over spice and thyme wood making the meat so tender it just fell away from the bone. This is one jerk chicken that will transport you to the Caribbean without the need for an expensive plane ticket.
For pudding choose from home-made Spiced Chocolate Pot, Rum and Raisin Bread Pudding and Banana Fritters. For a rich decadent treat I would recommend The Dark Chocolate Pie served with Vanilla Ice Cream. If you are looking for something a little lighter and more refreshing you might like to try the Barbecue Pineapple Served with a sweet rum caramel sauce, delicate coconut shavings and creamy coconut ice-cream.
In true Caribbean style Turtle Bay is a restaurant that focuses on flavour rather than fuss. Offering the authentic Caribbean experience with its Jerk Pit, 2-4-1 cocktails, and reggae beats it is unlike any other eatery in Guildford town centre. Managing to capture the beach party experience in a restaurant spot on I think it is safe to say that Turtle Bay is here to stay.