Here’s a question for all you Sydney folk. When was the last time you went to Sydney Olympic Park, excluding a sporting or trade event or for the Easter Show? I mean, is there any other reason to head out there? OK, fair enough the precinct now has office, residential and hotel buildings so people do work and live in our former Olympic site but would you ever choose to go there for lunch or dinner? I’m not seeing many hands.
In all honesty I’d only been to Sydney Olympic Park once, several years after the Games in 2000 just to see what was out there. A bunch of arena’s, a stadium, it was a pretty ho-hum experience. New office buildings have sprouted around the train station and as I discovered on a recent spur-of-the-moment visitation, a Vietnamese restaurant that also poses as a morning cafe.
Lotus Story is a modern eatery that services the local weekday corporate lot in that part of town, pulling morning coffees and offering cakes, pastries and banh mi before 11am and more substantial Vietnamese fare after. My early arrival meant I couldn’t choose from the lunch menu so as I sat and sipped a di Manfredi macchiato (3.5), not bad actually, I looked over the menu and waited for the clock to hit 11. I also checked out the online menu and noticed a lot more there than on the paper menu in the restaurant. Pity, as I really wanted the nem nuong skewers.
The selection of starters was small and uninspiring so I settled on the good old goi cuon (6.5), that Southern Vietnamese rice paper roll filled with rice vermicelli, pork, prawn, pickled carrots and herbs. Not bad. The so-called pork stack (16) sounded just like what I always tend to go for in any Vietnamese eatery. The menu mentions rib fillet but what we have is an enormous and juicy pork chop about an inch thick, beautifully flavoured with a nuoc mam-type dressing, oozing fried egg, pickled veg, pork cake and rice. It was meant to be broken rice but I got the regular long grain variety. The enormity of the meal meant I couldn’t try anything else, as much as I wanted to, so if I bother with catching three separate trains to get there again, I just may return. Or not.