Turtle Bay Newcastle - Menu Review

My mum babysits for us once a month and we usually really struggle with where to visit for food - there is sooooo much choice in Newcastle these days! This month however there was only one place I wanted to take Steve and that was Turtle Bay. After an impressive launch night, I knew he would love it so I promptly booked us a table online.

We started our evening at Motel One where we were spending the night. I would recommend popping into their gorgeous lobby bar for a few cocktails if you get the chance - some of the friendliest staff I have encountered in a while. Motel One is located on High Bridge Street so just a few minutes walk away from the Gate and Turtle Bay. 

Motel One Newcastle lobby bar

Turtle Bay Cocktails

Our reservation was for 6pm on a Thursday night and the place already had a queue out of the door - always a good sign! The bar area was busy too with plenty of people making the most of the buy one get one free cocktails that are available from 11:30am - 7pm daily and then again after 10pm. 

A look inside Turtle Bay Newcastle interior

Expect a mix of reggae music from Bob Marley to Shaggy which all adds to the relaxed vibe of Turtle Bay. We were sitting right next to the open grill where the chefs were flaming some chicken and if I slightly closed my eyes I could almost imagine I was sitting in Oistins Fish Fry in Barbados. We made the most of the buy one get one free cocktails and sampled a few from the menu - if it is your first time visiting I recommend the Reggae Rum Punch to begin with. I liked that the dining area had their own bar so although the main bar was busy, we never had to wait long for our drinks.

Buy one get one free cocktails during happy hour at Turtle Bay Newcastle

Reggae Rum Punch at Turtle Bay Newcastle

Reggae Rum Punch at Turtle Bay Newcastle

Turtle Bay Restaurant

I set the ground rules with Steve early in the evening - we were going to share everything! We decided on Jerk Chicken Wings and Spicy Squid to start.

Menu at Turtle Bay Newcastle

Squid starter at Turtle Bay Newcastle

The Jerk Chicken Wings were AMAZING - pretty much the best we've ever tried. Just the right amount of sauce, super crispy skin and sweet, succulent meat that fell from the bone. I am craving them again as I type this and they will definitely be our go-to starter from now on. The squid was good with a nice amount of spice but the chicken wings were out of this world. I know, I know, there is more to Caribbean Cuisine than Jerk Chicken but you really must try these wings!

Jerk Chicken wings starter at Turtle Bay Newcastle

I had tried the One Pot Goat Curry on launch night and loved it so was keen to try this again. Steve decided to go for the Jerk Belly Pork.

Goat 'one pot' curry from Turtle Bay Newcastle

Goat 'one pot' curry from Turtle Bay Newcastle

The goat curry definitely had a lot less spice than last time and was less saucy however they goat was just as beautifully cooked. The portion was HUGE though and we couldn't finish it between us.

The Belly Pork was the winning main, I don't have a pic as it was covered in sauce and just not very photogenic - sometimes the best meals aren't though. The pork had been marinated with a spicy rub and was absolutely delicious. Along with a side of sweet potato fries and homemade coleslaw the dish was again a huge portion.

Spicy hot pepper table sauce at Turtle Bay Newcastle

You can add some extra spice to your dish should you need it with a selection of table sauces and I would take your server up on their offer of bringing you a jug of water for your table in case things do get a little too spicy (yes I was a little bit too liberal with the Hot Pepper Sauce).

Onto dessert, grilled pineapple is Steve's favourite so he was always going to order that and I decided to indulge in a spiced chocolate pot with coconut ice cream. 

Grilled Pineapple dessert from Turtle Bay Newcastle

Spiced chocolate one pot dessert and coconut ice cream from Turtle Bay Newcastle

The desserts were brilliant and I would recommend trying to leave some space if you can. My chocolate pot had a lovely warming spice running through it which was perfect with the coconut ice cream that actually tasted of real coconut. It was very rich though and I think that perhaps this may be a good option to share.

I need to give a special shout out to the staff who are wonderful. They are all bursting with energy, life and you might even catch them breaking into song or dance when their favourite tune comes on. They are just so happy and it shows. Our server was attentive, friendly, full of personality and happy to chat and recommend dishes which I always like.

Our final bill was £68 in total. This covered a 3 course meal for two people and 8 cocktails between us so was a very good deal.

Turtle Bay Newcastle - a Caribbean restaurant review near the Gate


Recommended places for the best Fish and Chips in the North East

Who doesn't love Fish n Chips? I'm fussy about where I get them from though and there's nothing worse than a disappointing fish supper! We are spoilt for choice when it comes to Fish and Chips in the North East though so I've asked for recommendations over on North East Family Fun's Facebook page.....

