Arriving at Turtle Bay the exterior was welcoming and well lit. It was around 3pm on a Sunday and not too busy, with about half the restaurant tables occupied and approximately 10 guests sat around the spacious bar.
The restaurant has a Caribbean theme with reggae music and a beach feel. We were greeted at the door by the host who was very friendly and showed us to a small table which was fine as we were just stopping by for a drink and had a pushchair with us for our son, and the table avoided using the stairway. We were given a pair of their drinks menus, printed on brown recycled stock which fit nicely with the overall aesthetic of the venue. The host also let us know that there was currently a happy hour in operation, so cocktails were 2 for 1 at the bar.
The bar was well stocked, if a little untidy, and there seemed to be a good number of staff serving. Unfortunately, as quiet as the bar was, it took almost 15 mins to be acknowledged by anyone at all. One bartender, who seemed to be running the shift was serving the couple next to me and telling them the story of how she had got the job, which I enjoyed listening to. Unfortunately this distracted her from what she was doing and she made the wrong drinks for this couple, which combined with the happy hour meant they ended up with four cocktails for £6.85. Quite the deal. She didn’t acknowledge me at all throughout, but finally another bartender who was also training a new starter said she would be right with me and apologised as she was training a new bartender.
A couple of minutes later she returned, placed the bevnaps on the bar in front of me and took the order. Unfortunately the 2 for 1 deal has to be two matching cocktails, which is a shame as I would have liked to sample something else, and while the menu mentioned they had to be the same type, this is a little ambiguous and could have meant from the same menu section. I ordered a West Indies, a signature rum drink with falernum and blackberry and a peanut banana smoothie, both were very pleasant however the West Indies was served with the shaking ice just poured into the glass rather than straining over fresh ice, which means the drink is not as cold as it should be and the ice was likely to melt faster diluting the drink.
The round came to just over £10 and the bartender thanked me for my patience (very much the perfect words to use, acknowledging the delay by focusing on the positive of patience rather than apologising for the negative). Returning to our table my partner also commented on the delay, and while the manager was stood just a few feet away and overheard our conversation about the delay, (he kept glancing over so it was clear he was listening) he made no effort to come and discus the issue with us. We were really hoping that he would, he could have easily turned around the situation but made the decision not to bother.
Overall I was quite disappointed with Turtle Bay. While the decor is fantastic and the atmosphere in the bar is great, the drinks menu is excellent if executed with slightly lack lustre technique, but the experience is let down by unnecessarily slow service and management who don’t seem to care. Perhaps it was just a bad shift, a Sunday afternoon, weekend is over kind of attitude, but that Sunday afternoon could have been the first of many visits for us. As it is, we’re in no real rush to return.