Lentils anyone?

Hey hey everyone,

It’s been a long time since I’ve written something for you.
Between my last post and now I had been juggling work, an unpaid internship, finishing up my Masters and most recently moving apartments (yes, I have moved yet again!). But the storm has finally begun to calm down and although I don’t see myself having a lot of free time for the next few days(maybe even a week or two), I shall try and be more frequent at posting articles (key word here :TRY).

Besides the above said reasons, another factor that put me off writing for a bit was simply the lack of something worthwhile to write about.
That is, until now.

Yesterday was my day off from work and I had intended on getting some shopping done for my new bedroom. I called some of my friends to come join me on this task because shopping is fun in numbers and also, I get super confused when shopping! I decided to head to Broadway Shopping Center and get my things from Target and Adairs.
An hour into shopping, we started to get hungry. So we put the rest of the shopping on hold and decided to take a drive up to Newtown in search of a good restaurant. This task proved to be even more difficult than shopping! And this is because one of my friends is vegan while the rest of us aren’t (I am an on-and-off vegan/vegetarian. I like to eat healthy and therefore have begun to eat a lot more veggies and a lot less meat/dairy/dairy products). After what felt like an endless debate of where to eat, we decided to go to a vegan restaurant that one of my non-vegan friends suggested.
The next seemingly impossible task came almost immediately. Finding this restaurant was not exactly easy as my friend neither knew the name of it nor where its precise location was. All he could remember was that it had a red sign-board and that it was crowded with people the last time he drove by it. Not exactly the best leads in the world and for a while I did think we were on a wild goose chase.
Finally we did manage to find the restaurant and it was, LENTIL AS ANYTHING. Not only was their sign-board a daring red but so was the entire outside wall. The menu board placed outside boasted some of the healthiest vegan/vegetarian dishes. And truth be told, I was highly doubtful that any of it would fill my stomach. I was convinced however, that it would definitely make my wallet a lot slimmer (because it’s a vegan/vegetarian restaurant in Sydney, enough said). Boy, was I wrong on both accounts!
We ordered two of their Mexican beans with cooked barley & salad and one of their broccoli and corn bake dishes (I can’t remember the name of it, sorry!:( ). After an anxious wait of 8-10 minutes, our food arrived. While it looked to be delicious, the portion size affirmed my initial doubts of it fulfilling my appetite. I dug into it thinking that it would be easy-peasy and that I’d have room for more. But the Mexican beans intended to prove me wrong. In the end, the beans won and I happily and gracefully accepted defeat. The best part was that unlike a meat-filled meal, this scrumptious lunch did not make me feel sluggish afterwards. It instead left me with a pleasant feeling of having had a hearty meal that was both tasty and healthy.

But what makes LENTIL AS ANYTHING a great restaurant is not just its food but what comes after. Now, not having inquired about the prices I was ready to fork out a pretty hefty amount. But when the waitress nonchalantly said that we could pay (or rather “donate”) WHATEVER amount we felt was appropriate, at first I was confused and then surprised. This restaurant had a Pay-What-You-Feel-Like policy; the first time I’ve ever come across something like it. It functions on the principle that “customers give what they feel the food is worth and have the opportunity to contribute towards a world where respect, generosity, trust, equality, freedom and kindness rule”. Customers can donate anything from $2 and above and this helps pay the wages, rent etc. And did I mention that the staff at this place comprise of volunteers?

I think this is a fantastic initiative of serving the community by generous community members through the powerful tool that is FOOD. Founded by Shanaka Fernando, LENTIL AS ANYTHING was first started in St.Kilda, Melbourne and its immense success led to the opening of 3 other outlets before they finally arrived to inner-city Sydney. And I am sure there are many like my friends and I who are extremely happy with this decision.
After speaking to two of their friendly volunteers, I have decided to provide my services as a community member someday soon.

