It’s been a little while since I last wrote for Student Wire, but I’m back. With a good placement year under my belt and the end of final year looming, you can imagine my joy at hearing an invite to Turtle Bay’s VIP Cocktail Masterclass had my name on it. The perfect way to kick back and forget university stress is definitely a fun night like this…
I’d never been to Turtle Bay before, just always admired the sparkly lights and bright colours on my daily walk into work. It’s predecessor being an O’Neill surf-shop, it’s nice to see this building hasn’t strayed too far from it’s beachy roots. Walking in, you’re hit by the worlds favourite smell – Chicken. But don’t be fooled, Turtle Bay isn’t like Nando’s, it’s more of a fully conceptual experience…and a whole lot spicier. The reggae was on full blast, the square bar was busy and the restaurant almost full. You can see why this restaurant is so popular, you really do feel like you’ve been transported to the Caribbean and everybody is incredibly welcoming!
Greeted by a welcome drink, the PR guys running the event and also our very own Rum expert, I was seated with the rest of the guests to get acquainted before it all began. An unrivalled Rum display was on show, with my personal favourite Santa Teresa Rhum Orange standing proudly. With a background in bartending & hospitality, I was excited to see what set Turtle Bay’s Masterclasses apart from the other offerings in the city. Well let me put it this way, no pre-mixed drinks in sight and we were definitely not rushed.
Our Rum expert came over and he was a real showman. The last thing you want is for somebody droning on about something in a monotonous voice (we get that at Uni…am I right?) so I was so pleased to get some serious entertainment in the form of this guy. That’s what I love about the Turtle Bay brand, they’ve got that relaxed Caribbean attitude and an impressive sense of humour! We got to taste four fantastic rums spanning from spiced, overproof & dark. Wray & Nephew Overproof will change the way you see bananas forever and seriously knock your socks off (if you try it, you’ll know!).
After the (very comprehensive) rum tasting, it was onto the cocktails. As we were such a large group (12+) we got the opportunity to make two of each of the six cocktails. I loved how at Turtle Bay, they totally encourage free-pouring. This is such a more realistic view of ‘real bartending’ as learning how to count pours is a great skill to learn and also looks really cool too. It was fun watching everybody over pour their rum and under pour their juices ending up with a really strong cocktail which had to be amended otherwise we never would of got through all twelve! My favourite was definitley the Reggae Rum Punch which literally was the epitome of a tropical cocktail.
After we were well and truly full of Rum, it was onto the ‘Beach Food’ sharing platters. We were given one of these between two, but I 100% could of eaten one of these to myself. Absolutely gorgeous and a good amount of spice. Chicken wings were top notch as you’d expect and the sweet corn fritters were to die for.
My friend and I were so impressed with our experience that we stayed and ordered a main each. I’d massively recommend the ‘Kingston Chicken Toastie’ which is basically a chicken cheese toastie, but with garlic bread and some seriously seasoned chicken. Paired with fries a can of ‘Ting’ it was the perfect end to the night.
If you’re looking for a fun way to spend your birthday or even as an end of year flatmate goodbye…Turtle Bay will ensure you have a night to remember and have you asking for their recipes on the way out!
Turtle Bay Leeds,
14 The Light,
0113 242 6000