For more than six and a half years, the Hammered Lamb has occupied a space on North Orange Avenue across from Lake Ivanhoe. Previous occupants included Ethos, the vegan restaurant that moved to Winter Park, and various gay bars.
Most people who patronize the business today are arguably there to mimic the lamb, that is, get hammered. In other words, most people still think of it primarily as a bar.
But in recent months, HL has been striving to up its food game, offering a variety of appetizers and sandwiches. So I stopped by with a colleague to check out the menu. And, not incidentally, have a drink.
We started with an appetizer called Swamp Dip, because how many times do you get to sample that? According to the menu, it was fashioned out of beer cheese and Buffalo chicken. Not sure what it was that was supposed to make it swamplike, but I’d call it soupy. Judging from the look, you might come up with a more crass description. Unfortunately, nothing about the flavor made up for the look, and the crostini served with it were stale, which is an easy state to achieve on an outdoor patio across from a major lake.
Things were much better with our sandwiches, including the Lamb Dip I selected. Thankfully, it was nothing like sheep dip, the cleanser used to remove parasites from livestock. Instead, it was meant to be a variation of a French Dip sandwich with tender lamb instead of beef. The meat was served along with cheddar cheese and caramelized onions on Cuban bread. It was accompanied by a Guinness infused jus – the dip – but it was delicious without the soak.
My companion had the Toasted Italian – I wonder if that’s a variation of Hammered Lamb? – which featured prosciutto, capicola ham, salami and pepperoni, also on Cuban bread (ciabatta would have made sense) with mozzarella, lettuce and tomato. Also a good sandwich.
Ironically, the only thing that truly disappointed was our drinks. They were made in tall glasses with too much ice, and so my gin and tonic tasted like water.
Next time I’ll order something neat.
The Hammered Lamb is at 1235 N. Orange Ave., Orlando. It is open for lunch and dinner daily, including late nights. Brunch is served on Saturdays and Sundays. The phone number is 407-704-3200.