This little Caribbean restaurant first became known to me before I came to live in Southampton, through one of my closest lady-friends Miss Ellie Wicks, who had visited the city a few months before. She had the good nature to tell me how good the food was and indeed how strong the cocktails were. Of course in my current partial-abstinence from alcohol the latter was not as appealing to me when I went on the 14th of this month compared to how excited I was when Miss Wicks had told me in the first place.
I went to Turtle Bay with three of my close compatriots from back home in Poole: Alex Murray, aspirant Music journalist Dan Gibson and electrician Dan Lockyer, who had descended to Southampton in order to lift my spirits; low as homesickness has made them. The establishment, emblazoned from the inside with images of Jamaica’s finest Bob Marley, sits opposite one of the university buildings, divided by a large concrete square, which we would come to discover plays host to several Tony Hawk wannabes. The four of us expressed great schadenfreude in watching them mess up or indeed almost fall off their skateboards (such wonderful people that we are).
Lunch is normally eaten in lieu of dinner when I go to a restaurant, although with the prices on their menu, not to mention the use of typically-West Indian vocabulary, I decided to play it safe on this occasion. I opted for what is known as a Pulled Chicken Burger (not very interesting I know) (see pictured).
Burgers – especially chicken burgers – are not the sort of calibre of cuisine I typically go for at all. I like a barbeque as much as the next person, but even so. This is October after all. And really, it was not anything very special either. Served as you see in the photograph, one finds thankfully the chicken is not breaded or deep fried (probably what entitles it to be “pulled”), but swamped in the Caribbean slaw, consisting of carrots, red onions and mayonnaise. As much as the chicken was really moist and well-tasting, and even the slaw did not fail to impress (especially since mayonnaise-based foods are normally repulsive to me), I could not pick it up to eat it. Mr Gibson, who was seated to my right, did remark about my eating it with cutlery. I do not know whether it was simply the softness of the bread or whether the chicken was so moist that it had weakened the bun. In the wake of that, when cutting the bun on the tissue paper it comes served on, I found I occasionally found a chewy, papery surprise accompany the mouthful. Not really impressed, in all honesty.
When my reluctance towards alcohol comes to a complete end, I will come back to Turtle Bay with a mind for their cocktails and hopefully a better meal. Sad to say actually at the moment this venue falls quite toward the bottom of my rankings for this year. Still it is quite refreshing to write something negative about a place for once.