Turtle Bay, Preston

Just over a month ago I was fortunate to be invited to the launch party, and utter bender for half of Preston at Turtle Bay. I’d considered returning before now, but a) decided to give them a good month to bed themselves in, and get into a groove, and 2) the memories of that hangover the day following the launch party were still vivid. I blame the copious amounts of Wray overproof rum that friends kept giving me every time they returned from the bar.

Not ones for doing Dryathalon, Chiv (who accompanied me to the launch party) and I were out in Preston on Monday for a few ales, starting at The Black Horse Hotel and visiting some of the other excellent real ale pubs in the city centre. I’d already eaten at McDonalds to try the McRib for my blog a few hours before, but in true McFashion, I was hungry again, and Chiv hadn’t managed to eat anything yet, after sampling some very strong stouts the night before, so we decided to go check out Turtle Bay properly!

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As we entered it wasn’t quite clear whether we should wait to be seated, or to go take a seat. We walked in, looked confused, members of staff looked at us, and then eventually we were shown to a table, were given menus to look through and shortly after Tasha came over to take our orders.

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Food and drinks ordered I popped downstairs to the gents, and on my return I was greeted by this mural of a bottle of Wray overproof rum, taunting me about my previous excesses. I returned to the table and was surprised to see that drinks still hadn’t arrived. It was happy hour and 2-for-1 cocktails, but Chiv only ordered a Red Stripe and a Jamaican Shandy for me. We sat, waited, chatted and then I spotted what looked like our food on the pass. Drinks still hadn’t arrived. A minute or two went by and our drinks arrived, followed immediately by our food

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The Jamaican Shandy was ginger beer, Red Stripe and bitters, and was a brilliant drink that I’ll make at home in the future. Fiery ginger beer, too! Properly good!

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Chiv had the chicken curry with rice off the lunch/early diners menu.

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There were no complaints with this from Chiv as he wolfed it down. It had good levels of spice, and he didn’t seem to mind the usage of chicken breast (when I sampled this at the launch party I found it to be dry because of using breast meat).

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I had the pulled jerk chicken bun from the same early diners menu, as I fancied jerk chicken, but didn’t fancy a massive plate of food before drinking more real ale.

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This came with fries, which had a nice spicy seasoning and coleslaw, however, the coleslaw had sultanas or raisins in it (I hate them both, they’re basically the same thing, yeah?) which I picked out. Why do people want to ruin coleslaw by putting those things in it?

Only problem is, a couple of bites into my pulled chicken bun and I realised that it was barely lukewarm, and the chips were soggy and slightly crunchy on the inside. Nobody wants undercooked chips. I managed to get Tasha’s attention to ask if the chicken was supposed to be that cool, and mentioned the problem with the chips, and she insisted on taking it back and soon after brought me another bun and portion of fries.

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I’m happy to say that this time the pulled chicken was much warmer, and even spicier too, which is not a complaint, I love delicious jerk flavours! The fries were crisp and crunchy, and a joy to eat. As I started to feel myself getting full, I decided to abandon the bun, and eat the meat inside with a fork, because that’s the best part of the meal!

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Ah, a quite sizeable bone. Not only that, it was really sharp.

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I’m fortunate that I was eating with cutlery at this point and not eating it like a sandwich, if I’d bitten into this it could have cut my gum/roof of my mouth/throat, and that would have sucked… and hurt a fair bit, and I would have said naughty words. I put the bone to the side of my plate piece of wood, and continued eating until full.

As Tasha came back to collect empty dishes and pieces of wood I felt like the worst person, having a third complaint, but this to me is a biggie. Bones that big in a sandwich meal are unacceptable to me, it’s something that should have been noticed when shredding the chicken.

Tasha mentioned it to the chef and returned saying that the chef apologised but to say that the meat has bones in it. This kinda annoyed me, and I need to stress, I’m not annoyed with Tasha, she was delightful and charming, but I’m annoyed with the chef, this to me feels like the chef hasn’t put enough care into making sure no bones remained, and furthermore I felt like he’d assumed I didn’t know meat came attached to bones. Perhaps I’m being a bit sensitive but that’s how I felt about it.

The food at Turtle Bay was pleasant enough, and I’ll definitely return soon, I’ll just order meat on the bone, so at least I know what to expect in the future.

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