Saturday, 22 April 2017

Pretending I'm in the Caribbean at Middlesbrough's new restaurant - Turtle Bay

In Middlesbrough at the minute, we are starting to get some fab places to eat and drink popping up. It makes my heart happy knowing I have so much more choice now. With all the independents making waves on the food scene, it's nice to see chain restaurants starting to catch up with the introduction of Patisserie Valerie and even a Krispie Kreme stall!

There has been many rumours about further venues opening up including Bistrot Pierre, a french restaurant and an ice bar in the new snow centre which will be situated in Middlehaven but the one that I've been looking forward to is Turtle Bay. You'll be glad to hear that you haven't got long to wait at all to enjoy the flavours of the Caribbean, it opens tomorrow (Sunday 23rd April)!

Myself and a selection of other North East bloggers and media got a chance to visit Turtle Bay to experience the food and cocktails ahead of its opening.

Turtle Bay Middlesbrough Food Restaurant Bar Review Teesside
Turtle Bay Middlesbrough Food Restaurant Bar Review Teesside
Turtle Bay Middlesbrough Food Restaurant Bar Review Teesside

One big mistake a few of us made, that we quickly realised, when visiting Turtle Bay was that we had decided to drive. Turtle Bay's cocktail menu is laden with delicious choices for everyone using 40 different rums, my favourite spirit! With a two for one happy hour lasting all day (with the exclusion of 7pm-10pm) everyone will have the perfect excuse to try out copious cocktails. Next time I'll just make sure I'm not driving!

After sampling some drinks and hearing more about Middlesbrough's newest restaurant and stand alone bar, including the fact they serve over 50 authentic Caribbean dishes, have created 50 new local jobs and have the capacity of 231 seats, we sat down to sample some grub!

Turtle Bay Middlesbrough Food Restaurant Bar Review Teesside
Turtle Bay Middlesbrough Food Restaurant Bar Review Teesside
Turtle Bay Middlesbrough Food Restaurant Bar Review Teesside

The restaurant inside is absolutely stunning, everywhere is bright with colour adorned with posters, millions of lights and quirky Caribbean signage. You can't help but to stare at the restaurant as you are waiting for food to be served, well that's what I did anyway.

Once we were all seated, we began with two platters full of vegetarian and meat starters including sweetcorn fritter, okra fries, beef ribs and jerk chicken wings. All of the different elements were lovely and introduced our palettes to the spice that was going to be coming our way over the next few courses!

Turtle Bay Middlesbrough Food Restaurant Bar Review Teesside
Turtle Bay Middlesbrough Food Restaurant Bar Review Teesside

Next up was the curries. We had a vegan curry which may have been the spiciest thing I've ever tasted, apart from when I put too much chilli in my own cooking... It was full of tonnes of good stuff like sweet potato, spinach and kidney beans. We also had a beef and potato curry which I think quickly became the table's favourite.

When them two dishes were devoured another two came along. This time we were on to meat. They provided the table with a whole jerk chicken which was beautifully chargrilled and drizzled with a lovely chutney and some beef ribs. I'd never tried beef ribs before and I always say I don't like ribs, but these were super tasty. The meat fell off the bone and when paired with their watermelon chow it was so good.

Turtle Bay Middlesbrough Food Restaurant Bar Review Teesside
Turtle Bay Middlesbrough Food Restaurant Bar Review Teesside

Just when we thought that we couldn't stomach another main meal, they came out with the bobby dazzler. A meal made just for that night, they only went and made up a jerk parmo. Oh my, it was delicious. The chicken was super thin and the cheese and bechamel ratio was just right. We were all so disappointed that we wouldn't get to taste it again.

Now completely satisfied with our mains, it was time to see the desserts. Sat with mostly girls who were obsessed with sweet things, this was always going to be the most anticipated course. The selection board included rum and raisin bread pudding, chocolate brownie, passionfruit cheesecake, grilled pineapple and banana & toffee cheesecake. Everyone quickly starting taking forkfuls of each dessert. My favourite by a mile was the rum and raisin bread pudding. I've never had bread and butter pudding in my life, but oh this was something. It was super tasty and just melted in your mouth. With some ice cream I think this is going to be one of my favourite desserts.

Turtle Bay Middlesbrough Food Restaurant Bar Review Teesside
Turtle Bay Middlesbrough Food Restaurant Bar Review Teesside
Turtle Bay Middlesbrough Food Restaurant Bar Review Teesside

After all the food it was time to say our farewells and get excited about our return.

I hope that I've successfully made your mouth water and that you are ready to book your visit to Turtle Bay. I know that I am already looking the next occasion I can drink all the rum and eat all the jerk-spiced dishes.

