Here’s a sad sight: UTS students pouring out of late-morning lectures and tutorials and into cafes that serve cold pesto pastas and chewy kale salads. Sad because they obviously haven’t heard that just a block away, hidden down a nondescript alley, is one of the best student feeds in Sydney.
Since opening in 2011, up the road from where it is now, Lestari has been serving up what Indonesian students have been eating for decades – fried rice, fried noodles and rice with meat on it. The Lestari brand is particularly popular in Sydney because it’s Surabaya style, which means every plate of nasi goreng, mee goreng or ayam bakar ( the grilled chicken over the rice) is particularly salty, spicy and punchy. In other words, it’s got that essential student meal requirement – heartiness.
If that isn’t a big enough sell, check out the prices. Nothing is more than $15. A nasi goreng is only $11, a pork-laden bowl of egg noodles with a side of soup just $10, and a hunk of sticky grilled chicken an unbelievable $8.50.
The menu is just as simple as it sounds, mainly just the standard noodle, rice or chicken options plus a few kinds of soup. If you’re hoping to experiment with lesser-known Indonesian recipes, ask about the specials. Some days it’s meatball and vermicelli soup, and on others it’s kind of spicy grilled chicken from Lombok.