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Quirky Melbourne restaurants

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Melbourne is a melting pot of cultures, reflected in its cutting edge-fashion and dining and drinking establishments. We've found a couple of restaurants with a difference, worth checking out next time you are looking for a meal in Melbourne.

Paul Mathis's 100 Mile Café's slogan is ‘think globally, eat locally’. It follows the locavore's philosophy, also known as the 100 mile diet. Followers source the finest produce from the local community within a 100-mile radius. The rule is bent just a little, with organic tea and coffee provided by a grower in Byron Bay.

Their practice is to help protect the environment. Produce doesn't have to travel far, thus reducing carbon emissions and packing materials. Local producers are supported and you can track a food's provenance. All meat is organic and free-range and fish is caught from sustainable environments following the Australian Marine Conservation guide. Menus give details of just how far the food has travelled to reach your table. The cuisine is described as modern Australian with a Japanese accent.

Lentil as Anything is a restaurant with a difference. Diners pay what they think their meal is worth. Their slogan is ''food, culture, community'' and their philosophy is one that challenges and defies our money-driven consumerist society.

The non-profit vegetarian restaurant chain was founded by Shanaka Fernando, who was named Australia's Local Hero on Australia Day 2007 for his work as a social challenger. The Sri Lankan Buddhist came to Australia in 1989. The first Lentil as Anything restaurant was a co-operative and youth training enterprise, with Shanaka providing his personal capital. The business has grown into four others, with more opening soon.

Chefs turn out a variety of vegetarian and vegan meals such as udon, lentil burgers and a delicious Moroccan hotpot. There's plenty to choose from.


The quirky capital of Victoria


100 Mile Café entrees start at $3 and mains from $22. It is open from Monday to Friday from noon until late, Saturday from 6pm until late. Closed on Sunday.

Lentil as Anything is open between 9am-9.30pm every day and you pay what you think your meal is worth.

Virgin Blue has flights to Melbourne.

Adelaide $ 89
Sydney $109
Brisbane $149
Darwin $169
Perth $229

There are limited seats which may not be available at peak times or on all flights. Fares are one-way on the Net. An extra $15 will be charged for phone bookings. A credit card surcharge of an additional $2 per person per one-way flight is applicable. Fares are correct at March 6, 2008 and are subject to change.

Prices correct at March 6, 2008

For further information:

100 Mile Café
Level 3, Melbourne Central
211 La Trobe Street
Melbourne 3000
Ph: (03) 9654 0808
Fax: (03) 9654 1080

Lentil as Anything
1 St Heliers Street
Abbotsford 3067
Ph: (03) 9419 6444

Virgin Blue
Ph: 13 6789

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