Think you’re a kind and generous person? Think again; you might give away your last Rolo, donate a percentage of your income to charity, or help old ladies across the street, but there’s a tribe in northern India which puts the rest of the world to shame with its “Feast of Merit” custom. Members of the Naga people generally lead a modest lifestyle, but when one among them strikes it rich, that lucky person can choose to throw a massive party for everyone, which continues for weeks until all the money is gone. Every last bit. The benevolent hosts don’t come out of it completely empty-handed though, as the tribe gifts them a golden cloak to commemorate their generosity as they go back to their workaday lives. Easy come, easy go I suppose.
Anyway that’s the story behind Feast of Merit in Melbourne, which is a social enterprise restaurant by YGAP – the same nice people behind Kinfolk who put the profits from their businesses into aid projects. This is a place where the food is every bit as good as the intentions, and the look of the place is very nice too. The massive mural out front was done for free by a group of kind artists, and bits of salvaged wood and metal have been donated by friends of the cause. The exposed brick and peeling paint has been decorated with some smart new furniture and fixtures, which together create a feast for the eyes as well as the stomach.