A Cookery Masterclass with Turtle Bay

Turtle Bay Huddersfield

If you’re from the Huddersfield area, you may have noticed that in the last year or so that the town centre has seen some drastic improvements in terms of places to go out. The latest place to open is Caribbean chain Turtle Bay which has taken over the premises of what was Cotton Factory.

Having known what the building had been like previously, walking into the new Turtle Bay  restaurant absolutely blew my mind. We were there only a day after the builders had handed the keys over so it really was an exclusive night to learn all about the food. Despite being located just near Huddersfield University, Turtle Bay won’t cater for the fast-drinking lifestyle. If you want a pick me up, you can have an expresso martini, not an energy drink, and they won’t serve shots. The Caribbean vibe is all about being chilled out and they want their guests to come in to relax. Due to the open nature of the building, you can smell the grill as you come in and the cooking smells just hang in the air.

Colin, the development chef for all of Turtle Bay, spent the night taking us through the history of the company, where the influences are from and explained about how two of their signature dishes were made.

Turtle Bay was born around 4 ½ years ago when a gap in the market was spotted on the British highstreet and the concept actually started in a shack over in Barbados. After realising that there was a distinct lack of Caribbean food being provided for the masses in the UK, the founders decided to take influence from all over the Caribbean and bring them all together to create Turtle Bay.

What I love is the attitude towards the dishes – Turtle Bay don’t claim that what they’re doing is the ‘right’ way to cook Caribbean food, they’re developing recipes into something they and their customers love, with their own twist on it. Everyone has their own take on a recipe in the Caribbean and because of this, Turtle Bay are constantly changing their recipes and developing them.

We learnt all about two dishes – Goat Curry and Jerk Chicken.

Turtle Bay is actually the only place to serve goat on the highstreet and it’s a very lean meat which is imported from Spain. They marinade the meat for  at least 24hrs then cook it for at least 1hr45 meaning it is beautifully tender and delicious. They cook it in a traditional ‘dutch pot’ and the curry actually tastes better on the second to fourth days after cooking, rather than on the first. It's served with rice and peas.

The other main dish we sampled was traditional jerk chicken which cooked on the grills. They use rum or red stripe on the grills to create the smoke that gives it flavour. The chicken is marinaded for at least 24hrs before being cooked then finished on the grill. The meat was beautifully tender and quite spicy – yet I still went back for more!

We finished the evening with rum cake and coconut icecream. I’ve never had a sponge so light yet so boozy before! It was so warming and alcoholic but perfectly complimented by the creamy icecream. I’m down with coconut anything and this was absolutely perfect for me!

We had such a fantastic night at Turtle Bay, I can’t thank the lovely lot at Faith PR for organising it for us enough! I’m going to the launch night later this week so expect Instagram overload on Thursday night!

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