By Emma Simpson
One evening in December last year, I was awoken at 3am by my 13 year old daughter who had heard noises outside – there was a man trying to break into our house, and my fire fighter husband was at work so I was alone with 2 girls. He threw bricks at the window, forced a window open, tried to climb in…eventually I managed to talk him down, and he left. It was terrifying and I was then up all night with the police etc. The following day was my sister’s birthday and we were due to celebrate at The Amrutha Lounge – a vegan restaurant she had discovered. I didn’t want to go, I was tired, broken, and I suffer from Chronic Fatigue. However, something compelled me to go, to be with those I loved, to heal from the difficult night before.
Sitting with my closest friends in such a place wrapped me in a blanket of care that is hard to describe. Dining here, however, was not just a special experience to share with loved ones, but also an opportunity to meet new people, the Amrutha team, who really and truly make the world better place.The Amrutha Lounge is a restaurant quite unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. The philosophy is centred around community, connection, friendship, sharing and love. It is hard to describe but their unique scripture of care is written throughout every dish they serve – all handmade from scratch: vegan, healthy, delicious, and oh so aesthetically pleasing!! For me, the preparation of food for others is an expression of love, and this bursts through at Amrutha. Every single plate has care, thought and consideration sprinkled throughout. It’s a place where you feel looked after, like you’re at home, but more than that, there is a spiritual peace and comfort here. You can step out of real world stress, and allow yourself to feel the love of others. The menu is wholly plant based, and whilst I’m not a vegan, and some of our friends had low expectations for a restaurant that served no meat, dairy or alcohol….they were soon eating their organic words. There is no pressure or judgement here, you can BYO drink and keep bottles cold in their fridge, or else take a night off the booze and just enjoy the incredible food.
Whilst the food is quite magnificent, the best thing about The Amrutha Lounge is their philosophy and ethos of ‘no man goes hungry’. They actually mean it – no (hu)man goes hungry. Anyone can eat here. If you can’t afford to pay that’s fine, they just request that you volunteer some time to give back to the community instead. The recommended menus are the tasting menus, where the food keeps coming – no decisions required – and you pay what you deem a ‘fair price’. They suggest what these ‘fair prices’ might be, and to date not one single customer has paid under that guidance, which rather speaks for itself…The Amrutha team are a community, a family.
On that night I met one of the ‘brothers’, who has Hindu roots, and has travelled away from that, through Buddhism, Christianity and other philosophies and religions, and settled in a remarkable spirituality that blends the best bits of all. He blew my mind, and I could have talked to him all night except he had to get back to the washing up 🤣🤣, which really says it all. In lockdown I chatted to the other brother on the phone, who told me about their origin and how they are managing business in lockdown in different ways like so many others. As well as having detox packages and meals for collection and delivery, they are sharing meditations, dancing, and keeping their community alive. They are looking after their teams, being creative in ways to continue to serve others and keep their teams employed. Others are always at the forefront of their minds. I don’t think they have any idea how special they are.
Guest writer Emma Simpson is a writer, blogger and coach currently working on her first book which was inspired by this experience. A former air traffic controller and senior leader in the aviation industry, Emma left this high stress world to concentrate on the things she loves – her family and friends, nurturing and developing others, and writing. Emma is a Trustee of The Winnie Mabaso Foundation, a unique and very special charity supporting vulnerable and orphaned girls in South Africa. She is a lioness for those she cares about, adventurous and scared at the same time, and believes all the world’s problems can be solved by a cup of tea. She lives with her fire-fighter husband, 2 daughters, a deaf arthritic spaniel, 3 unidentifiable fish and 5 chickens.
Soul Food September
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