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Ubuntu opened in West Hollywood, Calif., on Aug. 1.

Shenarri Freeman and Overthrow Hospitality open West African vegan restaurant Ubuntu in West Hollywood

Cocktails were developed by Colin Asare-Appiah

Overthrow Hospitality, which runs vegan restaurants and bars in New York City, has opened a vegan restaurant in West Hollywood, Calif., headed up by chef Shenarri “Greens” Freeman.

The new restaurant, Ubuntu, features West African-inspired dishes inspired by Freeman’s travels as well as her interest in exploring her own roots. She has moved to Los Angeles to run the restaurant, but is still overseeing her New York restaurant, a vegan soul food operation called Cadence, from there, a spokesperson for Overthrow Hospitality said.

Ubuntu also features wine by Black Vintners and cocktails by mixologist Colin Asare-Appiah.

The menu, featuring local produce as well as imported ingredients from West Africa, includes items such as jackfruit Yassa, a Senegalese dish traditionally made with chicken, spiced with nokoss pepper paste and served with rice and coconut. Jollof rice, a spiced rice dish found in many West African countries, is shaped into arancini rice balls at Ubuntu and served with tomato and chickpea miso.

Freeman makes suya, usually a spiced and grilled meat, with seitan and serves it with red onions and tomato confit.

Also on the menu is a charred okra salad with pigeon peas and red kidney beans in a passion fruit vinaigrette.

Asare-Appiah, who developed the restaurant’s cocktails in collaboration with Ghanaian cocktail bar Front/Back, is the author of Black Mixcellence: A Comprehensive Guide To Black Mixology, published in February of 2022. Drinks at Ubuntu include the Nyaniba, made of Bombay Sapphire gin, St. Germain elderflower liqueur, cucumber, moringa leaf, apple cider, basil, and lemon; and Jam Afrique, made of D’ussé Cognac, honey, lemon grass, cacao, and Creole bitters. 

“After the success we have experienced with Cadence, we are thrilled to bring Chef Shenarri’s magical blend of plant-based cooking, care for community and exploration of her heritage to Los Angeles,” Overthrow Hospitality founder Ravi DeRossi said in a release announcing the opening. “Her unique culinary talent, along with Colin’s expertise in the cocktail space, will create an unforgettable dining destination in the heart of West Hollywood for Angelenos and visitors alike.” 

Freeman also said she was excited about the new restaurant, which opened Aug. 1.

“It’s a dream come true to be opening my first ever restaurant in Los Angeles with Ravi, Colin and our amazing team,” she said. “I am proud to honor my heritage with a modern, fun, vegan interpretation of such a diverse cuisine, and look forward to creating a welcoming space for our neighbors.”

Overthrow Hospitality has eight vegan concepts in New York City, as well as highly respected cocktail lounge Death & Co., with locations in New York City, Denver, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C. Death & Co.’s menu is not vegan.

 Contact Bret Thorn at [email protected] 

TAGS: Food Trends
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