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A traditional Indonesian diner in Lakemba that might just win the title of least pretentious venue in Sydney
In Indonesia, a warung can mean anything from the window of a family home selling tea and takeaway snacks to a small restaurant filled with cheap furniture and bains-marie displaying more shades of yellow, red and brown than an autumnal flower show. Whatever the format, they’re always relaxed, good value and entirely unpretentious. In Sydney we’ve got just a handful of Indonesian restaurants that fit that description, and Warung Ita does it best.
The place looks like a humble living room, and feels like one, too – albeit one with a lack of decoration. Plastic chairs and occasional food prep in the corner make for a relaxed vibe, and the staff will treat you like family, unafraid to have a laugh and crack a few jokes.
Like a home kitchen, you’ll never quite know what’s on offer here but some kind of fried fish, a soupy rendang and sambal-smothered eggplant are all pretty much sure-fire bets. There’ll probably be a menagerie of fried and sweet snacks on the counter, maybe even a sign advertising a special or two. There’s no menu to label any of those things – the strategy is to point to what you want, and that’s what you’ll get plonked onto a plate with rice. In all likelihood, it will cost you less than 15 bucks.