Thanks to the burger-broiling, chicken-frying fast food giants of the world, we’ve come to automatically associate the notion of quick, convenient meals with nutritionally deficient food. But even if time is short and you have to grab a bite to eat on the go, there’s no reason it can’t be fresh and healthy.
Island Naturals Cafe, a hole-in-the-wall eatery in Coconut Place, off West Bay Road, is a welcome addition to the small but growing list of restaurants in Cayman with a health-focused, meat-free menu.
Open from 9am to 6pm, Island Naturals serves a mainly vegan menu, with Greek yoghurt being one of the few non-vegan ingredients on the menu, although the cafe doesn’t make a meal (pardon the pun) of its vegan or vegetarian credentials.
Owner Lindsay Allen says she was fed up with needing to grab food on the run, but never being able to find anything healthy. “So I decided that if I was looking for healthy, meat-free food to go, there must be others who were too,” she explains.
It was the same logic that led her to open the retail store, Island Naturals, next door. She used to fill her suitcase back home in Canada with all the natural, organic cosmetics and beauty products she liked, and bring them back to Cayman. After doing this for several years, she realised she could not be the only person using these natural products, and so opened the store.
Island Naturals Cafe has kept the same branding and logo as the store and focuses on simple, fresh food with no additives or preservatives and plenty of gluten-free options.
With only a tiny bar counter and an even smaller table, it’s not somewhere one can sit and linger over a meal, and indeed food is served in to-go boxes, and drinks in disposable – and biodegradable – cups.
A variety of breakfast dishes such as oatmeal with fruits and nuts, parfaits with yoghurt and fruit, and acai bowls, containing the powdered super-berries topped with fruits, granola, nuts and non-dairy milks, will set you up for the day, or serve as a substantial midday snack.
Alternatively, an array of salads and sandwiches are peppered with nutrition-packed ingredients like quinoa, goji berries and chia seeds, and bowls of various veggie curries are available in large and small portions.
All these can be washed down with a selection of teas, hot or iced, from Tea Time in Cayman, freshly made juices from Drink Fresh Juice, local coconut water or, if you’re feeling really naughty, a freshly brewed cup of organic, fair trade coffee.
Cayman’s culinary offerings were bound to start catering to the island’s active, health-conscious population sooner or later. And with no dish priced over $12, Island Naturals Cafe proves that cheap, fast food can be tasty and nutritious at the same time.