The Lentil As Anything cafes in St Kilda, Abbotsford Convent, Footscray and Preston offer a unique dining experience as a not-for-profit vegetarian group of restaurants. The brain-child of founder Shanaka Fernando, profits are put back into funding projects to help acclimatise and re-establish the lives of migrants and refugees.

The philosophy behind Lentil As Anything is to believe in the generosity of its patrons and, with this is mind, customers pay what they can afford or what they think the food is worth. Surprisingly, this formula has worked very well and Fernando’s faith in human nature is continuously rewarded – though this could have something to do with the fact that the food and drinks are of a very high quality and generous portions.

There is a strong focus on Indian and Sri-Lankan based cuisine. Although the atmosphere differs in each of these locations, continuous music and an array of customers can be found in each at any time. Tucking into a freshly made salad or organic eggs while overlooking the Abbotsford Convent’s gardens is a wonderful way to start or end the weekend. Students and creative types adore these cafes at all times, but come the weekend it’s a haven for all and sundry.