Lentil News

Lentil in Italy

Over two nights in September, the committee for 'Lentil in Turin' (who are working for the opening of the first Italian Lentil As Anything) hosted a vegetarian dinner showcasing the style, flavour and philosophy of Lentil at Terra Madre, the international network of food communities 2018 Convention.


Temporarily hosted in a Community Centre, the dinners were made thanks to the collaboration and voluntary work of a great number of volunteers.

Supported by well known chef, Christian Milone, whose restaurant holds the prestigious Michelin star and by four very talented cooks, Luca Alzona, Jacopo Gallizio, Maria Elena Gorini and Ennio Malorzo the team planned and cooked a vegetarian menu based on principles of direct connection with organic farmers from the villages surrounding Turin, under the direction of professional maître, Gaia Baracco.


The tables were set under the supervision of two internationally known visual artists, Tea Giobbio and Ito Fukushi, and on a small stage played professional musicians, Genot-Benedetti and Renda-Trucco.

All donations of time, food and expertise were completed by the great participation of volunteers helping in the kitchen and in the dining room.

With thanks to ASAI and UPM Associations for immigrants and refugees' support and integration, the Lentil As Anything community was enriched by the presence of women and men coming from many African and Asian Countries.


 Here's to a Lentil As Anything restaurant becoming a reality in Italy!

Breakfast At Thornbury


Our Breakfast at Abbotsford has always been a hit, but now we're offering Breakfast every weekend at Lentil As Anything Thornbury too!

Breakfast: Saturday and Sunday 10am - 12pm

Tibetan Momos: Saturday and Sunday 10am - 3pm

  • Rolled Oats with seasonal stewed fruits and chia seeds, topped with sunflower cream.
  • Slow cooked Mushrooms and Baked Beans on Toast, covered in fresh herbs and served with a side of toast.
  • Chia Seed Pancakes served with caramel syrup and fruit.
  • Coffee, Hot Chocolate, Herbal Tea, Chai Lattes and more.

All vegan, all delicious - Bring the family and try a Lentil As Anything Breakfast!


Conscious Coffee

Conscious Coffee: Using coffee to make a change

Do you want to help Lentil use coffee to make the world a better place?

Lentil As Anything offers many training programs to young people hoping to find employment.

Through barista training and education Lentil As Anything helps volunteers find the skills they need to go on to paid employment.

Recently we have been shortlisted for an Australian Ethical grant for our Conscious Coffee training, to provide our volunteers with barista training and education about using coffee as a medium to create social impact.

So, turn your feelings into actions and be part of the change by clicking here to vote.

Together we can brew life changing opportunities!

End of Financial Year Appeal

For the last 18 years Lentil As Anything has fed the community, no questions asked.

Over 40 million meals have been consumed over this time period - many by those who couldn't afford to pay with money, but who paid by volunteering their time.

Although we are a restaurant, at heart we are also healers. Many volunteers have passed through these doors mentally and physically better off than when they entered.

Our restaurant managers tell us daily the stories of heartache they hear. They take time out of their busy schedules to listen, encourage and mentor their staff.

Whilst the notion of charity has been hijacked to patronise and further entrench social divides, our trumpet has gathered cobwebs because we have rolled up our sleeves, put our heads down and got to work.

If you are really aiming to support the repair of our society, empower us to transform your generosity into a tangible outcome, locally, nationally and internationally.

Please help us to continue to build bridges in our community and donate before the end of June.

Everyone deserves a place at the table.

The Inconvenience Store

The Inconvenience Store: A Pay-As-You-Feel Grocery Store

Welcome to Victoria’s FIRST EVER pay-as-you-feel Grocery Store!

  • Friday 11am - 3pm
  • Saturday 11am - 3pm
  • Sunday 11am - 3pm
  • Monday 11am - 3pm

Location: 562-564 High St, Thornbury, Melbourne

Wind your way through the Lentil As Anything Thornbury restaurant until you find the colourful painted doors of The Inconvenience Store.

This is not your average grocery store!

All the food and products stocked on it’s shelves have been rescued, donated, sorted and stocked by our volunteer food rescue team Food Without Borders.

The Inconvenience Store has no set prices.

Patrons are encouraged to contribute to keep the store running if they can afford to do so.
Alternatively, like in all Lentil As Anything restaurants, patrons are invited to volunteer with us if they wish to contribute to our project in another way.
All contributions will go towards sustaining our food rescue operation, paying for transport costs, storage, electricity bills to keep the produce refrigerated, etc.

By shopping at the Inconvenience Store, you will be making a revolutionary contribution to society: actively preventing food waste, thereby helping heal the environment, and supporting a non profit community based food charity.

Thank you!

If you wish to volunteer or make a donation please contact fwb@lentilasanything.com

Handmade: Stories of Strength Shared through Recipes

HANDMADE is a book of recipes collected from 34 widows of the war in Sri Lanka.

The women featured are from the North East of the island and throughout the book their incredible stories of courage are shared through their relationship with food.

Stunning photography is combined with the recipes that gave these women hope to provide a better life for their children.

Commissioned by Australian based charity Palmera, 100% of all profits from the sales of HANDMADE will be reinvested in rural women entrepreneurs in Sri Lanka.

You can purchase a copy in store at our Abbotsford, Thornbury (Melbourne) and Newtown (Sydney) locations or through our online store.

Uber Eats

Lentil As Anything is on Uber Eats

Now you don't even have to get to the restaurant to get your Lentil Fix!

We've joined UberEATS and now you can eat delicious VEGAN food without leaving your house (but maybe you should occasionally leave your house sometimes for sunshine - you know?)

Go to UberEATS to find one of our stores.

Enter LentAs10S for $10 off your first order!


The true spirit of Australia - Bruce

Beneath the din of hubris, of Australian of the year awards and queens birthday honors beats a heart that is Australia at its purest. It is a humble , unassuming heart that has weathered the sleaze and lure of this “civilization” and sat stubbornly on its throne made from soil and decomposing fruits, eyes dancing mischievously. Aware. Strong. This is Bruce Standish He passed away yesterday. His job done. Bruce started his fruit and vegetable shop in 1967 on ormond road Elwood. The tanning salon next door is ample evidence to our community evolution that has binged on everything that Bruce isn’t. Waking up in is creaky bed at 3.45 am every weekday morning and kicking off his seventies , striped bedsheets, that have enjoyed two fashion cycles , Bruce would walk past the motorized trolleys in the wholesale market to the Eastern European man who sat in the dark behind a motley selection of railway hand trolleys , load up 350 kg of produce on its two wheels. “Bruce are you sure that’s not too heavy?” “ nah, it’s all about balance” Says an unshaven mouth adorned by cheeky, smiling eyes and shoulders that are now moving up and down like pistons in guffaw. “ how old are you Bruce?” “ apparently seventy five” The creak of the roller door in his shop announced first light of the day. The van is unloaded , the vegetables and fruits have arrived and the shop is replenished. From then, till he posted his weary body between his sheets at 9.30 at night Bruce served his heart and his heart was the conscience of our community. He reeked of honesty and helpfulness from every pore of his body. Love had found a solid refuge among the cardboard boxes of proudly unkempt produce at Elwood natural health supplies. Bruce was the captain and most gifted player of the team that represented animals( those unspeakable victims of human ignorance) and the vulnerable humans in our community. He was a giver No questions asked Seriously? Yes The antithesis of our novelty deranged society, Bruce would refuse to throw away anything that had a vestige of use to the human body. He spent most of his time in the back of his shop, cutting all the bad bits out of fruits and vegetables that threatened to circumvent consumption. I met Bruce on the second week of opening lentil as anything- a vegetarian restaurant that runs on a pay as you feel system. Bruce said “ That’s a great idea!” I’ll supply you with what I can. “ what I can” has to be THE understatement in the annals of human generosity. For the next few years Bruce plied us with produce.Rarely bringing up the M word and never letting that be a hurdle to the cause of healthy eating for one and all. “ Money, what is money? It’s just a fiction that we take as fact” “ Love is also a currency” His main concern in all those years was that the Sri Lankan cricket team school the aussies in sportsmanship. Rest assured Bruce! Thank you for letting me ride with you to the wholesale market in those wee hours, when we laughed and joked and imagined a world that could really wake up. We plotted to disturb people from their slumber. You are the gentlest of alarms. I thank you for the being the father I never had. For being a grandfather to my children. For carrying my son Spike and letting him rub dragon fruit in your cheeks. I thank you for helping me experience the true Australian spirit. Trust, generosity and self deprecating laughter. Your legacy is a gift that will keep reassuring us that it’s enough to simply be good and happy.

