Feeling extremely sorry for myself after just recovering from a bad cold, I decided to venture out my house and treat myself to some good food – I needed to nourish my mind, body and soul so the Calabash of Culture and The LoveGift were the only restaurants I had in mind last weekend considering they are both vegan with a dominant Caribbean influence!

Both in South-East London; LoveGift is located in Honor Oak Park, whilst Calabash resides on Sydenham High St.
Calabash and LoveGift prepare their menus with nutritional goodness in mind with the desire to enhance your health and wellness with every mouthful. By infusing the unique spices and herbs from the Caribbean the two restaurants do not fail to provide their customers with affordable and delicious meals.

Food and cooking in Caribbean and African cultures is not only used as a form of creative expression but is one of the main features of our culture and cultural identity. It is not only a time to enjoy food but to also catch up with family and friends.
The beauty of both restaurants is that as soon as I walked in I was made to feel at home. I was soon conversing with other diners from all cultures making me feel relaxed and at ease and I felt like I was catching up with old friends even though they were complete strangers!

Love Gift Food Experience

Friendly staff welcomed me and after a short introduction they named me empress, which was a nice touch as it is a title commonly used within the Caribbean culture and used as a sign of respect to women.

I was talked through the menu and once I had an idea of what was on offer, I asked the waiters to surprise me with their own personal recommendation and they suggested the mixed plate.

I am so happy I listened the meal was presented beautifully, definitely leaving me with their signature rainbow experience. It was just the right size and the combinations of the different foods all complemented each other and on top of that I didn’t have to wait long.

The staff were all very accommodating and even cooked me up a herbal remedy to help combat my cold, which was much appreciated!

Calabash Food Experience

I found Raa the manager extremely friendly and welcoming as he took the time to go through the menu and tell Mama and I how the menu worked.

I felt let down that half of the main courses were not being served on the day we visited as they all looked super tasty.

I was impressed that the menu stated the health benefits of the juices and smoothies they had on offer and I would highly recommend the pear, apple and beetroot.

I ordered the medium meal that included two mains, a side dish and salad. Considering I had ordered the main meal I was disappointed with the size of the portions, as I felt there could have been more on my plate.

Although having to wait a while for the food to be prepared, when it did arrive we were not disappointed! The flavours were incredible and varied, so I’d definitely recommend it to my fellow vegan food-lovers.

Despite taking their time with the food, The Calabash provides customers with an organic experience and introduces them to the relaxed pace of the Caribbean lifestyle.

I would definitely recommend you give it a try; even just to give the shop itself a browse as it has a library of books on offer in regards to the African-Caribbean culture, yoga and meditation. They also host different events, including live music, poetry, drumming workshops and more.