City Buzz: New £1m Caribbean restaurant opens at Leeds shopping centre

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LEEDS’S dining scene is incredibly diverse – with something for the fussiest or even the most well-informed food fans.

But one new restaurant is about to spice things up and bring some new flavours into the mix.

Turtle Bay, Caribbean Restaurant & Bar, The Light, Leeds.

Turtle Bay, Caribbean Restaurant & Bar, The Light, Leeds.

Turtle Bay is opening a brand new site at The Light shopping centre.

Taking over the former O’Neill store at a prime spot on Albion Street, the company has invested a cool £1m into the project.

City Buzz got an exclusive look around the 4,200sq ft restaurant before it opens on Tuesday, December 15.

Taking pride of place at the centre of the room is a beach shack bar, serving up cocktails and more than 40 types of Caribbean rum.

There is also a 150-cover seating area, where diners can tuck into over 50 Caribbean dishes, from jerk chicken and prawns to Turtle Bay patties and curried goat.

The menu offers bold flavours and rustic, authentic dishes inspired by the laid-back culture of the Caribbean.

The new venture will create 60 jobs and is the latest in a string of new restaurants for the company, which has sites in York, Cardiff, Manchester, London, Liverpool, Manchester and Nottingham.

The Leeds restaurant is teaming up with the Leeds West Indian Centre Charitable Trust (LWICCT ) for a special launch event.

On December 15, customers will not be given a bill – instead they will be asked to pay whatever they think their food was worth.

All the money raised from the ‘pay as you feel’ donations will go to the LWICCT.

Turtle Bay is also matching the amount that customers donate on the day in order to help boost funds for the Trust’s projects, such as a luncheon club for the elderly and the delivery of Caribbean soups to older people in the local community.

All of the money raised by Turtle Bay on its opening day will go directly to these projects and it is hoped that the amount raised will help cover the cost of continuing these services for the next year.

Ajith Jayawakimera, founder of Turtle Bay, said: “We’re really delighted to have organised this partnership.

“They’re such an established and key part of the city – an inspiring example of community spirit.

“We were keen to help them continue to flourish in the city that we’re about to become part of.”

Dr Carl Hylton, chairperson at LWICCT said: “It’s great that they’re getting involved with the local community.

“The luncheon club provides a vital service for many – it’s an important part of their week.”

He added: “We rely entirely on our wonderful volunteers, many of whom drive the lunches around the neighbourhoods and spend time with the elderly too, so it’s a really strong community initiative all round.”

It’s great to see that restaurants – even companies that have sites across the UK – are still keen to try and get involved and help the communities.

Let’s hope that in future, more restaurants take a leaf out of Turtle Bay’s book and look at how they can help enhance the city in which they hope to build a business.

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