I've always been a fan of shopping (or in this case, eating) with a cause, and Lentil As Anything is no exception. Hailing from Melbourne, Lentil As Anything is a not-for-profit organisation that runs restaurants where you pay what you can. The philosophy is based on the idea that customers should pay what they feel the food is worth, while jointly contributing to a more generous, equal society.
Located in the trendy Newtown precinct, Lentil As Anything is unique because the menu doesn't have prices. This means that if you can only afford to pay $2 for a meal, that's acceptable, as a person who pays $20 for a meal will have helped contribute towards the cost of yours. As a general rule, $12 will cover the cost of your meal, while $15 will cover your meal plus the restaurant's expenses. The great thing about Lentil is that there's also the option of volunteering to help out for a shift to cover the costs of your meal.
The other great thing about Lentil is that it was created to provide refugees with work experience and employment. There are internships available for anyone wanting to gain valuable work experience, and its great to know that any money spent here is invested directly into the community. Lentil also tries to employ the long-term unemployed and the socially marginalized, to help foster a society of inclusion.
As for the food, all I can say is its amazing! Upon entering, guests are given a choice of four meals. As the cooks hail from around the world, expect a variety of tantalizing dishes. The dish I chose was baked capsicum stuffed with rice, baked focaccia, a bean gravy and an orange and beetroot salad. Not only was it delicious, but the portion size was enormous! There are also a range of cakes if you still manage to have room for dessert.
Overall, I'd say Lentil As Anything is a must-try. It's not just the food or the fact that they trust you to pay what you feel the food is worth. It's the sense of community, and the feeling that just by having lunch, you are contributing to a better world.