Having defied all conventional wisdom by opening just a week before Christmas last year, Turtle Bay’s new Leeds opening seems to have hit the ground running.
Despite a poorly judged and even worse-received marketing campaign and app that stopped one short of blackface when encouraged customers the “Rastafy themselves”, trade didn’t seem to take a hit. The traditional “January slump” is apparently the only thing that Turtle Bay wasn’t dreading. Even when I was getting a tour of the restaurant before it had even opened, I counted 15 people in the space of two hours wandering in to try and get a table.
That said, owner Ajith Jayawickrema is no stranger to casual dining start-ups; he’s the man who started Las Iguanas from nothing and turned it into a £27million, 35-site empire. With Leeds playing host to the 15th Turtle Bay restaurant to open since it started out in 2010 he seems to be repeating his former success, so obviously his methods aren’t to be questioned.