The Philosophy

At Sidart we believe in showcasing the best seasonal produce and ingredients from some of the finest growers and farmers in the Auckland region and the whole of New Zealand.  Selecting exceptional ingredients from local suppliers is at the forefront of our ethos.

Sidart focuses on local and seasonal produce native to both New Zealand and the wider Pacific region reflecting flavours Lesley grew up around in both Fiji and New Zealand. Lesley along with our kitchen team strive to present these flavours though techniques he has learnt cross a storied career in New Zealand and abroad.

Our wine list features some of the best regional vineyards of New Zealand and offers a selection of internationally recognised and eclectic producers. 

We pride ourselves in offering warm, personable service. Sidart is an extension of our home, and we look forward to welcoming you as a guest at our table.

Lesley Chandra - Owner & Executive Chef

In September 2021 Lesley became the new owner of 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 organization 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 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 Lesley'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 Lesley as their new head chef there. 

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

Joe Costello - Restaurant Manager & Sommelier

With more than a decade’s experience in hospitality, Joe brings a commitment to excellence in his role as our restaurant manager at Sidart.

Originally from Clare, Ireland, Joe was raised around a love for food and restaurants. His mother, a chef & baker, passed on her passion for the culinary world to him from an early age. From 17 years old he began to work in numerous fine dining restaurants and prestigious hotels throughout Clare, Limerick and Galway, developing his experience and knowledge of the industry. After completing his college experience in Hospitality Management in Dublin’s Institute of Technology he was the opening manager for The East Room at Plassey House in which he helped achieve 2 AA Rosettes and a Michelin Plate in their opening year.

At the end of 2018 he moved to Sydney, where he worked at Nomad in Surrey Hills, progressing his knowledge of fine dining and wine while exploring Australia. 

In 2020 Joe moved to New Zealand and joined the Sidart team, assuming the role of Restaurant Manager in December of that year. He has a true love for Sidart’s philosophy & standards.

Since arriving in New Zealand he has come to love the viticulture industry in this country, this can be seen throughout the wine list created by him. With offerings from some of New Zealand’s top vineyards as well as working with smaller independent vineyards and winemakers he has worked on developing a wine list that highlights some of the amazing wine this country has to offer. Combining this with a love for both the classic and contemporary we are proud to offer such a diverse range of wines on our list. In 2023 Joe received his Introductory Sommelier Certificate from the Court of Master Sommelier Oceania.

In his spare time he loves to travel around the country seeing the amazing beaches, hikes, vineyards and restaurants, New Zealand has to offer. In his downtime at home, he explores his own love for cooking and wine in his own kitchen.

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