The Ankh Life Vegan Cafe opened its doors only 5 months ago and is adding to the growing trend of Vegan restaurants in Columbia, South Carolina. The owners are the same as the popular Lambs Bread Vegan Cafe in downtown Columbia. The Ankh Life Vegan Cafe is located northwest of the city near the Columbiana Centre Mall and shares a similar menu with Lambs Bread.
The menu has mock meat items like Popcorn Chicken, Fish and Grits and the Spare No-Ribs. There is also a selection of sandwiches including a Vegan Philly Cheese Steak and a Vegan BLT.
We both first ordered side salads to start. We were impressed with the variety of vegetables the salad had- thin slices of avocado, mushrooms and plump blueberries topped lettuce, cucumbers and tomatoes. The salad had a heavy sprinkling of nutritional yeast, a key item for a balanced Vegan diet. The nutritional yeast added a cheese-like flavor to an already abundant salad. The peanut-type dressing was just perfect.
For my main meal I ordered the Tempeh Ruben with “pan seared tempeh steak topped with sauteed peppers, onions, and sauerkraut.” Topped with a house sauce (similar to the traditional 1000 Island dressing of a Ruben) the sandwich was very good.
The sandwiches are served with a choice of one side and I went for the sauteed Kale, also sprinkled with nutritional yeast. Other side items include grits, brown rice, beans or vegetables.
Chad had the Black Bean Tacos- a choice of a soft or crunchy shell, stuffed with black beans, brown rice, lettuce, tomato, onion, hot sauce and Vegan sour cream. The tacos were HUGE and spicy. Very hearty
His meal came with two side items one of which was the salad and his other choice was the sauteed veggies- a mix of broccoli, carrots, squash and carrots. His veggies were topped with a “cheesy” sauce made with nutritional yeast.
We were happy to find a place with some Vegan home cooking in an area surrounded by wing houses and barbecue joints. Even the owner came to check on our table making us feel even more welcome. The Ankh Life Vegan Cafe is worth a visit even if you aren’t a strict Vegan. Many items can also be made gluten-free. At least stop by for some dessert- Vegan cupcakes and Key Lime Pie are just a few of their sweet items. Yum.