Lumbini – Baltimore, Maryland

by KimHo on January 2, 2009 · 2 comments under: Food,Restaurant,Travel

322 N Charles St
Baltimore, MD
Lumbini on Urbanspoon

For other reasons (which can’t be disclosed), on my fourth night in Baltimore, I was exhausted. I had plans for a restaurant – which I eventually went the following night, that post will be up tomorrow, and instead I went to a one closer to the hotel. I am sure some of you could have said “but, you can have a meal in the hotel itself!”. Sure, I could have but, c’mon… Anyway, the closest place I could remember was Mick O’Sheas, which I blogged previously, and while walking there, I noticed an Indian restaurant. It wasn’t the “Indian” part that caught my attention, rather it was the Nepalese part. That’s how I ended up in Lumbini.

It is just me or it seems almost all Indian restaurants have buffet?

Just like in my visit to Akbar a couple of nights before, the restaurant was almost empty. Actually, there was another table occupied, yet I was afraid of a repeat experience. Déjà vu, anybody? Although late, by the end of my meal (around 8:30 p.m.), a couple other customers had walked in.

My first look of the menu was extremely disappointing. The promise of the restaurant was for both Nepalese (which I had absolutely no idea about) and Indian (which I have had some, despite not necessarily the authentic version); yet almost all the menu was Indian based, i.e., curries, tandoor dishes, etc. It was not until I hit a section of the menu labeled “Bhojan” that I saw some glimpse of hope. But, to start, the drink…

Mango lassi. Called it profiling or what not; but this drink seem to appear in every single Indian restaurant. The funniest thing? Every single place I have been, it taste exactly the same! I guess that, rather than using fresh mangoes, canned pulp is used; hence the consistency.

Along with my lassi, I got some “free” appetizer in the form of papadum:

Along with the some chutneys:

The twist here is the one on the left. It wasn’t a sauce in the straight sense of the word; rather they seemed to be pieces of marinated bamboo shoots. It had a strange texture but enjoyable nevertheless.

As for the main…

Daal Bhat Masu Thali. As per their menu, it is a “typical Nepalese dinner included white rice, dhal, chutney and choice of chicken or mutton curry”. If you have read previous post, you could easily guess what I had… Yup, I had mutton. (Depending on the country/classification, mutton is a sheep, though it could also be a goat). Yup, the plate looks hilarious in a way. I don’t remember using one like that in ages. Now, a close-up of each component.

Again, the bamboo shoot chutney.

Dhal. Yup, that’s a chili in it! I have mentioned previously my love for legumes. However, even with that bias, I must admit it was really good!

The mutton curry. I am not sure how to describe it other than a more gamier (?) version of lamb, which, I assume, it is expected. Now, unlike lamb curries, in this case, it was bone in, which gave it even more flavour. It was great!

For a change, to finish the meal, I asked for something sweet. When I looked at the menu, one item caught my attention: Mango khulfi, described as “traditional unchurned, indian ice cream mixed with mango”. That’s the menu description; my description would be more on the lines of small chipped chunks of mango flavoured ice cubes. Heck, even ice shaving work as well. On top of it, some small raisins. As for the taste itself, the comment on the mango lassi applies, i.e., it tastes a bit too similar… Now, I could live with that; however, it was way too sweet. I couldn’t finish it.

Overall, I am both happy and disappointed at the same time. On one side, the food was better than expected. On the flip-side, it is too “Indian” (i.e., more Indian based than Nepalese, as it was described). Nevertheless, there was enough “twist” to it and, as a result, a worthy meal.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Vox March 11, 2009 at 11:05 pm

I have to say, having been to both India and Nepal, the food is quite similar. Nepal is famous for their “momo” or steamed dumplings (though I normally prefer standard Chinese or HK style dumplings…and they are much easier to find in Vancouver!) But basically, Nepalese food seems to me basically Northern Indian style food with a splash of Chinese elements. I’m not sure most folks without quite a knowledge of food from the region would notice a big difference between the two. Southern Indian is my favorite anyway, and quite different in taste!
As for the mango lassi, I’ve had bunches (generally going for plain instead of fruit flavored, unless I’ve been assured they are made with fresh fruit and not syrup). Good places mix them with fresh yogurt on the spot. They are amazing that way.

Most northern Indian sweets are REALLY sweet. They don’t tend to be favored by the Western-seasoned palate for anyone without a serious sugar addiction. I think the intention is to cut the hotness of the meal and sweeten the mouth after dining on heavily spiced food.

I recommend trying Chutney Villa (at Broadway and Main) for some great South Indian eats… See how that compares to your other dining experiences :)

2 KimHo March 12, 2009 at 7:29 pm

Vox, thanks a lot for your feedback! I tend to be more in East Vancouver but, given your recommendation, will try to drop by one of these days.

Previous post:

Next post: