Feast of Merit is a restaurant with a mission, aiming to change one million lives by 2018 through YGAP (Y-Generation Against Poverty).
The social enterprise is inspired by a cultural festival in the northern Indian region of Nagaland, where the community gathers to celebrate a ‘Feast of Merit’ hosted by someone who has acquired wealth. The poor and disadvantaged feast until all the wealth and assets are distributed amongst the community, and the host, left with no material possessions, is given the gift of a golden cape as a symbol of their generosity.
At Feast of Merit in Richmond, all of the proceeds from your meal will go towards alleviating poverty at a local level through YGAP’s Spark Accelerator program. The program supports start-up entrepreneurs in South Africa, Kenya and Australia, helping to improve education, wages and health.
It’s not hard to be generous with a menu this good. Local, ethical and sustainable produce is given a Middle Eastern twist at the hands of Chef, Ravi Presser, whose resume lists Melbourne favourites Fonda Mexican, Cumulus Inc. and Circa. For a refreshingly different breakfast, sample the Middle Eastern crumpets topped with vanilla and cinnamon labne, mandarin curd and a maple “honeycomb”. Or on the savoury side, try the Ful Medames, a punchy mix of fava beans, green eggs and pickled turnips, spiked with cumin, parsley and lemon and served with makaneh sausage.
Drop by for lunch and you’ll be able to choose from a selection of wholesome salads. Opt for a mix of chargrilled broccoli, mint, pomegranate, hummus and watercress, or pumpkin with spiced Kabuli chickpeas tossed in a honey tahini dressing. Top with your preferred protein for a perfect midday meal – Hopkins River beef, roasted lemon and za’atar chicken, or the day’s fresh fish.
When dinnertime rolls around, go for a selection of share plates to start, such as the triple cooked spiced lamb croquettes dipped in whey dressing and the lemony Moreton Bay school prawns with spiced aioli. For something larger, try the Milawa free-range chicken teamed with rice, cinnamon, almonds and barberries, best accompanied with a drop from the curated wine list. It’ll be hard to leave without tasting the dark chocolate and olive oil sponge, paired with rhubarb and thyme and finished with a sesame crisp.
The coffee brews coming out of the La Marzocco come courtesy of St Ali, who supplied Feast of Merit with both the machine and two years of free beans. Extra virgin olive oil is sourced from award-winning producers Nagambie Gold, organic grass fed beef and lamb comes from paddock-to-plate producers Cherry Tree Organics and the kitchen was fully equipped with Australian-made commercial equipment thanks to a large donation from Luus.
With flavour-packed, high quality produce, prepared with a fresh Middle Eastern twist, the offering makes it easy to contribute to fighting poverty both at home and overseas. A welcome addition to the Richmond dining scene, Feast of Merit’s local, sustainable and charitable ethos earns it a golden cape for generosity.