I strongly urge all my readers in Sydney and Melbourne to give LENTIL AS ANYTHING a try, if you haven’t already. Even if you are not a vegetarian or a vegan I’m sure you will enjoy the meals that are definitely cooked with love. Not only that, but you would also be helping this restaurant serve its lesser fortunate community members with healthy, delicious and very affordable food.
And if you are considering volunteering for them, do take a look at their website, facebook page or simply ask one of their enthusiastic and very friendly volunteers of the procedure. Trust me; it is not a complicated or elaborate process at all.

All in all, I give LENTIL AS ANYTHING a 5/5 rating and I wish to thank them and its patrons, volunteers and suppliers for their amazing contribution to the community as well as for giving me a strong reason to write again! I wish them luck and success and hope they continue to spread the spirit of community in more parts of Australia. I once again urge all my Melbourne and Sydney based supporters to go and check out this fabulous food-joint.

Till we meet again with another article,

BYEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

Links to LENTIL AS ANYTHING:
Website: http://www.lentilasanything.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lentilasanythingsydney
Twitter: https://twitter.com/lentilasanythng

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Check Please!

Mornin everybody!

Hope ya’ll are doin mighty fine this Friday morning (I have no idea why I’ve suddenly gone Texan on you)! I’m feeling extra chirpy this morning and I am going to send out positive vibes to all of you, no matter where you are!
Today, I am going to do a review on a restaurant I visited recently. It is the Essenza Italian on Surry Hills.

Disclaimer: This is not a professional review but merely me sharing my experience at the restaurant, with some awesome readers. Also, I am not being paid by the restaurant to do so.

Hope that has helped put a lot of suspicious minds at ease. Now, moving on…
I happened to stumble upon Essenza’s Instagram account after they liked one of my pictures (obviously involving food!). I was just blown away by their pictures of yummy Risotto Marinara, Calamari Fritti, various meatball dishes and what not! Now those of you that know me well know that I have a weak spot for anything Italian, especially their food! So it was only obvious that I wanted to give Essenza Italian a try.

Wednesday night, my friend and I decided to catch up for dinner and I of course suggested we go to Essenza. Hardly a 15 minute walk from Broadway, the restaurant is comfortably nestled in the corner of Crown and Devonshire Street in Surry Hills. The restaurant isn’t very imposing architecture- wise, neither does it have a huge sign, which may cause a little difficulty in spotting it right away (especially at night). But once you find it, you will only be pleased to see that it in fact has a very cozy feel; both from the outside as well as the inside, as I found out later.

We were greeted to a very warm and romantic setting with dozen dimly lit candles all around. I did feel a little awkward being there with one of my closest-friends instead of a date, but then I realized I have way more fun with my friend anyway!

From the moment we were seated I was excited to go through their menu and see what they had to offer. However, when it finally arrived I must say I was quite disappointed. I couldn’t find many of the dishes that I saw on their Instagram page, on their menu. Maybe I was there at the wrong time? Or perhaps they have a different menu for larger groups where the other dishes are? In any case, I was quite bummed out.
They did however have some interesting items like Roast Lamb Rump with Caponata, Veal Involtini & Parmesan Polenta etc. After deliberating for what seemed like half an hour (we’re indecisive and talkative so, go figure) we finally decided to start off with some garlic bread for the table and then, I proceeded to opt for the Essenza Meatballs in Polenta (which is actually an antipasto :P) while my friend settled for the Spaghetti Marinara.

While we were waiting for our food to arrive, I noticed larger groups of people starting to come in and I was actually worried that it might get too noisy. Although the restaurant extends to an outdoor area at the back, the weather conditions were not exactly motivating enough for anyone to use it. I was however, pleasantly pleased that the atmosphere hadn’t changed despite the increase in customers. It seemed like everyone was respectful of the decorum of the restaurant as well as of other visitors. This gave my friend and me the opportunity to talk endlessly about completely random things, as we always do.
I wished I was sipping on some red wine while waiting but my throat wouldn’t have any of it, so I asked for some warm water instead. Now, one of the things that annoy me when I go to restaurants in Sydney is that most of them do not offer warm/hot water (which I will never understand!). However, not only did these guys offer to bring me hot water, but they brought it in a cute little tea-pot.
We were then served our garlic bread which came on a wooden serving board. The bread looked absolutely yummy; nice and crisp with a beautiful golden color. The downside to it was that we only got three slices of bread, which I thought was quite unfair considering that it tasted so good hahaha. They should probably consider increasing the portion to an even four!

