A couple of weeks ago, Phoebe and I went to Lentil As Anything in St Kilda for dinner, so I thought I’d write a quick review as I really like the social philosophy behind this unique social enterprise and not-for-profit.
Lentil As Anything restaurants and grocery stores have no set prices, so everyone is welcome to come for a meal and contribute in any way they can. Some people volunteer their time in the kitchen or on the floor, others leave a financial donation in one of the contribution boxes. All leave with the feeling that they are part of an inclusive community.
Many of the people working at Lentil As Anything are volunteers. Members of the community who volunteer for a meal, to learn hospitality skills, or improve their social or language skills. The under-employed, the homeless, refugees and the disenfranchised are all given an equal opportunity to gain skills and help their fellow humans at Lentil As Anything.
Shanaka Fernando is the founder of Lentil as Anything. Originally from Sri Lanka, Shanaka opened the first Lentil As Anything in 2000 and has been increasingly involved in projects addressing social justice issues. In 2007 Shanaka was awarded Australia’s Local Hero/Social Challenger at Australian of the Year Awards. He lives in Melbourne with his wife and four children. Shanaka did a TED Talk, you can watch it here.
There are four venues: Abbotsford, Thornbury, St Kilda and Newtown – but this time we visited the St Kilda venue.
Below is a photo of the curry platter and tofu burgers we ordered. We were really impressed and I’d highly recommend to anyone who’s thinking about going! I want to go at least three more times before we leave Melbourne in a few weeks.
Follow them on Instagram for updates and daily photos of the food they’ve been cooking up.