Recommended places for the best Fish and Chips in the North East

Moorhouse Farm Shop, near Stannington

I made the mistake a few weekends ago of trying to pop to our local shopping centre on Saturday lunch time to buy a few bits and bobs from M&S Food hall. OMG it was chaos! We spent 30 minutes trying to find a parking space before abandoning all hope and returning home empty handed. How annoying. We try to do most of our shopping at the Grainger Market and top up with Aldi/M&S/Waitrose however there are times when we can't get into town as often as we would like and sometimes I do have to pick up some groceries over the weekend and begrudgingly take the kids along.

I vowed not to brave my local shopping centre again last weekend and wracked my brains to find a solution. It was then I remembered Moorhouse Farm Shop. We used to be very regular customers however recently seemed to have forgotten about this gem so on Saturday afternoon we all piled in the car and headed a few miles down the A1. You will find Moorhouse Farm Shop just off the A1 near Stannington, Morpeth. Follow the signs for Stannington services and you will see brown signposts for the farm shop.

Moorhouse Farm for kids

We arrived at around 12:30pm and managed to park without any difficulty. Winning!! We decided to let the kids explore a little before heading inside to do our shopping. Moorhouse Farm is very child-friendly - there is a free outdoor play area, toy tractors to ride on, an outdoor sandpit and an indoor play barn.

Kids outdoor tractors and sandpit plus indoor play barn at Moorhouse Farm Shop Stannington, near Morpeth, Northumberland

Kids play park at Moorhouse Farm Shop Stannington, near Morpeth, Northumberland

You can also take a stroll around the animals and say hello. On one of our previous visits the friendly farmer has even invited the kids into the chicken coop to help him hunt for eggs. 

Chickens on the farm at Moorhouse Farm Shop Stannington, near Morpeth, Northumberland
Kids visit the goats on the farm at Moorhouse Farm Shop Stannington, near Morpeth, Northumberland

All of the above is completely FREE and beats walking around a supermarket with 3 kids in tow any day of the week!

Moorhouse Farm Shop

The farm shop was fairly busy so I didn't take many photos but there is so much local produce for sale from veg grown in Northumberland to home baked farmhouse cakes, fresh bread, a butchers counter, preserves, local and speciality drinks, fruit, chocolates, proper gravy.....the list is endless. I defy anyone to leave the shop empty handed. 

Tomatoes for sale from Moorhouse Farm Shop Stannington, near Morpeth, Northumberland

New season rhubarb for sale from Moorhouse Farm Shop Stannington, near Morpeth, Northumberland

Northumberland carrots for sale from Moorhouse Farm Shop Stannington, near Morpeth, Northumberland

Apples for sale from Moorhouse Farm Shop Stannington, near Morpeth, Northumberland

Jack choosing broccoli at Moorhouse Farm Shop near Stannington, Morpeth, Northumberland

The kids loved picking out their own veg for our Sunday lunch. For the 5 of us we bought:-

*1kg Shoulder of Pork from the butcher's counter
*Green beans
*Homemade farmhouse Yorkshire puddings
*Homemade Pork Gravy
*Local apple sauce
*Home baked Lemon drizzle cake

All for £26 which I think is a fantastic deal for a 2 course Sunday lunch for 5 using local ingredients. 

The Moorhouse Farm Coffee Shop

It wasn't long before the kids were moaning they were hungry which I swear is their favourite thing to do so we scouted out the farm's coffee shop to see if there were any free tables. We were in luck and grabbed a spot. I was super impressed with the prices - kids lunch boxes were £3.10 which included a sandwich (cheese, 'proper' ham or jam), a piece of fruit, a homemade biscuit and a carton of juice. 

Jack's face when his lunch arrived! 

Jack decided he would like fish fingers and chips for the bargain price of £2.50. The chips were homemade and I am gutted Jack wouldn't share! Children's meals are for children aged up to 12 however I do feel the portions would be on the small side for kids with a large appetite. For that price though you could order 2 if your kids were extra hungry. The portion was perfect for Jack's lunch. 

Kids fish fingers and chips from the children's menu in the Moorhouse Farm Coffee Shop

I can never pop into the coffee shop without admiring the cake counter and choosing a slice to share with Steve - they are huge and always light and fluffy. Todays choice was a Battenberg (£2.95) which was washed down with a Pumphreys coffee and pot of Rington's tea. 

Homemade Battenberg cake at Moorhouse Farm Shop near Stannington, Morpeth, Northumberland

In the summer you can sit on the terrace and there's a little play house for the kids too. Perfect.

