The other night I had the pleasure of attending the launch party for the new Turtle Bay in Durham. I have never actually been to a Turtle Bay before so I was quite excited to try somewhere new. I live local to Durham and I was also pleased that there was another new addition to the area. The new restaurant/bar, serving the best Caribbean food is newly located on the Riverwalk.
So Many Lights
Upon arrival I was instantly drawn to all the beautiful lighting that shone through the glass windows. Lots of fairy lights everywhere and I could see so many vibrant colours before I even walked in. The whole place was very aesthetically pleasing. Friendly staff greeted me as I walked in to the venue, along a red carpet. I was excited to get inside
An Amazing Atmosphere
Inside was busy but everything was managed very well and was organised. We were instantly handed a cocktail and made to feel very welcome. The whole place was buzzing and everyone looked like they were having the best time. People were generally dressed up which I was relieved at as I never know what to wear for these things. They can be so varied! I went for a Pink Vanilla cropped top and a PU leather skirt from New Look.
Try the Mai Thais
First thing we did was head to the bar. We stood and finished off our welcome cocktail and browsed the menu ready for our next drink. The drinks were free which made me want to cry a little with it being a Thurs night…School run the next morning!! So I didn’t get to take full advantage of that sadly but I certainly gave a good few cocktails a try! They were all really flavourful and I really enjoyed them. The Mai thai was really yummy but also lethal since it went down far too easily. Like drinking juice.
At The Bar
One thing I have to say is that the staff on the bar handled it like a champ! It was their very first night and they certainly weren’t eased in gently! They all had great attitudes, were quick, helpful and just generally great! There was one lady in particular with awesome purple hair who was just a delight. I believe her name is Natalie. She was the one who told me to try a Mai Thai and she had the best energy ever. Even handed me the cocktail shaker to shake along to the music myself. What a star!
Tasting The Food
We then noticed that food was being brought round on platters. We smelled it before we actually saw it. It smelled unbelievable. I was so keen to try the food although I am very picky so was worried there would be nothing for me. The first few were things I sadly don’t eat, like fish and red meat, but my husband was more than willing to be the guinea pig and he very much enjoyed them. Eventually some chicken wings, chicken curry pots, sweet corn fritters, sweet potato fries came by and I was all over that! All very yummy. I really really enjoyed the food and if it wasn’t for the fact I would have looked like a greedy cow I would have piled my hands full of it all. My husband and I both agreed we would happily come here for food and would even come with the kids.
We got chatting to some staff who were working the floor with platters of food and they again had amazing energy. We even all had a little dance at one point. Both lovely ladies, Sophie H and Lauren G. One of them was very helpful when I couldn’t find my husband after a trip to the loo and she ran upstairs to look for me. We eventually found him at the bar..I should have checked there first! Both ladies continued to say hi and chat to us throughout the evening, they were a delight to speak to.
We had a good look around the rest of the venue before the band started. The whole venue was alive with the lights I mentioned earlier. Lots of lit up signs and colour in the room made it so inviting and pleasant to look at. Reminded me of being on holiday, with the caribbean theme. They just had the vibe right! We checked out upstairs which was a smaller area with a little outdoor terrace. I can imagine that upstairs would be perfect booked out for a party! There was another bar upstairs so no having to go up and down for drinks which was ideal since there were a good few steps!
We came downstairs ready for the band starting and wow what a band it was! A full Reggae band with many instruments and singers. I absolutely loved it! You could definitely dance to the music and lots of people were getting up to dance. It was just such feel good music! The only thing was we struggled to get a seat with it being busy so we couldn’t sit and watch. We found somewhere to sit eventually but it was away from the band. We could still fully hear and enjoy the music however as it filled the whole venue.
The whole experience was very pleasant and I will definitely be returning in the future to sample the food properly. I would be interested to find out about things like intolerence/allergies in regards to food. I did notice the little VE (vegan) symbol on the drinks menu! Also I would love to try it with the kids and see how it is for them. I will have to update you all on what it was like to go with the family.
Last shout out goes to Niall on the door. He was the perfect person to greet everyone! Such a lovely guy who was so nice to chat to!
Well done to all of the team for an incredible launch event! Turtle Bay is a brilliant new addition to the city of Durham and I am sure it will be very popular.