The Hourglass District, the not-yet-officially-designated area radiating from the intersection of Bumby Avenue and Curry Ford Road and named for an eponymous lake that's supposed to look like an egg timer but looks more like the silhouette of another E.T. (The Extra-Terrestrial), is starting to take shape. (But not that shape.)
Claddagh Cottage was one of the first businesses to open in the area. It came after a pizza joint that had a brief tenure and closed when the owner became ill. That freestanding building is under renovations and will reopen as F&D Wood Fired Italian Kitchen. Over on the northeast corner of the intersection, the gas station and storefronts have undergone the most dramatic upgrading, with an attractive slatted facade and bold white lettering announcing a Foxtail Coffee shop and the Hourglass Social House.
The latter is the designation for the shared space that also includes the coffee shop and eventually other food and beverage vendors. One of them, Leguminati, opened in August and has been seeing brisk business from Hourglassians hungry for its all-vegan menu.
Who would have guessed a few years ago that Central Florida would see an uptick in plant-based food restaurants? And that there could be two of them -- Leguminati and Market on South -- just a soy burger's throw from each other.
There are two types of vegan restaurants, at least in my observance: those that eschew all meat and animal product terms and those that embrace them with an ironic wink. Leguminati seems to fall into the latter category.
That's why on the menu you'll see words like bacon, ground beef and chicken, or chick'n, even though no pigs were slabbed, no cows were ground and no chickens plucked to prepare the food. (By the way, you won't find those words on a menu on the restaurant's website because for some odd reason one does not exist, only food photos. I've included a photo of the menu at the bottom.)
Here's a video look at Leguminati:
On my recent visit for a meat-free lunch, I selected the Sloppy Kirk, a personalized take on a Sloppy Joe that also contains no actual Kirk in it. It had the soy-based approximation of beef blended with a spicy sauce and topped with non-dairy cheese (or cheeze, if you will), bacon, fashioned out of rice paper, and frizzled fried onions on a toasted bun. The spicings and flavorings were good but it had me asking "Where's the beef," not because I wanted real meat but because there just wasn't much of the other stuff there.
Same was true of the Chick'n Salad sandwich. The faux fowl was nicely dressed in mock mayo, and the salad also included onion, celery and bell peppers, just not much of any of it. The sandwich was topped with a slice of red tomato and had fresh arugula that gave it a pleasant spicy note.
Both sandwiches were served on a bun that reminded me of the type that can be purchased in a package of eight. So the sandwiches were small, not a terrible thing in and of itself but a disappointment at the prices -- the two sandwiches together came to an even 18 bucks.
And that included no side of any kind, not a package of chips, a thimble of slaw or even a side of assorted legumes to celebrate the eatery's very clever name.
The mini market space is quite pleasant. Leguminati has a food counter for guests to sit at, or if you prefer you may find a space at one of the common tables or even on the patio out back, just off the convenient rear parking lot.
As someone who lives in downtown Orlando, I'm thrilled to see this run-down corner coming back with new life and new businesses, especially ones that attract a younger, more diverse crowd. But to keep them coming back, Leguminati will have to up its offerings or down its prices.
Leguminati is at 2401 Curry Ford Road, Orlando, It is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, another bit of information not on the website. The phone number isn't there, either; it's 407-930-7308.