If you're not from Middlesbrough, Turtle Bay have restaurants across the country, have a nosy at their website to find one close to you!
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Monday, 17 April 2017

Can you keep a secret? - Yarm's newest hotspot

I'm going to tell you about the upcoming place for drinks and nibbles in Yarm, but it is a secret, okay? Well the fact that it exists isn't a secret, but how you access it, now that's where you keep your lips sealed, right? 

I was recently tagged in a picture of a delicious spread of meats and cheeses accompanied by a host of cocktails by my good friend as a subtle nod that she wanted to visit. The Easter weekend creeped up on us and we decided it was the best time to visit.

Lost Property is a new spot for a civilised night out with your friends. Nothing like anything on Yarm high street already, Lost Property is something else. You may have noticed that you can't find it from the main road and that the Facebook page gives nothing away. Where is this magical place of mystery? Do you enter through a wall like Harry Potter, or is it simply a place of fiction? I can tell you right now that it's real because I've been!

The secret to get into Lost Property is in it's Facebook description referencing a taxi company that you may never have heard of. If you have a nosy at the shop fronts in Yarm, you'll soon come across it. A very unassuming taxi rank, ready to get you from A to B. Well walk in here, order your taxi and you'll be let into this secret spot.

Inside this place is visually gorgeous. They've used lots of wood, leather and dim lights to make this place feel like a speakeasy, and the vibe is brilliant.

Lost Property restaurant and bar Yarm Teesside Stockton

Lost Property restaurant and bar Yarm Teesside Stockton

Lost Property restaurant and bar Yarm Teesside Stockton

Lost Property restaurant and bar Yarm Teesside Stockton

Lost Property restaurant and bar Yarm Teesside Stockton

Lost Property restaurant and bar Yarm Teesside Stockton

The cocktail list in here is small but varied offering a variety of sweet, fruity and smoky drinks. There are however special drinks that can be explained to you if you fancy something off menu. For our second drink we did just that and I got the amazing candy floss cocktail you can see in the pictures! For our first drink we both selected off the main menu, I chose a Jailbird which was very floral covered in flowers, and Rachel chose a French Floosie which was very fruity and a little bit tart.

If you come into Lost Property you will have to order some food in order to get drinks, I think it's just the license that they have. This shouldn't be a problem for you as they have some delicious bits to pick from. We chose the Meat and Cheese Taster platter and picked three of each from their selection. It all came very well presented with a basket of bread, pots of chutneys, olives, grapes and other veggies. We really enjoyed our platter of treats, feeling very full as we worked out way through it.

We thought we were done after this and placed our order for an off-the-menu cocktail. We then saw a small plate of desserts making our way over that we weren't going to turn down. We were told that these were new and they'd like our feedback on the various treats. Of course we obliged trying to half each iddybiddy sweet so we could both have a taste. All were very nice but our joint favourite was the chocolate pistachio tart, it was filled with melted chocolate. We agreed we could eat five of these each...

When we left, coming out of the taxi rank, we both felt like we had a secret. A tasty, alcoholic secret that we were dying to let slip.

If you're looking for a quiet spot for delicious food and drinks in Yarm, this is for you.
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Sunday, 9 April 2017

Our new work lunch spot - Aurum Lounge, Middlesbrough

Everyone loves to get out of the office at lunchtime, especially on a Friday, to go and out to eat. Sometimes you try to be healthy but other times its all about the treats.  I work just outside of Middlesbrough town centre and there aren't many places to eat lunch around us that are great. Most places are too expensive, over-run by students or the food just isn't the best.

If you want the good stuff you have to trek all the way to the other side of town and then you are cutting into your time to eat. Recently a restaurant has opened 2 minutes from my work and I've just tried it out, not once, but twice.

The Aurum Lounge is a restaurant come shisha bar, offering a menu of organic gourmet food. From burgers and salads to steaks and extravagant desserts, Aurum Lounge provides the lot. I first visited with my Mum and I had the chicken burger, whilst she had the parmo with mushroom.

Aurum Lounge, Middlesbrough food review

Aurum Lounge, Middlesbrough food review

Aurum Lounge, Middlesbrough food review

Aurum Lounge, Middlesbrough food review

Aurum Lounge, Middlesbrough food review

I really enjoyed my chicken burger, although it was a little too spicy for me, but then I'm just a whimp with spices! Mum's parmo was nice, although I think it could have done with more bechamel sauce!

The second time I visited was a week later with my friend from work and we both decided on the chicken wrap. Although it still had the spicy taste, this time it seemed a lot more mild and I really enjoyed it. All the food is really good quality and they take great care in preparing your meal.

I really like the Aurum Lounge, it is a really calm, chilled out vibe. All the staff are friendly and happy to help with any request. I will definitely be back to try out more of their menu, maybe even tasting one of their desserts!
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