Veganuary Menu Review – Turtle Bay Bristol

by Freya
Turtle bay veganuary menu

We tried the 2021 Veganuary menu at Turtle Bay in Bristol.

Disclaimer: AD – pr invite

We were recently invited down to Turtle Bay on Cheltenham Road in Bristol to try their vegan menu for Veganuary 2021. It was the perfect opportunity to discover some new delicious vegan food offerings for Veganuary 2022. Neither of us had been to Turtle Bay before, so we were super excited to see what they had on offer! Turtle Bay is a Caribbean bar and restaurant with over 40 different locations across the UK. We absolutely love supporting local, independent cafes and restaurants, but it’s always great to see creative, tasty food in mainstream chain restaurants. The more people that have access to plant-based foods, the better!

We decided to go for an early lunch on a Monday, and luckily for us, the place was quiet. The staff we were greeted by were all so friendly, and we felt very relaxed whilst having our meal. The restaurant itself was massive, with plenty of space for all different sized groups. The restaurant decor is really colourful and creative, and I can imagine if you came on the weekend for brunch, or for an evening meal, the atmosphere would be buzzing.

Here’s what we ate

Jamaican Wake Up

“Tia Maria, vanilla, coconut milk & cold brew coffee”

  • Dish Type: Drink (Cocktail)
  • Price: £9.20
  • Rating: 7/10

Pros: They do 2’4’1 cocktails every day of the week until 7pm, which is great! So, for £15.20, we both got a cocktail and non-alcoholic cocktail each. I really enjoyed this drink. It was like a sweeter, creamier version of an espresso martini, which is one of my favourite cocktails. Most of their cocktails are vegan friendly too.

Cons: It was perhaps a little too sweet for me, and there was a lot of ice in the glass.

Virgin Raspberry Reggae

“Raspberry, pomegranate, fresh lime & lemonade”

  • Dish Type: Drink (Alcohol Free)
  • Price: £6.00
  • Rating: 6/10

Pros: The fruit flavour was super intense, and it tasted very fresh. It was the perfect drink to have with spicy food. I also didn’t feel like I was missing the alcohol when I drank it. This was Charlie’s favourite of the two drinks.

Cons: This was also a bit too sweet for my tastes.

Sweetcorn Fritters

“Crunchy on the outside, fluffy on the inside – sweetcorn, onion and chilli, topped with tangy pickled pink onions, fresh mango mole and a kick of hot sauce”

  • Dish Type: Starter
  • Price: £5.80
  • Rating: 9/10

Pros: These fritters were super tasty. The texture and flavour of them was spot on. They were also presented really nicely with fresh herbs, and the pop of pink pickled onion was great.

Cons: The outside of the fritters could have been ever so slightly crispier.

Trini Doubles

“Trinidad & Tobago street food – soft bara roti topped with curried chickpeas, cucumber chutney, shredded coconut, slight hot sauce”

  • Dish Type: Starter
  • Price: £5.80
  • Rating: 10/10

Pros: We both loved these! The roti was lovely and soft, and the toppings were spiced perfectly. We love seeing chickpeas used in such delicious, tasty ways! I could totally see us coming here for a few cocktails and these Trini Doubles. A great showcase to newbie vegans trying Veganary how tasty vegan food can be.

Cons: None!

Jerk Organic Tofu

“Creamy tofu and grilled pineapple glazed in bay jerk sauce for a warming kick – a perfect vegan choice”

  • Dish Type: Main (Jerk Pit)
  • Price: £12.00
  • Rating: 7/10

Pros: The rice and peas were amazing, it was so creamy and full of flavour. The sauce on the tofu and pineapple was lovely, and the portion size of the whole dish was very generous.

Cons: The tofu itself was slightly bland. We think it could’ve been cooked slightly more creatively, maybe with a crispy coating and more marinading.

Curry Aubergine

“Aubergine, potato and tomatoes, slowly simmered in coconut milk and fragrant herbs and spices. With coconut rice & peas”

  • Dish Type: Main (West Indian Curries)
  • Price: £12.00
  • Rating: 8/10

Pros: The aubergine curry was a perfectly balanced dish. The aubergine pieces were tender, and the sauce was creamy and delicious with just the right amount of spice. It was served with the same rice and peas as the jerk tofu, and it was a great pairing.

Cons: Not the most exciting dish, but still very tasty.

Vegan Motherclucker Burger

“Chicken style patty, stacked with smashed avo and a little hot sauce. All served with crispy lettuce, sweet tomato, red onion, gherkin, chilli ketchup and mild jerk mayo in a charred vegan brioche bun”

  • Dish Type: Main (Burgers)
  • Price: £8.00
  • Rating: 7/10

Pros: The combination of flavours all worked really well together. We particularly liked the jerk mayo with the creamy avocado and the chicken patty itself also had a great flavour.

Cons: The whole burger was a bit soft. The chicken patty was slightly crispy, but the coating needed to be a lot more crispy to balance with all the other softer fillings and brioche bun.

Spiced Fries

  • Dish Type: Side
  • Price: £3.50
  • Rating: 10/10

Pros: You can’t beat a good chip! These did not disappoint. The spice wasn’t too intense but it built slowly with each chip you ate. The perfect side to have with the burger.

Cons: None

Sweet Plantain

  • Dish Type: Side
  • Price: £3.50
  • Rating: 9/10

Pros: This was one of my favourite dishes. The plantain was super sweet and soft, and the edges were slightly crispy and caramelised. I could’ve eaten twice as much!

Cons: Maybe a tiny bit oily.

Chili Chocolate Brownie & Vegan Vanilla Ice Cream

Made to our own indulgent recipe with rich, vegan cocoa and a hint of natural spice

  • Dish Type: Dessert
  • Price: £4.00 + £1.00
  • Rating: 5/10

Pros: The ice cream was tasty, and the brownie had quite a nice flavour.

Cons: The texture wasn’t quite right, it was very crumbly and not fudgy like a brownie should be. It was more like a cake. Maybe some chocolate sauce could’ve improved this. A few more vegan friendly desserts would be great, and take Turtle Bay to that next level for people trying Veganuary.

A great destination this Veganuary.

You’re probably reading this thinking: “OMG, how did you consume 4 drinks, 2 starters, 3 mains, 2 sides and a dessert between the two of you?!” Well, it is Veganuary! We did eat it all, but not all in one go! We ordered a lot of food on our visit so that we could sample as many things as possible, but we took lots of cardboard containers home to finish it off the next day (and it was still really tasty)!

Our visit to Turtle Bay was a big success. We were pleasantly surprised by how good their vegan options were, as it’s not somewhere we’d thought of going before. There’s definitely something for everyone here!

Their selection of vegan dishes is also pretty impressive; there was so much choice, which doesn’t always happen in chain restaurants. It was great to have options! If you’re trying Veganuary this year, we’d definitely recommend checking out Turtle Bay. We’re excited to come back to try their Big Vegan Grill Down, Sweetcorn Roti Roll as part of their bottomless brunch!

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