Just Natural : From farm to the table
It was the longest journey of my life, probably because I was more than a little excited to try the cuisine at Just Natural Veggie and Seafood Restaurant and Juice Bar.
I had heard great reviews about the family-operated restaurant, and I was eager to meet the three siblings who now own it, and taste their award-winning dishes. I was on a one-month vegan diet and wanted to try things other than tofu and butter beans.
As I walked through the gates of the charming, rustic outdoor restaurant, I was met by Christine Chamberlain-Tyson, one of the owners of the establishment. Her warm personality and big smile were enough to make me feel welcome.
I was given a menu with a wide variety of vegetarian and seafood dishes, but my eyes immediately went to the callaloo and cheese garlic pasta.
Christine enquired if I also wanted to try one of their natural fruit juices. "We have pumpkin, coconut milk and passion fruit," she said.
"I'd like the passion fruit, please. Because I'm a lady of passion," I responded.
While the chef - her brother, Emile - began preparing my meal, I walked through the garden, stopping to admire the many fruit trees and vegetables that are grown on the land.
I stumbled upon a Tree Spa in the middle of the garden and was excited to find out that Christine also doubles as a reflexologist. I was treated to the 'Barefoot Therapy' massage.
"It's one of my many blessings," Christine told me.
After the massage, Christine went to check on my meal, while I continued to enjoy the beautiful garden.
Soon, my pasta was ready. It looked absolutely delicious, but more important, it smelled heavenly. The smell alone was enough to get my mouth watering.
This was my first time trying a callaloo, garlic and cheese combination, and Chef Emile did not disappoint. The deliciously creamy combination seasoned with local products was cooked to perfection.
"Most of the ingredients are grown in the garden. We've been operating it since our daddy passed away seven years ago. One of his dreams was for us to carry on the restaurant and take all the recycled objects we can find and use them here," Christine said, beaming with pride.
I continued to dig into my pasta while attempting to make conversation with Christine. I was enjoying the meal so much that I inadvertently started humming.
"Looks like you're enjoying the meal," Christine said while I was biting into a spinach leaf.
"How yuh know suh?" I asked with a smile.
Just Natural prides itself on catering to each customer's needs and, as such, will customise meals.
"The price range is set so that locals can come out too and get that grass-root feeling and vibe that we offer here, " Christine said.
The natural passion fruit went well with the pasta. I finished in no time and was offered a second glass, which I did not refuse.
"The only rule we have is that we don't do takeout. We love when you take the time to enjoy the gardens and then have your meal here; it's about the experience," said Christine.
Just Natural Veggie & Seafood Restaurant & Juice Bar
Hylton Avenue, West End Road