We all like to eat and as there was no carnival this year, if you’re looking for an authentic Caribbean cuisine that’s vegan packing with flavour, IndieBloom can point you in the right direction with Island Ting Kitchen.
Available as food meals via online takeaway services (Uber Eats) in Shepherds Bush (W12), based at the heart of West London, the menu changes weekly. You can either pre-order to collect or have it delivered to your door.
West London’s finest
Formerly known as Island Ting Cakery which sold just baked goods, celebratory cakes and hosted afternoon tea pop-ups for around 2 years. In May 2020, the online food service was launched and became Island Ting Kitchen.
The menu consists of popular dishes including jerk, curried vegan mutton (our recommendation to try- where the meat substitute is made out of mushroom and soy, with a soy free version planned as ‘not everyone is a fan’) and plantain. While maybe lesser known dishes, sides and beverages to some, such as festival (a kind of fried dough dumpling) and sorrel (a dark red plant, made from the petals of a sorrel plant, with a slight tart, raspberry-like taste) are included to try out.
Created by Leah Affia, a West Londoner since birth and with family spread around the Caribbean- originally from Barbados and Jamaica (‘It’s one place where you can do any kind of holiday, it’s so versatile, beautiful views, vibes, people, food! What more can you ask for?’), plus some family from Grenada. She describes her upbringing as, ‘West London is the West Indies. That’s what I have always loved about it. It doesn’t matter what country you’re from, if you grew up in West London. You definitely had some West Indian culture in you, it was just embedded in the community fabric.’
As a child Leah’s favourite Caribbean dish was ital stewed peas, where she admits ‘I don’t know why, maybe because I am a carb whore and that dish is dumplings galore’. While the item of food that’s handy for her is garlic, ‘no lie, I use it in everything, not only does it have such great benefits such as being anti-viral. It also makes everything taste better (in my opinion)’.
Declaring her love for some Ainsley Harriott and Nigella Lawson, the UK celebrity chefs (plus recommending other vegan restaurants, Eat of Eden and Café Rouge). However, the inspirations for Leah are her Mum, Sonia and Aunt. With her travels, experiences and cosmopolitan environment completing the mix. She boldly claims, ‘I’m sorry, I live for fine dining, but no chef can top that Aunty who cooks by the stove fire and serves food from her home in the middle of the hood. It’s always the BEST FOOD, SO DELICIOUS!!’.
Also planted in her Rastafarian roots are the CBD treats on offer. Along with vegan cuisine growing in popularity in the mainstream, CBD items are also being pushed into the limelight. Claiming to help with symptoms and sufferers of anxiety, depression, nerve pain, long-term pain, sleeping issues, epilepsy and for reducing inflammation. Leah’s thoughts are-
I don’t see why not, people are becoming more health conscious, the Rasta’s have always said there’s power in the plant & now major corps are entering the space, they are definitely going to force people into partaking in CBD. However my concern is the quality of the plant will be reduced and people will be receiving trash. A lot of products on the market are just gimmicks and don’t even contain any CBD. I think the true potential of CBD will be lost.
West London, home to the annual Notting Hill Carnival sees Leah reflect, ‘I find it funny when people from other areas say things like…”I’m over carnival now, its something you do as a teen”. Further expalining, that ‘IF you’re a true West Londoner you know… Carnival is life and a part of your culture- no such thing as outgrowing carnival.’
Tings to do
Future plans for Island Ting Kitchen would be to open a cafe promoting wellness, while Leah’s words of wisdom are-
- Create a team, because there are going to be times you want to abandon ship and never return!
- Make time for self-care, you’re going to be working extremely long hours and the burn out is real, if you don’t look after yourself. You are not going to make it.
- Lastly, your friend is not your customer, don’t always feel the need to take their advice, they don’t always know what they are talking about.
How hungry are you now? If you live in West London or are passing through, do have a taste of what Island Ting Kitchen have to offer. While if you’re also a vegan, considering or just curious, this can be your introduction to 100% authentic Caribbean vegan delights (thanks to IndieBloom). You can also feast your eyes and whet your appetite via Instagram and Facebook.