Mental As Anything

7 Nov

As I write this my belly is in a happy place, my soul is feeling cleansed and my wallet is intact, these three things very rarely happen simultaneously and no I have not just been for a bite with my homeboys Jesus and Pope. I have just returned from an excellent family brekkie outing to Lentil as Anything @ The Convent, Abbotsford. One of a growing number of ethical eateries in Melbourne, Lentil as it’s affectionately known, has a revolutionary philosophy all of its own and we will get onto that later.

The Convent and its immediate locale is my top pick for a relaxed family outing in Melbs. The combination of good and interesting food, open spaces, relaxed vibes, ethical stand point and the piece de resistance of a petting farm to walk off any excess gluttony is hard to beat (did I also mention the Boiler Room Bar has a great range of craft beer?) We tend to rock up on a Sunday morning strap Max into his bike seat and take an ambling ride along the Yarra, back to Lentil to refuel on ethnic and ethical nom nom’s and then finish The Boy off with some bovine offerings (for petting not eating) at Collingwood Children’s Farm.

There is no shortage of purveyors of quality brekkie in Melbourne but Lentil has quite a few pleasing Unique Selling Points. My go to dish is the Sri Lankan Farmers Brekkie, a crispy sweet potato crepe filled with spiced potato, a mint raita and tomato chutney. Could I just say that if this is standard fare for Sri Lankan farmers then I am off to get my combine on in Colombo. Mrs Under is partial to the spiced beans with semolina corn cakes and tomato chutney. Max meanwhile is in foodie heaven with THE fluffiest buckwheat pancakes, doused in maple syrup, natural yoghurt and fresh fruit. Mrs Under always tries to order a child’s portion for Max and I always have to deliver a well placed kick in the shins to ensure I get a bit of fluffy action too. I love the novelty of having a slightly unconventional breakfast rather than the usual egg, avocado, smoked salmon, blah, blah, blah, don’t get me wrong they have their place too but a change of scenery is nice too.

Unique selling point number two is the philosophy. This can be a little harder to get your head around. At its core the Lentil model is based around trust, respect and generosity, Ronald would never dream of putting an unhealthy Mc in front of any of these words. The restaurant asks that customers pay what they can afford and what they feel the meal is worth. Imagine not being able to afford the simple pleasure of dining out, Lentil takes that possibility out of the equation for those fortunate enough to be in its vicinity and welcomes one and all. The opportunity to go back for seconds or even thirds without the scrutiny of an over officious waiter also scores highly in my book.

Go there knowing that you will be eating rustic rather than refined fare. Enjoy eating something a little out of your norm. Embrace the pay what you can philosophy and enjoy feeling just a tad morally smug for the rest of the day knowing you’ve got karma points in the bag.

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11 Responses to “Mental As Anything”

  1. Kelly HTandT November 7, 2012 at 10:28 pm #

    I’ve always been intrigued by “pay what you can” places, because (and I don’t mean to sound so cynical) there are so many dishonest and tight arsed people in the world that I wonder how they can break even, let alone make any money?
    Anyway, breakfast is my absolute favourite meal to go out for and I agree, when it’s accompanied by a walk its awesome. But I find it difficult to get all 5 of us up, dressed and out the door before someone is due for a nap or without someone constantly complaining “I’m hungry!”. And can I just say, those pancakes look divine.

    • daddownunder November 8, 2012 at 12:36 am #

      The pancakes were the star of the show and I was pretty happy when Max couldn’t finish them! I also wonder how they make any money but I think its run as a charity and relies on donations and volunteers too.

  2. Rory Mouttet November 7, 2012 at 10:51 pm #

    Wow – I’ve never heard of a place like this in Perth. Sounds pretty awesome. I’ll have to remember it if I ever go to Melbourne – you make it sound pretty excellent.

    • daddownunder November 8, 2012 at 12:34 am #

      It’s just makes a nice refreshing change Rory, I didn’t really intend to blog about it, but came back and felt inspired

  3. mumabulous November 8, 2012 at 1:02 am #

    A foodie blogger too? Is there no end to your talents Matt? I just want to know one thing, when are these guys opening a franchise in Sydney complete with petting zoo? Team Abulous would be there quicker than you can type “right on and groovy”

    • daddownunder November 8, 2012 at 1:12 am #

      Hello Mumabulous (I’m sure thats not your real name), I’m still trying to work out where my talents begin to worry about an end : ) It is a bit right on and groovy I suppose, but in a good rather than wanky way.

  4. Becky from BeckyandJames.com November 9, 2012 at 11:00 am #

    I’ve never heard of a place like this before! But it sounds amazing. And those pancakes look delicious.

  5. EssentiallyJess November 9, 2012 at 9:55 pm #

    I’m not a fan of ethnic food (worlds fussiest eater here), but I love the idea. How much do you pay though? I would find that really hard to work out.

    • daddownunder November 9, 2012 at 10:32 pm #

      I pay what I think its worth or sometimes what I have on me. Its very much down to what your comfortable with, sometimes I don’t pay if I have no money with me and then pay double next time. It takes a bit of getting used to.

  6. Lisa@RandomActsOfZen November 10, 2012 at 1:26 am #

    I keep hearing about this fab eatery, and think one would do very well in my sunny part of the world. I love that the whole concept is based on karma, and think it all definitely pays off in the end.
    Great review, even though you didn’t plan it to be one. The more exposure they can get, the better 🙂

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