Caribbean cool in Norwich’s cobbled streets could give you the chance to jerk yourself into a spicy stupor. Turtle Bay is big and vibrant, with bright colours, loud music and big flavours.

have licked the bowl clean if I wasn’t worried it would get stuck on my head. It could have come straight from the table of an afro Caribbean relative (who am I kidding? I’m white as A4) and felt reassuring, homely and no fuss. Tat feeling maybe modestly sells short the deeply warming complexity of flavour from the ginger, star anise, cinnamon and coconut. I maybe didn’t lick it clean but made a few passes round the empty bowl with the flatbread just to make sure nothing was missed. Vegetarianism wasn’t completely neglected as we also had a goats cheese and mango flatbread. Te base was soft, floury, stodgy and delicious. Perhaps a few too many different toppings meant you need to pick your bite wisely. Goat’s cheese and mango go great together, as did the red onion and tomato but any other mix didn’t quite work. Fun to twist, tear and stuff into your face. All of the food felt very tactile and made eating a fun and relaxed adventure.

ATMOSPHERE Tere’s a VW bus in the restaurant. Like, I’m sure it’s meant to be there, the wall is lacking in VW shaped holes, but still, people were playing it very cool. You can eat in it. Tat’s a thing. Come on people, show some emotion. Te place is eclectic and visually loud. Very loud. A collage of colours explode from every corner and every surface. It’s definitely a case of ‘more is more’ with conflicting patterns and clashing colours combining to make some striking and kinda beautiful. If you squint… and tilt your head just a bit to the left. Tere, that’s it. Beautiful.

STARTERS Hey! I’m at Turtle Bay during National Vegetarian week ! A chance for you to not contribute to the wholesale slaughter of livestock (yay!) but be really effing smug about it. It’s lucky as it coincides


with the addition of some exciting new veggie and vegan options on the menu that I wanted to try out. Our starter was the Vital Veggie sharing platter. When it arrived we were treated to a striking dish with a whole lot going on. Like the décor it was a collection of eccentric and vibrant looking items that came together in a great way to start the meal. Fun and just the right size to share. Lots was going with colours and big flavours but highlights for me were the indulgent corn fritters in dark crisp batter and the crispy okra.

THE MAIN EVENT Yeah, so that veggie thing didn’t last long. I’m enthusiastic but ultimately weak willed and the sound of the Bajan beef cheek curry made me break. Piping hot and served in a Perspex bowl with steamed long grain rice I would

PUD Tis is the time of any meal when you need to undertake an internal assessment. Sure, I’m full… but am I completely full? Te answer is invariably yes but we still ordered a couple. Te passion pie was a super sharp and zesty passionfruit meringue pie. Te rum and raisin bread pudding was more stodge, more flavour and made me feel sick. But good sick, you know? Like I’ve accomplished something with my life. It was great.

OVERALL I like turtles. Man, that meme is old. I’ve been here once before and missed out on the great food. After kitchens close it turns into a bar and has a great selection of rum (what else) based cocktails. Whatever the time of day it’s well worth a visit. It’s all about getting social so bring some mates and make a night of it.

James MacDonald


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