Having followed Chef Jorge Rodriguez since his time in Abu Dhabi we have been fond of his cooking style for quite some time. So, when we had a craving for Mexican cuisine it was a simple choice to head over to Tortuga where chef now heads up the kitchen. Located at the picturesque Jumeirah Mina A’Salam, we make our way through the hotel lobby and to the restaurant. With temperatures perfect this time of year, we opt to take a seat on the large outdoor terrace, and with uninterrupted views of the waterways it makes for the perfect backdrop.
Latin tunes have us tapping our feet as we look over the mouth-watering menu. Orders placed, we take a moment to take in the striking view. First out is the Hamachi Aguachile, finely sliced yellowtail is bathed in a liquid of chili peppers, lime juice, salt, cilantro oil and finished with avocado. To the taste, a multitude of flavours emerge, from the rich silky fish, tangy chili, creamy avocado to the fresh cilantro.
From the appetizers, we select the Guacamole and Chips, naturally. A simple dish of Hass avocados with a splash of lime, we opt out of having chilies and salsa, although those that prefer a bit of flair to their guacamole need only advise the staff. Light and smooth in texture, Tortuga proves that even a dish as simple as guacamole can be elevated when done right. The team advise us that they only serve the guacamole when they have the freshest Hass avocados available to the restaurant.
How can I visit a Mexican restaurant and not taste the corn dish? Quite simple, I can’t. The Grill Elote Asado (fresh grilled corn) at Tortuga comes served in a lathering of homemade mayo, cotija cheese and chili powered, a squirt of lime and our tastebuds are celebrating a fiesta of their own. Admittedly, I probably get more over me than in my mouth, as delightful as the dish is, it is extremely messy.
Moving onto one of Mexico’s most popular street foods, we browse the taco offerings. My dining companion opts for the Grilled Steak Tacos (a signature dish on the menu) whilst I am swayed towards the Battered Black Tiger Prawn Tacos. Both arrive in portions of three, more than enough for an appetizer. Grilled Steak sits on a light and airy taco, with a generous layer of cheese, onions, coriander and salsa. An enjoyable dish, but we both decide that the Battered Black Tiger Prawn Tacos are by far superior. The contrast of tamarind sauce, chipotle mayo and red cabbage, when set against the battered prawn are an absolutely sublime combination.
However, the highlight of our dining experience is the next dish, the Arroz De Mariscos, similar to the Spanish paella this bold Mexican fusion offers the same rice base, but with a slightly more soup-like texture, with large portions of shrimps, squid and octopus evident with each spoonful. This would be one dish we would most definitely order again.
Although the Tres Leches Cake is an extremely tempting way to conclude our lunch excursion through Mexican cuisine, we opt for the humble yet delightful Churros. Dusted in a light cinnamon sugar and served with a pot of Mexican chocolate, these Churros are perfect for small dips of indulgence.
Overall, we had a delightful dining experience at Tortuga. The waiting staff are upbeat and genuinely exude a cheerful and helpful attitude and Chef Rodriguez’s cooking continues to highlight the best of authentic Mexican cuisine, all this paired with the backdrop of one of the most picturesque settings, what could we possibly criticize? In short, nothing.
We sampled just a few dishes from the expansive menu which offers everything from ceviche, salads, tacos, quesadillas, seafood, poultry, burritos, fajitas and more. Our advice, take a seat outdoors on the spanning terrace, order a range of dishes, (don’t be hesitant to experiment, staff are well versed to guide you through the menu), take in the views, tap away to the Latin beats, and enjoy one of the most relaxing lunches you could wish for. For those with younger children, you will be happy to know that children are catered for with a dedicated children’s menu that offers dishes such as Chicken Quesadilla, Mac and Cheese and Ice-Cream to name a few. Vegetarians also have a wide selection of dishes to choose from.
Hamachi Aguachile, AED 58
Guacamole and Chips, AED 70
Fresh Grilled Corn, AED 45
Grilled Steak Tacos, AED 65
Tiger Prawn Tacos, AED 60
Arroz De Mariscos, AED 190
Churros, AED 45