A free-spirit studying psychology at the University of Sydney.
Published January 2nd 2015
Healthy, Hippie, and a Happy Wallet
Lentil As Anything is a paradise for any lover of healthy, wholesome, budget-friendly vegetarian and vegan food. What makes this even better is how it is a non-profit organisation offering a 'pay what you want' system, as it operates in the interest of the community. Also as Lentil embraces multiculturalism, you are given the chance to taste different cuisines.
Which one first?
Food, culture, and community, is at the heart of the Lentil philosophy. The 'fundalentils', as they call it, encompass a belief in the "power of humanity to create stupendous change" - quite an appealing idea. The organisation promotes caring for others, multiculturalism, justice, helping the long-term unemployed and the marginalised, and encourages younger members of society to get involved in community-based initiatives.
The menu changes regularly, allowing for a varied experience. The day we visited, they had kusari with eggplant bake, uppuma with vegetables and chickpea salad, and spagetti with tomato sauce. With everything sounding delicious it was a good thing there were only three options to deliberate over. Each of these dishes came with a fresh salad, rich in leafy goodies. Between the three of us we decided on ordering all three of the day's dishes so to have a taste of each.
Fresh table water and drinks of the day are available to ensure you don't leave dehydrated. Particularly on steamy summer days, alike the weather when we visited, you will be craving some cool beverages. Our thirst was quenched, and our tastebuds were left tingling from the watermelon and ginger juice. If you enjoy the juices you should visit this hippie venue between 8 and 11pm on Fridays and Saturdays to enjoy the mocktail bar that it becomes.
Spagetti, curried chickpea, and eggplant bake dishes.
When the dishes came out - fast and friendly service from the volunteer staff may I add - we were amazed at how fresh and wholesome everything looked, not knowing where to begin. The buckwheat pasta and tomato sauce was sweet and a had a bit of a spicy kick.The eggplant bake was similarly a bit sweet, but this was balanced well by the grains and salad. The curried chickpeas were also delicious, and kind of addictive. Again, Lentil struck a nice balance in this dish as the uppuma complemented it. Uppuma, by the way, is a common South Indian food involving flour, salt, and vegetables.
A dessert of the day was available too but we were left surprisingly full - showing meat and a bunch of carbs are not essential for a hearty meal. As I imagine how desserts like the heavenly-sounding banana rice pudding would go nicely with drinks like the warm chai tea, also on the menu the day we visited, I assume this place would double up as a lovely afternoon tea spot. From brunch, to tea this young Newtown cafe has got your back. And on this note, the cafe is so typically Newtown with the environment flowing out onto the pathway that lines King Street.
Last but not least is the highly budget-friendly nature of a feed from this place. You pay, into a donation box, what you feel your meal was worth. This is a beneficial system for several reasons. For one, it makes the place particularly welcoming to those on a strict budget. Additionally, it puts into practice the philosophy that a better world is founded upon kindness, trust, respect, equality, and freedom. Of course, where possible, generosity is appreciated as the donations are what keeps this beautiful, kind-spirited hub alive.