Peterborough's Turtle Bay restaurant in Exchange Street and (inset) chef Collin Brown.Peterborough's Turtle Bay restaurant in Exchange Street and (inset) chef Collin Brown.
Peterborough's Turtle Bay restaurant in Exchange Street and (inset) chef Collin Brown.

Turtle Bay: Spice up your life – we did with lunch from the new menu

If you have been into Peterborough city centre, day or night, you will know that Turtle Bay is hugely popular with the bottomless brunch and 2for1 cocktail set.

The Exchange Street restaurant is also a place with a pulse, a great buzz at all times of day, but what stands out for me is the unbelievably stunning, though not entirely unexpected, food on offer.

This month it got even better with a brand new fresh and vibrant menu curated by celebrity Caribbean cook Collin Brown, the Executive Chef at Turtle Bay.

Inspired by the islands, the menu developed by Jamaica’s most awarded chef includes an elevation of four Turtle Bay classics, plus an introduction of 12 brand new dishes and two delicious ‘beach board’ sharing platters.

Putting a huge focus on fresh and classic flavours, Chef Collin has introduced some of the island's most vibrant and healthy ingredients such as callaloo, ackee and jackfruit to a number of their dishes. Not only are these high-quality Caribbean ingredients, but each are superfoods boasting a number of key health benefits and packed with vitamins and nutrients.

The elevated menu boasts a wide selection of flavourful plant-based dishes, such as the Island Brunch Bowl, featuring scrambled ackee, sauteed callaloo, curried chickpeas, sweet fried plantain, tomatoes, and a fire-grilled roti.

Booked in for 1pm on a Saturday with two youngsters onboard, the place was already very lively – and the greeting along with the whole look of the place and the background music was enough to put a smile on our faces and set the mood.

The girls (8 and 10) ordered their now customary mocktails (2for1 of course) and a Red Stripe for me while we read through the new dishes on the menu and sought some advice from our staff member for the afternoon.

Turns out it was a bit of a spice-fest… but we were warned!

We opted for three starters with side plates to make it a sharing experience.

The rum BBQ wings were golden brown, with crisp breadcrumbs and meaty enough – and the sticky rum-laced sauce was a smoky treat – if a bit messy.

The coconut prawn rice bowl was a real eye-opener, and a first for my younger lunch guests on many levels. Big juicy prawns in a creamy coconut sauce with simple but beautifully cooked rice, callaloo (a stewed, green leaf dish which was a new one on me too), fresh, diced pineapple and a little pickled veg that added texture and had a cooling effect for what was a spicy dish.

It was universally agreed the pick of the trio was the pulled chicken doubles. The fluffy, hand-rolled rotis were delightful as we munched through the chunks of chicken thigh meat smothered in the barbecue sauce and topped with a little avocado and pineapple chunks.

The cold lager and coconut syrup based cocktails came in very handy.

There was a definite coconut (and rice & peas) theme to our mains – but by now were were loving it.

The curried jackfruit – looking like chunks of pork with a similar texture and very tasty – went down well.

Ditto the trini curry prawn – more of those fresh, soft juicy prawns dripping in creamy coconut sauce were exquisite.

And finally the Jamaican run down, Chef Collin’s slowly simmered butternut squash, sweet potato, and coconut stew, served of course with rice & peas – a slightly smoky flavour this time but equally delicious.

Maybe our tastebuds had adjusted, but the spice didn’t pack as much punch although the flavours were there in abundance.

A terrific lunch all round.

And don’t worry…. the iconic Turtle Bay Bottomless Brunch is still on offer, with a two-hour long Caribbean cocktail and brunching experience.