For two decades, Lentil as Anything has been cooking up wholesome meals for the masses at its pay-as-you-feel vegetarian restaurants in Melbourne and Sydney.
To help Australians in lockdown – especially those strapped for cash right now – the social enterprise has launched Together as Anything, a new initiative that lets you pay as little or as much as you’re able to for a meal and have it delivered for free. The offer is open to anyone living within two kilometres of Lentil’s Abbotsford and Thornbury restaurants in Melbourne, or its Newtown restaurant in Sydney.
“The meals we make each day are largely defined by the produce we’re able to rescue from various local markets,” says Thornbury restaurant manager Samuel Rowe. “The goal is to make everything hearty and healthy.”
The original restaurant in the bayside Melbourne suburb of St Kilda is still working on its delivery capabilities, but all locations are doing takeaway. And customers who don’t live near one of the locations can order and pay fixed (but affordable) prices via Uber Eats.
Each restaurant’s menu varies slightly, but there are a couple of options available across the board for lunch and dinner, plus a dessert.
The meals are vegan-friendly and you can expect a mix of pastas, curries, tagines, enchiladas, soups, stews, risottos and more.
There are also vacuum-sealed, ready-to-eat meal kits available for $10. Those contain four to eight servings each and can be kept in the fridge for up to 10 days or frozen.
Customers living close enough to order using the pay-as-you-feel online system will have their food delivered by a volunteer driver. More than 200 people have volunteered to help with deliveries or cooking within the last month.
“Many are highly skilled people who have lost their jobs and really enjoy the opportunity to keep being productive,” says Frida Komesaroff, who is coordinating Lentil as Anything’s national coronavirus response. “When organising tasks for our volunteers, we aim to nurture their skill set and give them the opportunity to be creative with their input into the operation.”
Lentil as Anything is working to expand its delivery catchment, and is considering putting together boxes of produce, too.