The Lentil Manifesto

Food, gentle reader, is much better when it engages your mind as well as your senses, don't you think? Heres an idea: a restaurant with no prices. Pay what you think is fair! I was incredulous when I first heard of such a concept, and quite delighted when I saw it in action.

As we speak, "Lentil as Anything", a co-op based on this intriguing philosophy, thrives in Melbourne. This summer (yes, that would be December), I had the good fortune to stop by the Abbotsford as well as St Kilda locations. The pictures are of the St Kilda location.

Eating at Lentil as Anything put a spring in my step. For one thing, its a socially responsible, innovative enterprise. For another thing, it was so good to see them doing well. Its a colorful place, in many ways. The perfect way to spend a warm Sunday afternoon.

I am partial to the Abbotsford location (Thank you, Chai!) Housed in what used to be an old convent, Lentil as Anything is vibrant and unpretentious. The food is flavorful, locally sourced and altogether delicious.

I passed up the buffet and tried the 'oko', short for okonomiyaki pancakes. Even though the buffet had more choices, I loved my pancakes. Unusual, and quite yum, they hit the spot. I picked a quiet time to stop by the St Kilda location and it was charming, in that bohemian sort of way.

My lentil leanings, since coming back to Rochester, manifest in a simple split pea soup. Once you get over the Exorcist association, its impossible to get this one wrong. Bay leaves and black pepper make all the difference. The picture gods deserted me on this one, so shield your eyes!

Heres what I did:
1. Cooked 1 cup of split peas.
2. Sauted up to one cup diced white onion, garlic, celery, mushroom and carrots. Tossed in two bay leaves.
3. Added the cooked peas. Add salt to taste. Thicken with milk, stock or water.
4. A few grinds of pepper and I was all set!

Its really more of a split pea sludge than a soup, but you'll like it that way. This one goes to The WellSeasoned Cook, who is hosting "My Legume Love Affair"! How appropriate considering Valentine's Day is just round the corner! I'm speading the love - also hoping to see you at "No Croutons Required", hosted by Lisa of Food and Spice. This month's theme is Vegetarian Soups!


Asha said...

Hello gentle blogger buddy, how are you? You were in Aus and now you are in Rochester, don't you have glamorous life and career!!:)))
Green Peas soup in general(not your's) reminds me of that girl puking in "The Exorcist"!!Hahaha!!
Do you know I take atleast 20 photos of the same thing just in case it goes blurry on me?:D
Your's is not that bad, happens sometimes. Imp thing is you made and ate it! Enjoy the game, see ya!:)

Tracy said...

Do I have this right? You were in AUSTRALIA while you took your blogging break? I am so jealous!

I'm not sure about this concept of "pay what you think it's worth." Sounds like a recipe for disaster. Nice idea, though.

Lisa said...

Thanks for your entry Smita! Sounds simple and tasty.

Anonymous said...

ohhh. I work at Lentils I wonder if I was working then! xx

Mallika said...

The restaurant idea sounds fab! They should open one in the UK to show all the overpriced, rubbish restaurants up! Very cute photo of the soup...

ANJALI J. said...

i loved this too.. nice pic