You’ve booked a holiday to the island of Barbados. You’ve made a list of what to pack (sun cream, swimming costume and sarong is at the top of the list of course!) and skimmed travel guides to plan your ‘must see sites’ itinerary. But as you’re a vegan, there’s one question that keeps niggling at the back – what is there to eat? Will you be able to eat a decent meal? Does veganism exist in any of the Caribbean islands?
The Caribbean is known for its meals of jerk chicken, goat curry and fried fish. All dishes we’re sure to meat eaters. Now, there’s no denying that the Caribbean cater a bit more to vegetarians. Baked sweet potatoes, fried cou cou and hot peppers are used a lot in cooking, especially Barbadian cooking but a lot of dishes use accompanying ingredients that are not wholly suitable to vegans, such as cheesy macaroni and goat’s cheese.
You may now be wondering if Barbados wasn’t the greatest choice of holiday. But don’t be disheartened thinking Bajan cooking isn’t vegan-friendly. You’d be very wrong. There are many venues in Barbados that cater to both vegan and vegetarian foodies and they continue to open. Couples Barbados, formerly the Almond Casuarina Hotel, opened in June this year. A month later, the resort had another reason to celebrate – the opening of the Veggie Bar at Yes Please restaurant.
Located on Dover Beach, on the south of the island, the resort is the one and only all-inclusive resorts for adults in Barbados. The Veggie Bar itself is located inside the resort in a bright and spacious room decorated in white and dusk pink with potted plants adorning the walls, pink flamingo lilies on table tops and a bar laden with coconuts, bananas and pineapples. Staff are polite and friendly. They want you and your partner to have the most wonderful time of your lives at the resort by the swimming pool, out on the beach, in the spa or by the bar.
Available for brunch, lunch or an evening snack/early dinner, as well as salad options they have hot dishes as well. Wraps, rotis and pittas provide substantial meals. Highlights include spinach and sun-dried tomato focaccia with grilled vegetables and organic basil pesto (just ask them to omit the additional goat’s cheese) and a crunchy greens dish with toasted seeds, oranges with a citrus vinaigrette. The Bajan curried vegetable roti with local homemade chutney is a must try dish.
In terms of drinks, well, you can’t say you’ve been to Barbados without having tried a Bajan rum punch. Of course the bar staff will make your drinks but if you want to recreate the concoction to get yourself in the rum-tastic mood the method for making the drink is best remembered in the locals ditty:
One of sour, two of sweet
Three of strong and four of weak
A dash of bitters and a sprinkle of spice
Serve well chilled with plenty of ice.
One part pure lime juice. two parts sugar syrup
Three parts Barbados rum, four parts water or juice
A dash of Angostura bitters and a sprinkle of nutmeg
Served in a chilled glass full of ice.
For a delicious non-alcoholic drink that won’t make you as merry but is delicious all the same is coconut water. The stuff is rich in potassium, brilliant for rehydrating your body and also a cracking cure for a hangover.
Though the resort has many other fine restaurants, guests are more than welcome to return for every meal on every day to the Veggie Bar. As long as you leave with a smile on your face from a few rum punches and a belly full of good food you’re more than welcome.
The Veggie Bar serves delicious snacks suitable for vegetarians and vegans from early brunch to tea time in a fun and festive atmosphere. The restaurant’s name was previously called Enid’s but Couples Resorts encouraged couples to come up with a new restaurant name to coincide with the launch of the boutique-style hotel. The contest winner came up with the name Yes Please and won an unparalleled romantic experience at the resort. One imagines that the lucky couple got to sample all the delights on the restaurant’s menu including the Veggie Bar.
The Veggie Bar at Yes Please has what it takes to be one of the best restaurants not just for vegetarians but for vegans as well: beautiful vibes, great service and set in an amazing location on the island for couples. The menu is as colourful as the venue and there’s plenty of hearty fare that will satisfy even the most dedicated of meat eaters:
Mixed Garden Greens with shredded christophene & beets, apples, toasted nuts, crumbled feta, papaya
vinaigrette & sweet potato straws
Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Brown Rice & Pigeon Peas
Wood-Oven Roast Vegetables
Coconut Herb Rice
A Scoop of Home-Made Exotic Sorbet
(All photos courtesy of Couples Resorts Barbados)