Thursday, 17 March 2016

Eating vegan at Turtle Bay Newcastle

Turtle Bay Newcastle

There's been quite a buzz about Turtle Bay since it opened in Newcastle earlier this year. Situated near The Gate, just outside of Eldon Square, this Caribbean chain has been at the top of my 'must visit' list since I heard they did a decent vegan-friendly dish, so last week we booked a table and did just that.

Turtle Bay Newcastle

Even though we visited on a Monday night, the restaurant was surprisingly busy, and I was glad we'd booked our table for six in advance. We started at Turtle Bay's impressive cocktail bar, which was well stocked both with ingredients and with staff, who were falling over each other to whip up drinks!

I was driving, so I went for the ginger beer which is made fresh in front of you and served in a flip-top bottle. It was refreshing, lightly carbonated with just a hint of a kick to perfectly complement the spicy food we were about to tuck into.

The restaurant itself is quite large, stretching back towards an open kitchen. The decor is authentically Caribbean, mixing carnival and industrial for a perfect party vibe.

Our waitress was really knowledgeable about which dishes were vegan, and told us without hesitation when asked exactly what we could have which was a good start.

Although Andrew and I were the only vegans in our party, four out of the five starters ordered were the vegan sweetcorn fritters!

The fritters were delicious. Doughy inside and crispy outside with a hint of a kick. I drizzled my starter in Encona Jerk BBQ Sauce - one of the many vegan-friendly sauces provided on the table - which gave them a warm, smokiness that perfectly complemented the heat of the scotch bonnets. Although these might be too spicy for some, they were well received on our table.

Next up was the main course, and Andrew and I both got the 'Run Down' (which I have seen listed as 'Rastafari Run Down' in other Turtle Bay restaurants for some reason).

The dish was served with traditional 'rice and peas' and Caribbean dumplings. The Run Down itself was sweet, creamy and coconutty, with fresh veggies and butter beans galore. It was absolutely mouthwatering; the type of dish that makes you wish you were eating it whenever it pops into your mind. If you opt for a korma at your local Indian, you will love this. The dumplings were like nothing I've ever tasted, bordering on sweet and almost doughnut-like, they were the perfect accompaniment to the sweet heat of the Run Down.

Afterwards we were all thoroughly stuffed and singing the praises of Turtle Bay. It was a little more pricey than we'd usually pay in a chain restaurant (starters £5,10, main courses £9.70) but it was so delicious and plentiful we didn't mind. In fact, we're already planning our next visit!

Emily xo


  1. I've never heard of the Turtle Bay but I might need to go and check it out! The dumplings sounds delicious and it doesn't seem to pricey either :) xx

    Yasmina | The July Journal


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