Sri Lankan Night - Papare band and a specialty menu

Join us for a slice of Sri Lankan Culture at Lentil as Anything, Abbotsford.


On Sunday February 18th we are bringing a specialty menu of epic proportions and some party fun time Sri Lankan Style!

There will be specialties at our Chai Cart as well as coming out of our magical Kitchen

We are also very excited to have Melbourne Papare Band coming in to get us moving and grooving Lankan Style.


Visit their facebook page here


Stay tuned for our Menu coming soon and tell all your friends!    :)

See our facebook event page here


The new Queen of Thornbury

Meet the new Queen of Thornbury


There's a new Queen in our Thornbury restaurant and she rumbled into work on her super-colourful tram!

Dayle has just hung up her fangs after spending eight years with the internationally known 'Draculas Cabaret'. During this time she worked in Restaurant Management, Hospitality, Retail and Marketing. Prior to Draculas, you could find her behind the microphone at radio stations throughout New Zealand or touring the Land of the Long White Cloud with theatre shows. A supporter for animal rights, sustainability and all things musical, this Brunswick local grew her first organic cucumber patch this year!

Come on in and say hello to our new restaurant manager - she'd love to meet you!



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





Humans of Lentil

"Everyone sees something different in Lentils"

"My love of food was passed down to me through the maternal line. My Granny is an excellent cook. My maternal grandparents are work class scots, but my Grampa was a musician and he travelled a lot playing music on cruise ships. He developed a taste for world food and when he married my Granny she had to learn to cook! He took her to the first Chinese restaurant in Glasgow and she loved it. She learnt to cook French, Italian, Chinese, Indian… It’s very unusual for someone of her generation. All of my family on my Mum’s side are food obsessed. My dad says we are the only family he’s met who will be sitting down to one meal and planning the next!

Before I came to Lentils I was living and volunteering at a yoga ashram whilst I studied yoga. I rose to head chef of the kitchen there, and became skilled at mass catering vegetarian food whilst working with international volunteers through programs like help-x. When I left the ashram my mum asked me ‘what do you want to do next with your life?’ and I said – ‘I want to do the same job but I want to get paid’. Within a week of leaving the ashram I applied and was accepted for the head chef role here in Newtown. I would never have been capable of this job if it wasn’t for my years as a volunteer. Volunteering helped me develop skills, confidence and a new sense of what I am capable of. It literally changed my life.

Working at Lentil has given me a chance to give back, to hold space for volunteers and less skilled staff, to give them the opportunity to learn and grow in an environment that is nurturing and non-judgemental. Everyone sees something different in Lentils. I feel that the most positive service that lentils offers to the community is not serving affordable food, but offering people the chance to volunteer. To be part of a family, to be accepted with all their quirks, and to build confidence, skills and friendships. I have watched people bloom in front of my eyes. Again, volunteering can change people’s lives." — with Sian MacTaggart.



For more great Humans of Lentil, check out the facebook page here

Seeking Floor Manager, Sydney

Employer: Lentil As Anything Inc.Work Type/s: Casual or Part-time Classification/s: Management, Retail & Hospitality, Volunteer Management Sector/s: Not For Profit (NFP) Location: Sydney

We are looking for a superstar to manage our floor.

Lentil as Anything is a not-for- profit community restaurant that allows customers to pay what they can afford for a meal. We are largely staffed by volunteers, and focus on creating an inclusive community space that welcomes people of all backgrounds, abilities and walks of life.

We are looking for a superstar to manage our floor. This job is part management and part community development and requires a person that is calm, committed, confident and patient while taking on a fast-paced working environment utilising exceptional communication and leadership skills. Successful applicant must:  Be flexible to work a variety of shifts: days, nights and weekends.  Be able to maintain good working relationships with kitchen staff, volunteers and fellow management members  Be able to mentor and guide unskilled volunteer staff  Have a warm personal leader’s demeanour with a team focused view to deliver great customer service  Be comfortable with working with people of all backgrounds including new migrants, refugees, homeless, queer and trans folk, people with disabilities and mental health issues  Have excellent communication in writing, speaking and reading English  Have at least 1-2 years experience working in hospitality management The role includes:  Managing all floor operations and all floor staff  Working under the Restaurant Manager and working closely with other management team members, kitchen staff, and volunteer staff  Training floor staff in opening and closing and in-service procedures  Attending scheduled staff meetings  Leading by example in all things required of volunteers  Promoting and maintaining effective communication channels between kitchen and floor  Cashing up at end of shift  Maintaining adequate knowledge of all food and beverages served within the restaurant  Communicating effectively with staff and customers to maximise mutual satisfaction  Training for all operations unique to Lentil As Anything will be provided


To apply please email your resume and cover letter to Rose the Restaurant Manager at

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

Lentil As Anything Sydney - Xmas Support

Lentil As Anything Newtown is asking for some extra help this Xmas from our community!

This year Lentils welcomed the start of summer with a break in, where the thief (or grinch?) stole our safe containing thousands of dollars of donations.


Lentil As Anything is a not-for-profit restaurant where people can pay what they can afford, according to their own financial ability. If customers can only afford a little, they can volunteer for their food. We believe everyone deserves a place at the table!

Lentils relies solely on the donations of it's customers to keep it running. Unfortunately this theft has been a sad setback. Many people hold misconceptions that Lentils is free, but actually it's far from it . We pay rent, bills and usual costs - all from the precious donations of the people.

By donating to this campaign, you will be covering the costs of the money that was stolen. You will be helping us pay the $11,000+ a month in rent, pay the bills, and help us source the ingredients that we need to cook your food.

Most importantly you will be helping us continue to feed 500-600 meals a day !

Please show your support by contributing a donation. It doesnt matter how big or small- it matters to us all! (queue cheezy xmas rhyme).. Thanks and thanks and thanks again x

[button color="red" size="big" link="" icon="" target="true"]Donate via GoFundMe[/button]



Job Vacancy: Restaurant Manager (Melbourne)

Restaurant Manager - Melbourne

This is a great opportunity to join a community of socially responsible change makers who share a passion for providing delicious vegan food in an inclusive and vibrant restaurant environment.

You should have a demonstrable background in hospitality and leadership, and a passion for providing opportunities, training and development for volunteers.

You will need exceptional people skills, and be comfortable working with people of diverse backgrounds and experiences, including refugees, new migrants, LGBTQIA+ folk, people with mental health problems, disabilities and other marginalised groups.

A background in socially inclusive areas will be looked on favourably.

How to apply for this job

Please check out our advertisement at

New Brew Crew - Barista Training!

volunteer making a coffee in a Lentil As Anything apron New Brew Crew - Barista Training!

New Brew Crew is a barista training course for people from refugee backgrounds and those seeking asylum to gain professional coffee making skills.
Thanks to the support from the Westpac Foundation, local coffee experts from the Buccheri Group will help people learn niche skills and hugely increase their chance to gain employment in hospitality.

This course is available free of charge for those with refugee and asylum seeking backgrounds.

The course covers:

  • Introduction to coffee
  • Consistency over quantity
  • Get the Skills - Latte Art
  • Working Day Simulation – Practice at Lentil as Anything!
  • Get a Professional Resume and short video showcasing your skills
  • Interviews with cafes and restaurants

Next Course Date: To be announced.

If you would like to apply for a place on this course, please send an email to

*Please note, this course is only available for those with refugee and asylum seeking backgrounds. 

If you are a potential employer and would like to be informed when the participants graduate, send an email to