We’ve all had various experiences when out dining with family or friends, bad food, good food, poor service, great service. As someone that really likes to try new places, but is also restricted as to where I can access, I often end up sticking to my comfortable favourites, just like an old faithful pair of warn in pyjamas. Places where I know what to expect and feel comfortable, that I know are spacious and accommodating to my wheels.
A few weekends ago I was feeling adventurous, I had that urge to try something new, and I’m so glad I did. I’ve discovered a new comfortable favourite.
I’d wheeled past Turtle Bay in Norwich a few times since it appeared, thinking oh that looks new and smells delicious. I really must stop by sometime. So on a well overdue lunch date with friends we decided to give it a whirl.
In no way is Turtle Bay a posh eatery, a causal and reasonably priced Caribbean style bar and restaurant, Turtle Bay is part of a chain. Never judge a book by its cover! Don’t get me wrong we expected nice food and good service, doesn’t everyone everywhere they go really. But what we got was some of the best service and hospitality you could hope to experience.
As my friend went to open the door on arrival, a man, who appeared to look like a manager came and helped. He opened both of the double doors to allow me and the gang easy access.
I could see a bar area for drinks, and what looked like a dining area for food. The bar area looked bright and welcoming, with some delicious sounding cocktails on the menu (I’ll be coming back for a taste of those!). We said we were here for lunch and were shown to a table in the seating area. He asked where at the table I would like to position and removed a chair for me with the speed of a magician! (Sorry I didn’t intend for that to be a bit of a rhyme, but I’m leaving it there now!).
As far as I’m aware all the tables are square with a central leg (ours were anyway) and the tables put together to accommodate various amounts of diners. Our table was a perfect height for my chair and the central leg allowed me to wheel under easily.
There was ample space for me to navigate the restaurant and get to any of the tables. Spacious enough that when seated at the table I didn’t feel in the way at all, enough room for the staff and diners to easily go past my chair.
With just the right amount of time to give the menu a browse a cheery (but not cringe cheery) waitress appeared to take our drinks order. I had a Watermelon Crush, watermelon juice blended smooth with ice, it was yummy and refreshing and a bit like sophisticated Slush Puppie (with way less sugar!).
We all ordered from the lunch menu, which was a selection of toasties or wraps served with fries and slaw, at a very reasonable price. I had the Jamaican spiced chicken toastie, I must admit I was a little nervous of the spice, I like a bit of spice but not too much heat. This was perfect for me, good tasty spices but I didn’t feel like my mouth was on fire! It was also a decent amount of food, too much for my small appetite, but an average sized lunch for most.
On the table were a selection of hot sauces, me being a bit of a spice wimp gave one of the more mild ones a go. A friend with me loves spice, I mean she can pretty much eat anything. She tasted even the very hottest of them and ate it as if it was mayo!
The PA with me on this occasion was a vegetarian. Having known quite a few vegetarians and vegans and many of my PAs being them, I’ve come to know that eating out isn’t always as accommodating as it could be for those herbivores, unless they want to eat goats cheese or mushrooms in some shape or form. Both dishes on the Turtle Bay lunch menu on this day involved mango, she didn’t really fancy mango, not that I blame her. Asking for the salmon and goats cheese toastie without the salmon, the waitress gave a puzzled look. Explaining the situation to the waitress she suggested that the chef would be quite happy to make up any toastie she desired. The order was left that as long as the toastie involved cheese and some roasted veg, let it be a surprise. What arrived was a well stuffed toastie filled with cheese, chickpeas, peppers, sauces and who knows what else. My PA was really pleased and I must say I would have been happy too. When asked by the waitress for feedback she said it was really tasty and should be on the menu. Since re-browsing the menu today while writing this post I notice that there is now an alternative veggie and chickpea toastie on the menu, I’m not saying that we are the reason why, but wouldn’t it be great if we were?! Lesson learned, always ask, the worst you can get is a no.
Would you like the dessert menu? Ha.
As someone that ALWAYS browses the dessert menu before ordering a main (just to check if I need to save space!) I’d already decided that I wanted to try the Spiced Chocolate Pot. Enquiring with the waitress she informed me that it can be quite spicy so be warned (I think she remembered I was a wimp when I asked about the sauces earlier). Ah well I thought, lets go for it, be brave! The first bite was ok, a slight kick but nothing scary, served with a lovely cooling milky coconut ice cream. My PA had ordered the same, with her first bite she was panting, coughing and taking big scoops of the ice cream to cool her tongue down. I was still ok. Until I did find a hot bit. Wow. I did really enjoy it though, in the way you like the thrill of a rollercoaster. Our spice proof friend had a taste of each of our Chocolate Pots (she’d gone for a brownie the wimp) and she did say my PAs was hotter. Mine was in parts, it was a bit like Russian roulette, depending on how it was mixed you could get a real kick!
The service and hospitality at Turtle Bay Norwich was second to none, going out of their way to make sure we had an enjoyable lunch, the service was fast but not rushed. Regularly checking if we wanted anything, yet not feeling on top of us.
I can’t wait to go back and try some of those cocktails!