MKFM Review: The Hub Milton Keynes
April 12th marked the easing of lockdown restrictions and MK residents began reuniting with friends and family outside pubs and bars. I have been longing to take my mum out and have a proper catch up over some great food and drinks in a buzzy atmosphere for months and The Hub Milton Keynes lived up to every hope I had for the evening.
From the moment we walked into The Hub we could hear the sounds we've all missed for so long - friends laughing together, drinks clinking and the buzz was so energising. Despite the slightly cooler weather than we'd hoped for, lots of people were out enjoying themselves in the sunshine at The Hub. There were plenty of people to provide a great atmosphere but not too many to overwhelm you, after 12 months of minimal contact.
Mum and I arrived to Turtle Bay at 6.30pm and were welcomed on arrival by the friendly front of house staff who briefed us on the new safety measures in place (see details below) and promptly showed us to our table. Considering it was early evening we were amazed at how buzzy the atmosphere was. With the bright Caribbean colours of the furniture, sun shining and sound of the cocktail shakers it really felt like we were on holiday in MK!
I want to say a huge thank you to Vikki, our waitress for the evening, who was friendly, accommodating and happy to recommend dishes from the wide array on the menu. And Michael, the General Manager of Turtle Bay, for making us feel so welcome and looked after throughout our dinner. Speaking of dinner...
Food & Drinks
We shared starters of Crispy Chilli Squid - marinated in mildly spiced coconut milk, crumbed and crisped, with mango mole and mild jerk mayo, and jerk grilled halloumi with fresh watermelon sprinkled with a spice mix, a sweet and fiery combo. Halloumi and watermelon is one of my favourite flavour combinations and a traditional snack my family in Cyprus have always devoured but the seasoning that was added in Turtle Bay really took it to another level - highly recommend!
For mains we had Bay Jerk Chicken - a fiery home recipe bay jerk sauce, with scotch bonnet, allspice and thyme - the flavour of Jamaica smothered over half chicken and served with coconut rice and peas. The chicken was succulent and flavoursome - not surprising considering it is marinated for 24 hours before fire grilled!
We also enjoyed a new addition to the menu, Caribbean Curry Katsu - crispy chicken breast, scotch bonnet spiced coconut milk sauce and coconut rice & peas. My mum loved the rich Caribbean flavour of the sauce, accompanied by the crispiness of the chicken and it was all served piping hot!
Just when you think you can't eat another bite, you remember you have a second stomach designed for desserts and that Turtle Bay serve Sticky Ginger Pudding...it would be rude not to! The perfect combo of a sticky toffee pudding and Jamaican Ginger cake - beautifully spiced and sticky, served warm with some vanilla ice cream, we were in heaven!
All washed down with a Red Stripe beer for Mum (Jamaica’s beer of choice for over 90 years) and I enjoyed an Elderflower Cooler - both refreshing and perfectly balanced the warm food. Although after seeing the colourful cocktails across the restaurant we wish we'd opted for their 2For1 Happy Hour, next time!
We rounded off a lovely evening sipping cocktails at Blossom Room. The Zen Garden Mai Thai and Rhubarb cocktail were both fresh, colourful and dangerously delicious! It was my first time visiting Blossom Room and I felt like a tourist at a new attraction - the pink blossom on the ceiling, foliage at the entrance and eye-catching cocktails makes for a very 'Instagrammable' bar and restaurant!
COVID-19 safety measures
Considering the current climate, I think it's important to mention the safety measures in place at The Hub Milton Keynes. I understand it can be a little daunting visiting somewhere in these times and not knowing what to expect.
Everything was clearly signposted and we were given a briefing upon arrival at both venues about the new set up including; wearing face coverings when walking through the restaurant, to sanitise our hands on arrival and that it was table service only. The staff wore masks, the tables were spaced out accordingly with sanitiser and QR codes and social distancing rules were being followed which made me feel so at ease that I temporarily forgot about the pandemic and just enjoyed an evening out in MK!
I highly recommend a visit to The Hub for a few cheeky cocktails, great food with friends and to soak up the atmosphere we've been craving over the last year.