I recently reviewed Turtle Bay with a group of friends – it was all about sharing platters, cocktails, excellent service and a lively ambience, so when I was invited again this time to bring my children along to try the revamped kids menu, I was intrigued as to how a night at Turtle Bay would fareâ€¦ with little ones in tow!
We opted to go to our nearest Turtle Bay again which is in Leeds but there are a number of the Caribbean Restaurant cum bar chains across the UK.
My first experience of Turtle Bay was having a take-away from the Bristol branch when I was heavily pregnant and on a BBC training course down south. It was the perfect pick-me-up as I love spicy comfort food.
So it was interesting to take my babies this time (now aged three and six-years-old) to the restaurant inside The Light in Leeds City Centre.
Turtle Bay, Leeds, West Yorkshire
We arrived at 6.30pm and it was pretty busy as there was a show on that night at Leeds First Direct Arena.
I love the interior and the lively vibe of the place although it can be a bit loud for really little ones. Luckily for us, our two had had a power nap in the car and were ready to roll once weâ€™d arrived. The benefit of it being loud and busy is that you donâ€™t feel on show with noisy kids and it didnâ€™t feel cramped.
All kids get a free starter on arrival of fresh dips and dippers which includes a vegan spread of hummus, smashed avocado, pitta bread and carrot sticks.
Unfortunately my girls wouldnâ€™t try the spicy hummus but my three-year-old Arianna had her first taste of Avocado. She didn’t like it but I’m glad she tried it (hopefully if I introduce the Avocado Baby book at bedtime she may change her mind!).
Â Itâ€™s great to see healthy kids food that challenges their palette but not too much. As the starter bites came on big plates it did look a bit sparse with only a few dippers.
My husband and I had starters too – I had succulent sweetcorn fritters in the shape of onion bhajis which I dipped into a spicy sauces on the table. My husband had chicken wings.
The kids mains also came whilst we were eating starters which was good for the hungry kids (I must say the service is very well managed at Turtle Bay in Leeds).
The Kids Menu
The menu consists of a good variety of simple and interesting dishes for kids young and old – so they can eat like adults or opt for more basic options. It was great to see Vegan options for kids too.
My six-year-old Jasmine had ordered Pizza Flat Bread and fries and Arianna had ordered a cheese burger. Sadly Jasmine refused to eat the flat bread because â€œit didnâ€™t look like normal pizza,â€ it does state flat bread on the menu but for fussy kids that doesnâ€™t matter! So both kids shared and enjoyed the cheese burger and fries.
For the grown-ups
For our mains I had a super-food green salad with a side of dumplings for good measure (I would have opted for the one-pot dish of Chickpea curry and rice but as I had that last time I was trying to taste something different). The dumplings took me back to my childhood when my babysitter would make us all fresh dumplings (and we would ask for them with baked beans)â€¦ ultimate comfort food!
The salad did what it said on the menu and was very green so I was glad it came with toppings – I opted for the Caribbean inspired hummus which was delicious and I added a heavy dose of spicy sauce myself as I like a bit of a kick.
My husband Chris had a one-pot prawn curry which he enjoyed although it was a challenge peeling all the shells off the prawns. Like me, Chris loves spice so he too made the most of the sauces on the table.
Cocktails and Mocktails
Meanwhile the girls ordered frozen mocktails so they felt very grown up and loved the colourful drinks that were presented to them. Chris and I had our own adultÂ cocktailsÂ as he was driving and I don’t drink…Â whether youÂ love a cocktail or aÂ cocktail this is the place to come for one.Â
Whilst Chris and I were finishing off our mains, the girls ordered their desserts of Chocolate Brownie and a fruit salad.
Jasmine obviously loved her decadent caramel chocolate brownie and ice cream (she wouldnâ€™t share any!). And Arianna who had surprisingly gone for the melon and mango fruit salad, ate all the melon up but left the mango as it tasted a bit off.
As it was a school night us adults restrained ourselves from having a pudding so that we could get the kids in bed for a decent time.
I think Turtle Bay is a great place for older kids and mine were just old enough to mostly enjoy the experience. Itâ€™s always hard to get the balance when it comes to a kids offering in a bar/restaurant. I think the menu is spot on for kids allowing for all different tastes. It would be great to see some kids sharing platters containing a mixture of simple and exciting things to try and challenge them to experiment (but with the back up of plain food too!).
All in all, it was a lovely night with great ambience and staff were attentive and there were many nice touches such as staff giving the girls crayons to colour in with and a set of dominoes during the meal, so we could have a fun family meal together without any screens being involved! It’s the little gestures when your dining as a family that mean a lot.