Were you at the launch night of York’s newest restaurant? You might be in our photo gallery

Sampling the range of cocktails on offer
Live reggae heralds the opening of Turtle Bay in Little Stonegate

Live reggae heralds the opening of Turtle Bay in Little Stonegate. Photographs: Hannah Webster

First look review: Turtle Bay

Little Stonegate, York

Sun-Weds 11.30am-11pm; Thurs 11.30am-midnight; Fri & Sat 11.30am-1am

Turtle Bay website

The floor vibrated with the sound of live reggae as the crowds gathered for the VIP opening night of Turtle Bay – a new taste of the Caribbean on York’s Little Stonegate.

I was invited to the restaurant’s launch party earlier this month. They’ve actually been open a few weeks – several friends have already been and really enjoyed it.

The brand has a good reputation amongst friends in other parts of the country so I happily accepted the invitation, well it would have been rude not to!

The long tables had been removed from the main body of the room and it was full of people, dancing to the band and the DJ that preceded it.

Raising a glass (or 3) to York's latest restaurant and bar

Raising a glass (or 3) to York’s latest restaurant and bar

Turtle Bay - a colourful taste of the Caribbean in the centre of York

Turtle Bay – a colourful taste of the Caribbean in the centre of York

The raised seating area was reminiscent of an American subway; typical of the décor in Turtle Bay, which was quirky and different and grabbed my attention.

The lighting was dim, with the ceiling covered in tiny lights on strings which, for some reason, made me think of New Orleans.

In the frame: are you and your friends in our gallery of launch night pictures?

In the frame: are you and your friends in our gallery of launch night pictures?

Live music got the party started at Turtle Bay's VIP launch night

Live music gets the party started at Turtle Bay’s VIP launch night

Platters of finger-sized food were passed around by a large team of waiting staff. It was at this stage I starting pining a little for a table as trying to eat curry with a spoon while juggling a drink at the same time proved interesting.

We sampled sweetcorn fritters (heaven), plantain (an acquired taste that I don’t think I’ll acquire, but which proved popular with everyone else), a chicken curry dish that had a refreshing kick (from something I still can’t identify), ribs, chicken wings and calamari. All were outstanding.

Crowds gathered round the bar for drinks - and catching up with mates

Crowds gather round the bar for drinks – and to catch up with mates

Platters of outstanding Caribbean food were handed out throughout the evening

Platters of outstanding Caribbean food are handed out to the hungry crowd

Friendly waiting staff made everyone feel at home

Friendly waiting staff make everyone feel at home

The staff were friendly, enthusiastic and helpful. You could see they were enjoying themselves and that made for a really good atmosphere and vibe.

I have a friend who uses a mobility scooter and we sometimes struggle to find somewhere to eat when she comes to York, so I inquired about access and was assured that there’s a large walkway to one side of the tables that gives easy access to all the facilities.

The drinks were flowing and the bar was buzzing

The drinks flow and the bar begins to buzz

My only concern on the night was a passing thought that the large square bar might be a little too close to the front doors, creating a potential bottle-neck when Turtle Bay inevitably proves popular for cocktails at the start of a night out.

That said, I left knowing I would be booking a table again very soon as I think this venue has such a different vibe and menu.

Turtle Bay is somewhere you can go as a couple, as a family or as group of friends and have a very enjoyable evening.

The interior decor of Turtle Bay brings added vibrancy to York's restaurant scene

The interior decor of Turtle Bay brings added vibrancy to York’s restaurant scene

The party gets started in Little Stonegate's newest restaurant

The party gets started in Little Stonegate’s newest restaurant

A snapshot of a great night out (or is it a sneaky selfie?)

A snapshot of a great night out (or is it a sneaky selfie?)

You're going to regret that in the morning, lads (oh, go on then, another won't hurt)

You’re going to regret that in the morning, lads (oh, go on then, another won’t hurt)

There's something about the Caribbean atmosphere of Turtle Bay that got everyone smiling

There’s something about the Caribbean atmosphere of Turtle Bay that gets everyone smiling

Feeling the party vibe at the VIP launch night

Feeling the party vibe at the VIP launch night

Those reggae rhythms prove irresistible

Those reggae rhythms prove irresistible

Is that a sneaky rum cocktail you've got there, ladies?

Is that a sneaky rum cocktail you’ve got there, ladies?

Still partying - do these boys never stop?

Still partying – do these boys ever stop?

Friends raise a glass to York's colourful new eaterie

Friends raise a glass to York’s colourful new eaterie

Someone's having a good time

Someone’s having a good time

Everyone had a drink their hand (and some in the crook of their arm)

Everyone has a drink in their hand (and some in the crook of their arm)

Live music got everyone on their feet

Live music gets everyone on their feet

A musician's eye view of Turtle Bay

A musician’s eye view of Turtle Bay

Sampling the range of cocktails on offer

Sampling the range of cocktails on offer

A partygoer shows her appreciation for the boys in the band

Showing her appreciation for the boys in the band

Beer, music and good times - could these two be any happier?

Beer, music and good times – could these two be any happier?

They came, they saw, they partied

They came, they saw, they partied

Could you point me in the right direction for the bar?

Could you point me in the right direction for the bar?

Getting the party people up and dancing at Turtle Bay

Getting the party people up and dancing at Turtle Bay

Helen Stothard

Helen Stothard

Helen is an author, publisher and administrator in York. She loves music, theatre… and musical theatre
Helen Stothard

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