Situated in the very middle of the city centre, on the flag market, Turtle Bay is one of Preston’s newer restaurants yet it is clearly making waves within the Preston food scene. I’ve been twice before and was more than happy to attend again, on a rather clear Wednesday evening at 7pm for dinner.
For those that have never been, just wander past when in town to get a feeling of the atmosphere. Large windows on the majority of the exterior not only allow excellent natural lighting within the restaurant but also advertise the lively vibe to those passing by.
Décor is themed to the Caribbean food served; sea-washed planks of wood adorn the walls, the lighting is modern and contemporary, the paint work is vibrant and to top it off there is a bar (subtly beach themed) in the middle where the staff can mix up a variety of cocktails alongside generic alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.
There is a 2 for 1 cocktail deal between 12pm and 7pm and then 10pm till close. I didn’t try a cocktail this time but I have had them before and generally they go above and beyond the generic cocktails found in most pub/clubs.
The bathrooms were clean and well sized although the soap dispenser in the men’s was a tad clogged with old soap and could have probably done to be wiped down, apart from that the bathrooms were appreciably clean.
I had booked for 7pm yet arrived with my wife at 6:40. The restaurant was pleasantly busy however we were seated instantly. I had told them of my reason for visiting when I booked so you could be forgiven for thinking their fantastic customer service was based upon the knowledge of my intentions. However, having been a couple of times before I can quite easily say their customer service is almost second to none regardless of who you are or the reasons for your visit.
Every staff member we encountered was friendly, in the personal, real sense; they didn’t give off an aura of false-positivity that can easily be found in a workplace where happiness is a focal point. The Maitre D’ was helpful but not pushy and our waiter for the evening, Robin (could be Robyn), was an absolute delight. She was on hand for queries at all times but didn’t hover annoyingly in eye sight, approachable and friendly but in no way an imposition. I heard in passing conversation with another table that she was a student at UCLan herself which was great to hear; not only was it positive to know that the restaurant itself was open to employing local students but it also came with the pride of knowing that a representative of the Uni could be so good at her job.
The main offers a good variety of options with starters, light lunches, mains and desserts with drinks listed on the back. The menu is attractively laid out and offers enough to entice without becoming crowded or busy. For starters I ordered the fried squid and my wife had the pulled pork salad. They arrived in approximately 7 minutes of ordering and were of excellent quality, taste and portion size. Searching desperately for some sort of counter to the positivity could be found with my rather limp wedge of lime. It had pretty much given up on life and was a tad dried up. But as constructive criticism goes, that’s as much as I can find. The starters were delicious. They were priced at £4.95 each and were definitely worth their price tag.
For main I had the Jerk Lamb, at £12.50, and Amy had the Chicken Flatbread from the Lunch menu at £6.95. Fortunately the lunch menu is served regardless of the time which offers a nice lighter option for diners who are either calorie counting or don’t fancy a full main.
The mains arrived at our table 9 minutes after our starters were collected. Whether that is something that is focused on within the restaurant I don’t know but it was generally a good amount of time to allow the starters to settle before mains were delivered.
The lamb was succulent and incredibly flavoursome. It was accompanied with sweet potato mash (recommended by our waitress) and ‘jerk slaw.’ The mash was lovely and the meat was of good portion size with a hot and spicy covering. The covering was really tasty but it was hot, if you don’t like spice then ask the waiter for their recommendations on ordering.
Amy gave very positive feedback from her chicken flatbread; ‘delicious’ was a word used numerous times throughout our meal. Her only criticism would be the oil used on the flatbread, she felt it was a tad over-used but this is something we find commonplace when we eat out and is probably more representative of Amy’s personal choices.
After eating the mains we were suitably filled to not need to order desserts so I can’t comment on those however if they are in anyway in similar to the quality of the starters or mains then I would confidently guess them to be brilliant.
With a red stripe beer, sparkling water, two cokes and our food the total bill was a very pleasing £40.40. I added on a £5 tip because Robin/Robyn was excellent and a clear asset to Turtle Bay. We left pleasantly full and again impressed with the quality of the meal we had just eaten and the staff who delivered it. It’s always been a joy to visit Turtle Bay previously and I would very happily eat there again.
Value for Money : ★★★★☆
Overall:★★★★☆ 4.5/5 A definite recommendation.