Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Lamb's Bread, vegan gem in the rough, Columbia, South Carolina

Unlikely.  That's the highest probability I gave Columbia, South Carolina for having a vegan restaurant.  Now I freely admit I have been wrong before, and I might even be wrong again some time but I was very off base here.  Lamb's Bread is a quaint, African, Caribbean, Asian fusion restaurant in a nondescript brick blockhouse building.  I drove right by the first time and there isn't much on the street.  I did see the neon sign for a "COSMIC COLON CLEANSe" which might have momentarily shut down all other thought processes.  If nothing else it's interesting to think of that as the result of lunch.

I remember driving by and seeing the Colon Cleanse sign.  Sort of held my attention and I missed the BIG sign.
The decor seems to trend heavily toward African culture, heavy on the dark wood masks and sculptures. Eclectic is certainly a word that applies here.  There's also a stage.

Front door to the left, ordering counter to the right, stage in the center.


Menu which changes daily.
The owner's daughter is friendly and helpful, (I'm sorry I, once again, forgot to ask your name).  The food, she said, changes daily and is a fusion of whatever strikes her dad's fancy.  This day it was an Ethiopian Stew with Mock Chicken.  I'm a big mock fan so I ordered that.  You get 3 sides so I picked the rutabaga, since I wouldn't know one if someone hit me with one, and since I was in the land of Collards, the collards.  I ordered the brown rice but looking at the list now I probably should have given the curry potatoes a try but that also would have been two roots.  I paid and sat down to wait.  On the way to the table I passed through a time portal.

There was a small stand with the familiar yellow magazine that I grew up with.  National Geographic.  I looked and thought, "Oh, a look back to the Vietnam War," since anyone who grew up with body counts as part of the prime time dinner hour news would recognize a picture from that era.  I was more than a little surprised to see that this was an original 1965 issue.  I might have actually looked through the pictures as a 9 year old in 1965.  It was interesting to see the writers bent on the war at that early stage of the conflict.  Sad too, knowing what was to come.

The short wait for the food ended my reminiscing as a beautiful full plate of food was set before me.  The rutabaga was like a soft orange tinged potato with just a hint of sweet.  I think it might have been my first bite of this tuber and it was cooked perfectly.  Each piece held the fork nicely with no hint of being overcooked or mushy.

One of the few plates of food I couldn't finish even though I would have liked to!
The collards which I had high hopes for just tasted like greens with just a gentle touch of seasoning.   I don't know how much flavor collards actually bring to the table and have cooked them before but these, flavor wise, just reminded me of "greens,"  but texture-wise were cooked perfectly and retained a bit of bite and not overcooked.  

I was surprised as I took a bite of the brown rice.  It had a hint of curry flavor.

The Ethiopian stew was a delicious sweet brown sauce with green peppers and onions covering pieces of a commercially available mock chicken.  

You could miss it if you weren't looking for it.  I did.  It surely doesn't look like a restaurant and don't be looking for a big sign on the building.
I would like to have spent a few days in Columbia just to taste a few more dishes from Lamb's Bread.

1 comment:

Abby Bean said...

That plate of food looks AMAZING.