Outdoor terrace at  Moorhouse Farm Shop near Stannington, Morpeth, Northumberland

We left thinking why oh why had we forgotten about this place? Shopping here for the weekend was sooooo much less stressful than trying to walk around a busy supermarket. We vowed to not leave it as long before we visit again. The shop is open 7 days a week too. 

Shopping with kids at Moorhouse Farm Shop near Stannington, Morpeth


Mother's Day Gift Experiences in the North East

Mother's Day is just around the corner (SUNDAY 6th MARCH) and this is the first Mother's Day in around four years that I actually have off work! Yeah I can't wait. On the day we have planned Sunday lunch at The Northumbrian Piper - a little hidden gem in Gosforth. I'm hoping the sun will have his hat on and the kids can play outside in the play area and I can R-E-L-A-X! I'll probably end up blogging about it so I'll let you know what it's like.

North East themed gifts for mum this Mother's Day

A little bit of history for you - Mothering Sunday falls on the fourth Sunday in lent and is exactly three weeks before Easter and dates back as far as the sixteenth century. It is an occasion for honouring the mother's of children and giving them presents. YEAH! I am always a huge supporter of local businesses and there are some FAB experiences available in the North East this year that I am sure any mother will love. Here are my favourites:-

1 - Mother's Day Live Music night at Gusto with Glen Roughead Swing Band

Gusto have pulled out all of the stops with their live music event which takes place on Thursday 3rd March at 7pm (please note this event takes place BEFORE Mother's Day so taking your mum out for the evening really will be a surprise).

Mother's Day Live Music Night with Glen Roughead Swing band at Newcastle Gusto

Tickets are just £30 each and include a delicious 2 course dinner & a glass of Prosecco on arrival. Guests will be entertained throughout the evening with live music from Glen Roughead Swing Band. I am so excited to have tickets to this event as it really will be a lovely treat.
To book:- Call 0191 260 2291

2 - Afternoon tea and Mamma Mia at Tyneside Bar Cafe

This special event takes place on Sunday 6 March (Mother's Day itself) at 3pm. For £22 per person guests can indulge in Afternoon Tea at Tyneside Bar Cafe featuring sandwiches, home-baked cakes, scones with clotted cream and Rington's tea or coffee with endless refills PLUS a glass of Prosecco whilst watching Mamma Mia on the big screen. 

Mother's Day Afternoon Tea with Mamma Mia at Tyneside Bar Cafe
Image Source | Tyneside Bar Cafe

To book:- Call 0191 227 5522 

3 - Mother's Day Afternoon Tea box from The French Oven

The French Oven is an award winning bakery in the heart of Newcastle (specifically the Grainger Market) and you can pre-order a special Mother's Day afternoon tea to collect and enjoy at home or perhaps on locations in your mum's favourite picnic spot if the sun is shining. Two of the options available include:- 

British afternoon tea for 2 people £12
2 traditional sandwiches
8 minature scones sweet and savoury
8 mini cakes including brownies, carrot cakes and more
6 little dainty sausage rolls and
Northumbrian tea bags

Luxury French Afternoon tea for 2 people £16
2 French sandwiches
8 mini quiche pieces
2 chocolate eclairs
2 individual frangipanes
2 classic french macarons and
tea bags.

The French Oven are also planning lots of special treats which can be personalised with 'mam' and Northumbrian breakfast boxes too. Boxes are available for delivery (to certain post codes) or collection.

Mother's Day Afternoon tea boxes from The French Oven Bakery
Image Source | The French Oven

To book:- Visit The French Oven Website or call 07921 082952 

4 - Mother's Day Pampering at Sammy Anne's

Sammy Anne's in Whitley Bay is my favourite salon and I just wish I had more time to indulge in their wonderful treatments! Luckily for me, I have planned some time to take my mum for this treatment and we both cannot wait.

Mother's Day Offer - can be booked throughout March 2016 only

For £37 per person you can enjoy a full body massage using a combination of Camellia oil, Lavender, Patchouli, Rose & Ylang Ylang essential oils to give your skin a luxurious treat, then a blackberry, rose petal & vanilla infused water to finish this 60 minute treatment. Sounds like heaven! This treatment can also be bought as a gift voucher (but must be booked in March).

Mother's day pampering at Sammy Anne's in Whitley Bay
Image Source | Sammy Annes

To book:-  Call 0191 2515944 or email sammyannes@hotmail.co.uk 

North East themed gift ideas for mum this Mother's Day

I'd love to hear how you are treating your mum this Mother's Day.


