If you’ve been searching for a perfect piece of jerk chicken and maybe some rum to wash it down, rejoice, Caribbean cuisine has arrived in Bournemouth. In The Bag PR, along with a party of foodie bloggers and industry insiders, were lucky to attend a Caribbean cookery masterclass at the Turtle Bay Restaurant, hosted by Development and training Chef Colin Scott.
On arrival we found the table laid with tall bottles of a cold, fiery ginger beer which was a welcome sight for a thirsty traveller. We sipped at our glasses and exchanged greetings with our fellow guests, everyone admiring the vibrantly coloured oil drums which framed the bar and the wall of re-purposed shipping container doors which towered up to the mezzanine above us. The combination of the exotic surroundings and the untypically warm British weather made you feel as though you were on a Caribbean beach.
Turtle Bay Development and Training Chef, Colin Scott, was a passionate and animated host who has taken many a pilgrimage to the Caribbean Islands. During his visits he picked up a trade secret or two which is evident in the authentic food which made up the menu.
First up we were served an enamel bowl of curried goat which was spicy, bright and fragrant. As we ate Colin gave us a brief history of the origins of Caribbean cuisine, including how the global spice trade informed its flavours and how jerk was a traditional way to preserve food in hot climates.
It was difficult to give Colin our undivided attention when the food was so delicious, but we all dutifully tried to take in this history lesson whilst mopping up the dregs of our sauce with the roti. For those that were unaccustomed to the heat of the food were happy at the arrival of a round of drinks to help put out the fire! We sampled two milkshakes, one a passion fruit vanilla and the other an incredible peanut butter and banana combo. Finally, to help us get into the spirit there was a Marley Mojito, a refreshing mix of rum, mint, and watermelon topped with ginger beer.
We were then invited to a front row seat to watch the main event – and standing in front of the Turtle Bay’s custom made Robata grill we saw one of the expert chefs grill pieces of their 36 hour marinated chicken to perfection. The flames were licking at the sides of the chicken which was mopped continuously throughout, until it had a rich lacquered coating that was blackened and juicy.
In a typical no-nonsense fashion the chicken was cleaved through, bone and all, into several pieces and served with authentic rice and peas and a side of sweet potato chips. I’ve never personally been to the Caribbean but I have been fortunate to eat some extremely good Caribbean food in West London, and this was every bit as good.
As we were finishing our chicken Colin announced that desserts were on their way – it was the general consensus that none of us could eat another bite. However when the dessert tasting board arrived we quickly re-evaluated! There was a rum-soaked bread and butter pudding which was boozy and rich, and a delicious ‘Caymanas’ rum cake made locally by a Jamaican. A banana loaf and a dark chocolate brownie. All of this was complemented by the addition of slices of chargrilled pineapple in a rum and caramel sauce – too good to resist.
The food alone would be enough to recommend Turtle Bay, but throw in its funky atmosphere and extensive list of rum cocktails – it’s a no-brainer.
Review by In The Bag PR.