Food

Kushite's 'Sexy Vegan'

Thursday, June 29, 2017

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For anyone who believes you can't have delicious food without meat, we challenge you to try a meal at Kushite's Vegetable Cuisine and leave a non-believer. The establishment is the most recent recipient of a Jamaica Observer Table Talk Food Awards for Best Vegetarian restaurant. Upon seeing the award one puzzled customer was prompted to ask “Since when did the restaurant switch to vegan food?” as she hadn't realised she wasn't eating meat the entire time. You truly couldn't ask for a more genuine stamp of approval!

“When we first opened,” shared co-principal Keisha McDonald, “we strategically didn't promote it as a health restaurant; instead we lured our customers in with delicious food”, a marketing strategy that is working for the well-trafficked institution.

There are innumerable health, political and environmental reasons to incorporate vegan dishes into your diet and now Kingston has added a new one at Kushite's new location in the Eden Wellness Centre at 39 Lady Musgrave Road. Co-principals Keisha McDonald and Kush Tafari are two sexy vegans aiming to bring “sexy vegan” to Jamaica. “When you think of vegetarian food in Jamaica you might associate it with a roadside cookshop. We wanted to revolutionise vegan dining and take it to a higher, fine-dining experience,” says co-owner and executive chef Kush Tafari.

Kushite's has certainly achieved this with its grand dining room and internationally influenced dishes. Its most popular dish is the Gourmet Ackee Wrap. “The wrap is made in-house with spelt flour, a more nutritious variety of wheat. We really pride ourselves on making everything from scratch,” says Tafari. Another crowd favourite is the Green Thai Curry Cashew Stew made with local ginger lemongrass and lime leaf combined with coconut milk to make a rich stew served over black rice. “It's a mouthful of goodness,” says McDonald, to which Thursday Food can happily testify .“Being vegan, there wasn't a lot of options so we cooked at home a lot and that gave us the experience to create the dishes,” McDonald adds.

Two Peas in a Pod

Co-principals Keisha McDonald and Kush Tafari are a love paired in vegetable heaven. Keisha McDonald is an attorney-at-law-turned-gourmet chef. When she returned to Jamaica from school in England she couldn't find the right dining experiences for healthy eating. Then she met partner Kush Tafari, who shared her passion and brought technical cooking experience. The two decided to pounce on the vegan gap in the Jamaican market opening their first restaurant in 2013. All is successful in business and in love as the two will be married at the end of the year.

Reasons to try Vegan

Cutting down on meat consumption is the easiest way to save our planet. Living on an island with rising sea levels is something we should all be concerned with. Production of animal meat emits more greenhouse gases than cars, planes and all other forms of transport combined according to the UN. If not for political reasons then consider your health. “When I first became a vegan 12 years ago, I immediately noticed greater energy, weight loss and my asthma became better,” says McDonald. “The research is overwhelming that a plant-based diet is better for you.”

For those looking for a healthy lunch option, the restaurant offers a 50% off lunch special which can be picked up or delivered. The duo also cater for special events. On the last Sunday of every month they host a brunch which features chickpea omelettes, ackee stuffed johnny cakes and cinnamon baked plantains. “We're also working on a secret project. We can't reveal all the details but we're working on something Jamaica hasn't seen yet, something that's quick and easy, something that's open from 7:00 am for breakfast.”

We look forward to seeing what the “sexy vegan” duo produce next.

Kushite's Vegetable Cuisine

Eden Gardens Wellness Centre

Tel : 3750642 or 6319101

Monday - Friday. Lunch 11:00 am- 4:00 pm , Dinner 6:00 pm - 10:00 pm

Wednesdays 11:00 am - 4:00 pm. Dinner 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Last Saturday Of the Month Brunch from 10:00 am - 6:00 pm

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