9 things you should know about Hinnies - a friendly neighbourhood restaurant in Whitley Bay

After reading this fabulous review of Hinnies from Feeding boys I just knew it would be my sort of place and couldn't wait to visit. Luckily for me, Chloe from New Girl in Toon was invited along and kindly asked me to be her plus one. Yeah! I have the best friends! We parked in a nearby street on a blustery Wednesday evening and were impressed at how busy, warm and welcoming Hinnies was. We spent a good few hours catching up over very good food and I cannot give Hinnies any higher praise. In fact, I tried to book a table this weekend with Steve and the kids only to find they were fully booked - a testament to how popular the place is.

Hinnies Restaurant, Whitley Bay - sea front exterior

9 things you should know about Hinnies 

1 - Andy Hook (the man behind the multi-award winning Blackfriars Restaurant in Newcastle) is the driving force behind Hinnies. This year marks a decade since Andy sold his first restaurant, Sidney’s on Front Street in Tynemouth and is a welcome return to the coast for him with his business partner David Townsley.

2 - Head chef Jonny Wardale has previously worked for Fresh Element (the people behind SIX at Baltic). His brother Chris Wardale is the head chef at Blackfriars and along with several members of the Blackfriars team will be lending his support to Jonny.

3 -Hinnies’ menu features a range of locally inspired dishes such as a modern take on the famous Saveloy Dip: smoked sausage, mustard, gravy-dipped bap, peas pudding. Steve cannot wait to try this! I sampled the Newcastle Brown Ale slow cooked beef & horseradish dumplings and have to say this dish was superb and highly recommended. The beef was so tender and rich and the whole dish just made me smile. There are lots of other local comforts on the menu including North East coast creamy crab soup, Pan Haggerty and of course, Singin' Hinnies which I am definitely going to try next time. 

Newcastle Borwn Ale slow cooked beef from Hinnies Restaurant, Whitley Bay
Newcastle Brown Ale slow cooked beef & horseradish dumpling

Singing Hinnies from Hinnies Restaurant, Whitley Bay
Singin' Hinnies

4 - A range of menus are available including a main menu, an early evening and lunch menu (2 courses £12) and a specials board. It annoys me when restaurants don't have a specials board as I often like to try something different so Hinnies has a huge thumbs up from me for this. I tried the cauliflower soup from the specials board and it was creamy, warming & comforting. 

Cauliflower soup starter from Hinnies Restaurant, Whitley Bay
Cauliflower Soup

5 -The interior of Hinnies was designed by Newcastle-based designer Neil Wilson and much of what you see inside the restaurant is recycled, including the chairs, tables, bric-a-brac, booths, front bar, back bar, floor, light fittings, cutlery, kitchen and kitchen equipment. This creates a rustic home-from-home feel that works well. I couldn't believe we were sitting in what once was How do you do - it is a complete transformation. 

The recycled interior of Hinnies Restaurant in Whitley Bay

6 - Children are extremely well catered for. There are lots of highchairs readily available and a children's menu has been especially created by the team to ensure little ones don't miss out. Expect warming hot chocolates, North sea fish goujons & chips and the chance to make your own pizzas or desserts. Prices are very reasonable too with most children's meals being charged at £3/£4.

Children's menu and create your own pizza's at Hinnies restaurant, Whitley Bay

Children's bucket and spade ice cream dessert from Hinnies restaurant, Whitley Bay

7- Hinnies has to be THE place to visit for weekend brunch. Who doesn't dream of long leisurely brunches? Well now you can indulge at Hinnies before/after a bracing coastal walk with their special weekend brunch menu available on Saturdays and Sundays from 9am.  Foraged mushrooms on toast, poached hen's egg and crispy bacon or corned beef hash sound like the perfect Saturday morning treat to me and the children aren't excluded with home-cooked options such as scrambled eggs on toast available too. 

Family Weekend brunch menu at Hinnies Restaurant, Whitley Bay

8 - I always like the option to book online and I'm pleased that you can do this at Hinnies via their website. They seem very popular so I would highly recommend booking a table with as much notice as possible.

9 - Hinnies serve a bargain Sunday lunch.  Options include locally sourced lamb or beef with yorkies, roasties, seasonal veg and gravy. Sunday lunch is available for the bargain price of £12 for 2 courses. I recommend the apple crumble and custard for dessert - probably one of the best I've ever tried!

Homemade Apple Crumble and Custard from Hinnies Restaurant, Whitley Bay

What can I say, Hinnies is a true gem and is definitely going to be a favourite lunch spot of ours. I am soooo pleased it is practically on my doorstep. It feels so good to finally have a local neighbourhood restaurant with delicious food at decent prices with friendly & welcoming service. 

9 things you should know about Hinnies restaurant in Whitley Bay - a review

Thank you to Unique Thinking for providing most of the images used in this post.

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