I love you heaps,



Festive Opening Times

Ho-Ho-Hope y'all be visiting us over the Festive Season!


We are open 365 days of the year, with the exception of St Kilda closing on Dec. 25th.

Some slight changes to opening times - you can check them out below.

Come on by and give us a Festive Hug!




Dec 24th: 10am-3pm Dec 25th: 12pm-3pm Dec 31st: 10am-3pm Jan 1st: 5pm-9pm


Dec 25th: 11am-3pm Dec 31st: 11am-3pm Jan 1st: 5.30pm-9pm


Dec 25th: 12pm-7pm All day buffet Dec 31st: 12pm-3pm and 6pm-8pm

St Kilda

Dec 25: closed Dec 31: 12pm-4pm





Lentil as Anything, Italy?

Our founder Shanaka has been attending a conference in Italy and met with the Mayor of Turin who has a lot of love for Lentil as Anything. Read on...

You can't pay for lunch? Be a volunteer!

The ferocity of the civil war in Sri Lanka, which from 1983 to 2009 took over a hundred thousand victims. Then, seventeen years later, the arrival in Australia alongside others who fled the violence which had erupted in their home country. And the beginning of a new life, in Melbourne, with an innovative and ethical project financed by 15 thousand euro derived from the sale of typical Sinhalese women's clothing: a vegetarian restaurant, open to everyone, also to those, who through economic difficulty, can't pay the bill.

A passionate story, that of Shanaka Fernando, 49 years old, founder of Lentil as Anything, the Australian chain of restaurants (now four of them, with also one in Sydney) in which there is no fixed price, but you pay what you feel you can afford. A winning non-profit idea, which today, says Shanaka "provides thousands of meals every day and sees the poor and the well-off sitting and eating together at the same table. Our restaurants are places of social and cultural coming together: as Pope Francis often repeats, solidarity needs humanity". For those who aren't able to put their hand into their wallets, after having eaten lunch or dinner, the lentil restaurants (which don't benefit from any governmental contribution at all) offer in exchange the possibility to participate in the many activities of the chain, volunteering in one of the centres, or helping out in one of the farms that the group owns.

Mayor of Turin

This experience could now take root also in Italy, and Torino could be the first city. "A friend under the Mole (Torino's famous monument), Antoni Rava, knows and appreciates us" confirms Shanaka, "thanks to his efforts, we are looking to set up the first Italian Lentil restaruant". And why Torino? "Because this project could contribute to curing the social divisions and inequalities that Torino, like other cities, suffers from, and because food, in your country, is one of the most widely-shared cultural experiences".

The project, for now, is still on the drawing board. There is still nothing, neither funds ("to begin the initiative 150 thousand euro are needed"), nor a location ("our priority would be the Cavallerizza building"), or even staff (40 people in total, with three professionals, the chef, the sous chef, the restaurant manager, and volunteers). Among many difficulties, there is also that of the nature of the project ("does it accord with Italian regulations to not give out a receipt to people who cannot pay?"). The only fixed point is the desire to open the restaurant in the centre, in an area where there are many young people. A study on the Australian restaurants found that for every dollar put into the project the state made 5.8 dollars in savings – another reason, also for us, to give support to the project.


Translated by Cormac Anderson