In the vibrant heart of West Hollywood, on Melrose Avenue, stands Ubuntu, a plant-based culinary gem that opened its doors last August. It’s a restaurant where the essence of West African cuisine is reimagined through a plant-based lens, thanks to the culinary prowess of Chef Shenarri Freeman, a 2022 James Beard Award semifinalist. Ubuntu, a joint venture with 2022 James Beard Award nominee Ravi DeRossi of Overthrow Hospitality, has quickly become a beacon of innovative dining.
Chef Shenarri, also known for her impactful stint at New York’s Cadence, draws inspiration from her travels and a deep desire to explore her roots. Her menu is a journey across West Africa, featuring reinterpreted traditional dishes from Senegal, Nigeria, Ghana and beyond. Vegetables take the spotlight in standout creations like Jackfruit Yassa, Curry Jollof Arancini and Seitan Suya. These dishes are paired with an exceptional selection of wines from black-owned vintners, including Aslina and Kumusha.
The beverage experience at Ubuntu is further enhanced by a cocktail program crafted by Colin Asare-Appiah, the author of “Black Mixcellence” and a noted mixologist. His creations, infused with African ingredients, complement the dining experience beautifully. The interior of Ubuntu, with its lush, earthy tones, bright yellow and green velvet upholstery and natural materials, immerses guests in an ambiance akin to a sophisticated garden party.
As we step into 2024, Ubuntu is set to elevate its culinary offerings with the introduction of Soul Food Sundays, beginning January 14. Diners can look forward to indulging in dishes like Southern fried lasagna, biscuits & gravy with a unique twist, fried oyster mushrooms & waffles, and the comforting maple buttermilk cornbread, to name a few. Each dish is a reflection of Chef Shenarri’s innovative approach to vegan cuisine, blending traditional soul food elements with plant-based ingredients.
To complement these delectable dishes, the cocktail menu, curated by Sother Teague, features unique concoctions like a Salted Maple Old Fashioned and Jerk-Spiced Lemon Tea. These innovative drinks perfectly encapsulate the essence of Soul Food Sundays, adding an extra layer of enjoyment to the dining experience.
Ubuntu’s Soul Food Sundays not only celebrate the rich tapestry of African culinary heritage but also mark a new chapter in West Hollywood’s vibrant dining scene. It’s a testament to Chef Shenarri Freeman’s commitment to culinary innovation and her ability to create a dining experience that is both nostalgic and forward-thinking. As Ubuntu continues to flourish, it remains a must-visit destination for anyone seeking a unique, plant-based culinary adventure that honors the flavors and traditions of West Africa while pushing the boundaries of modern cuisine.
For more information, visit ubuntula.com or follow @ubuntu.la on Instagram.
*Soul Food Sundays at Ubuntu will be every Sunday from 2-8 p.m.
Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 5-10 p.m.
Address: 7469 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles
Phone: (323) 433-4141
Photo credits: Courtesy of Jennifer Evans Gardner and Ubuntu.