Next we were served our main course (well in my case, antipasto). I was very content with my Essenza Meatballs in Polenta. I hadn’t tried the combination of meatballs and polenta before, but I loved it. The polenta was soft and had an almost buttery texture. The meatballs were cooked to the right amount and the sauce had a delectable tanginess to it. And for an antipasto, I must say it was quite filling.
My friend seemed pleased with her Spaghetti Marinara as well. I liked the fact that they sprinkled a generous amount of Parmesan and pepper on top while serving it. For those of you who are not cheese fans, do not worry, they ask you before-hand if you would like it or not. So you do have the option of skipping it.
I finished my meal with some hot peppermint tea (they do have quite a bit of options to select from, in the tea department). Although I would’ve loved nothing better than to indulge in some decadent Tiramisu or Panna Cotta, my throat like I said earlier, was being a stubborn jackass!
The tea helped a lot though. So for those of you out there with a scratchy throat, I recommend some hot peppermint tea.

At the cash register we were given bite-sized desserts (I forgot the name of it) which I thought was a pretty clever and innovative move of extending their customer-service till the exit. The price was not as fancy as the restaurant, which was definitely a plus sign.

All in all I was happy with my experience at Essenza Italian. The food is absolutely delicious; kudos to the chef! And the staff seemed nice and friendly. The atmosphere like I said is perfectly set for a romantic dinner. I’d definitely recommend this as a date place. However, if you’re single like me you can always rock up with your friends and have a good time. If you plan on going with a large group on a weekend, I would recommend booking in advance.
The only major drawback I found was the lack of choices on their menu, especially after you’ve looked at their Instagram account. Next time, I hope to clarify that with them.

Yes, there definitely is going to be a next time. And when that happens, I pray that my throat doesn’t act up so I can devour some yummy tiramisu!

I hope you guys enjoyed my little review of Essenza Italian. I give them a huge thumbs up and I recommend it to all of you that are looking for a new restaurant to head to.

With that thought, I bid you goodbye.
Have a Happy Friday! If you’re having a particularly tough day, just power through because the weekend is not far away!

Till next time. BYEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

THANK YOU FOR THE SUPPORT!!!!!!!

Sooooo guess who’s back from nearly a year’s hiatus! Yep, it’s your very own sporadic blogger.

First of, let me apologize for going under the radar all this while. As some of you may know I’ve been working and studying in Sydney for the past two years. And I’m happy to say that I’m finally free from half of the pressure, ie studying. I wrote the last of my exams yesterday and I had never felt more satisfied leaving an examination hall, for the sheer fact that I would never have to write an exam ever again!

Second of all, I’d like to thank everyone who has stuck by me and my little blog since the beginning. I started out with 20 odd followers, most of whom comprised of supportive family and friends 😛 But after almost a year and a half of little or no writing, I came back to a whopping 600 or so followers! It is truly heart-warming! And it is this love and support that has motivated me to come back.


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So that being said, I’m happy to announce that starting this week, I’m going to post a lot more for you guys. As of now I’m hoping to write at least two days a week and be consistent at that. I’ve also got a few other things in mind for my blog but it’s too soon to talk about it. So keep a look out for more updates 🙂

And finally, if there is anything you would like me to write about, do let me know. I love hearing from you and expanding my horizon on topics to write about. You can always reach me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram (the links are on the Homepage). 

Have an amazing day wherever you are! KBYEEEEEEEE