Vegan at its best!

the good life offers tasty cuisine leaving vegans and meat eaters

wanting more

by Leigh-Ann Worrell†

For many Barbadians, no meal is complete without meat.

Veganism and vegetarianism have usually been attached to those with a particular religious belief or something done under a doctor’s strict orders. However, a local new restaurant is showing that vegan can be just as addictive as barbequed pig tails.

“We find creatively designed ways to use vegetables, tofu, mushrooms and have some fun with some vegan meats,” manager of The Good Life, Dempstu Simmons Jr. told Bajan Vibes recently.

During our brief interview, the lunch crowd trickled in the intimately-sized Rockley, Christ Church location, taking their fill of specials, smoothies and shakes.

Citrus spare ribs, black pepper beef steak, teriyaki chicken are some of the vegan “meats” on the menu at The Good Life, which are made from fermented soy.

“They may have the appearance of the meat, but they are flavoured with different spices to have a very unique taste. We buy it and add our own flavours to it.”

Opened in October last year, Simmons, also well known as a Spoken Word artist, said owners Everton Holligan, better known as Heru and Richard Goddard, known as Neter, realised there was a dearth in options when it came to vegan dining. Regular restaurants provided limited options to those who did not eat meat or its by-products.

“Here at The Good Life, you can be exposed to fantastic dining and good service. Even meat eaters love us, because we specialise in vegan cuisine but it has a taste for those who have a meat palette,” Simmons continued.

And the reviews have been good.

Satisfied customers have posted their pleasure on the cafe’s Facebook page, praising the healthy, yet tasty food on offer. The Barbados TODAY team also sampled the day’s special of creamed potato and curry coconut channa with plantain and tossed salad. Our rating? Two satisfied bellies and a craving for more.

The taste was also what lured Simmons into becoming part of The Good Life team.

“From the time I ate from the owners about six years ago, I was hooked on their cooking. It is good for you, yes, but it tastes good too… The two owners are very passionate, and when I came on board I shared their passion…”

The manager admitted it was difficult to get the business off the ground, but it was worth it. He reported business was growing gradually, mainly with the help of friends, word-of-mouth and luck of the location. In return, management tried wherever possible to buy Bajan.

“We at the Good Life looking to support nuff local things. We buy our fruit from the market on a Saturday morning, we support Shalana’s Natural Wines, [and] we try our very best to push Barbadian,” Simmons asserted.

Their support of the best Barbados had to offer could also be witnessed five nights a week, where the space transformed into a stage, showcasing the best of local talent. This ranged from jazz with Gigi Ma’at on Wednesday nights, to open mics hosted by Empress Zingha, stand-up comedy, or the popular Sunday street fair and sunset lime, featuring the beautiful vocals of Indra iNDRANi Rudder.

While the response to the vegan restaurant has been good, Simmons revealed the management was working on making it better, by including a breakfast menu and extending its dinner menu.

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