Thursday, April 1, 2010
Driving down Barkly St a few months ago, my eyes gazed lazily over the forlorn shops up the western end of Barkly St. I sailed by the ping-pong specialist, Wing La with its dusty wedding cakes, Jim Wong's and Poon's (this sums them up: cornflour in an arrowroot sauce). Then I spied it - the tired Barkly Hotel had been transformed into the newest branch of Lentil as Anything. I whooped with joy! I have always loved the anarchic, free-love ethos of this pay-as-you-feel vegetarian eatery, and now Footscray could share in the love.
Fast forward a few months later, and after viewing The Naked Lentil on SBS, I had suffered a bit of a Lentil loss-of-innocence. It seemed like a crazed Ponzi scheme perpetrated by a complete egomaniac (watch the doco if you don't believe me). Still, my thoughts about its founder aside, it employs many people who may otherwise struggle to find work, gives work experience to many others, and provides an opportunity for many in our society to enjoy low-cost, healthy, vegetarian food.
Fellow parents and would-be gourmands of the west, if you are tired of toddlers escaping from chairs while waiting for their meal, which they then proceed to complain is "too spicy", take them down to Lentil. All the food is there waiting for you in their new buffet-style service, and you could take a teaspoon of each dish, see which they like, before you fill their bowl.
In about 2 minutes we were sitting down to spaghetti and scalloped potatoes for the kids, orange segments for the baby, and a Sri Lankan feast for the grown-ups, all with free refills. You can't beat that!
Here we have "biryani rice", crispy and naughty "potato donuts", Sri Lankan pumpkin curry (sweet and nutty) and a fantastic S. Lankan cashew & pea curry. This was a revelation - the cashews had become totally soft, but had lost none of their creamy nuttiness. Jeera pappadums topped off a great meal. I'm looking forward to stopping in for breakfast - apparently they do a full Sri Lankan spread!
Lentil as Anything
233 Barkly St, Footscray (map)
Hours: 9am - 9pm, 7 days