“Lentil as anything is an invitation to restore our faith in the essential goodness of humanity and the wholesome nature of community.”

—Wayne Visser

Lentil as Anything is a movement for social fairness and inclusion.

We recognize that food not only sustains our bodies, but how it is grown, harvested, prepared, and shared can positively influence our community and help it thrive.

For 20 years we’ve created an ecosystem based on valuing people over profit. We recognise that every individual has gifts to offer no matter what their background or social status, and we recognise that in the process of giving back, each individual who volunteers, partners and supports our ecosystem helps acknowledge the core values of being human.


Lentil As Anything was created from a dream Shanaka Fernando had for his local community in St. Kilda around twenty years ago.

In the year 2000 Shanaka Fernando set up the first Lentil As Anything with the support of the community in St. Kilda, a wild idea at the time and one of Australia’s first modern social enterprises, a restaurant that provided food to anyone who dropped in. In order to keep the project viable Lentil As Anything adopted a contribution model where patrons were encouraged to donate what they could either through a gift of labour, skill or simply to “pay as you feel” thus creating an effective tool for promoting social cohesion and inclusion.

Lentil As Anything helped create a rare space for our community to come together as one to share a meal, create and collaborate in order to help remove social stigma within a community disregarding any existing economic and social barriers.

The values Lentil As Anything stands for are those deeply rooted in a healthy human community these values are now cemented into the social fabric of Melbourne and Sydney with four pay as you feel restaurants in St. Kilda, Abbotsford and Thornbury and Newtown. The pay as you feel movement created by Lentil As Anything has influenced numerous organizations and communities that subscribe to a similar ethos in Asia, Europe and the Americas.

Come and join our table!