People

The Philosophy

At Sidart we believe in showcasing the best seasonal New Zealand produce. Progressive Indian flavours are married with contemporary cooking techniques to provide diners with an elevated experience. We pride ourselves in offering warm, personable service. Our wine list features some of the best regional vineyards of NZ and offers a selection of recognised and eclectic producers internationally. Sidart is an extension of our home and we look forward to welcoming you to be a guest at our table.

Environment & sustainability

Lesley uses produce from the garden to inspire him. Such as anise hyssop, rocket flowers and nasturtiums, courgette flowers, fennel fronds, green strawberries and more, that are then used in various ways by the chefs at Sidart. 



In September 2021 Lesley Chandra became the new owner Sidart, continuing the 12-year legacy built by previous owners (and founders) Sid and Chand Sahrawat. 
 
Originally from Fiji, Lesley’s love affair with food began when he was 16. Starting as a dishwasher and working in other kitchen roles, he was immediately drawn to the intensity of the environment. His passion for organisation and discipline grew and he eventually embarked on a 12-month diploma in cookery at Auckland Hotel and Chef’s Training School when he was 19.

After a few years of work and travel chef Lesley found himself working at Baduzzi under the tutelage of chef Ben Bayly who, after a period of time recommended Lesley to chef Sid Sahrawat, who was looking for a head chef to help develop the menu and run the kitchen at his new restaurant, Cassia.

So began Chandra’s first head chef role at Cassia in 2014 where he assisted chef Sid and the team create its famous and eclectic modern Indian menu which went on to garner many awards. 

In 2016 Lesley and his partner Lucia then chose to take a year-long sabbatical to the UK, where he worked as Junior Sous Chef at the Typing Room in East London. But in 2017 he was back in the Sahrawat stable, working in a research and development role created especially for him at Sidart. He led the R&D at Sidart until September 2018, when the Sahrawat’s acquired Sid at The French Café and appointed Chandra as their new head chef there. 

Chandra returned to Sidart as head chef in June 2021 and took full ownership in September 2021. 

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