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.