IT’S THE EXAM PERIOD!!!! A time of panic, terror, and extremely distracting hunger. If you were anything like I was during my studying days, you probably also need to be eating while studying. Because that’s the best way to remember stuff right? But food is so expensive, and so much effort!
Enter student deals: The magic not-so-secret-menus that only require your student card to unlock. These food deals promise a quick and easy, value for money package that will fill your hungry student belly without you having to stoop to the local fast food joint.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
We’ve gone searching for places that you can wave your student card at – it’s not just for concession travel anymore!
Owned by the same people who bring you Sushigoi, in Coogee, Sushizilla is their foray into the hustle and bustle world of Sydney CBD. Providing quality food at reasonable prices, it’s easy to see that the name of the game here is FRESH. From fresh sashimi to hot pot, Sushizilla in Central Park provides traditional Japanese dishes executed in a modern style.
The Deal: 10% off when you show your student card!
Variations: This doesn’t apply to their $2 sushi train plates, which are available everyday from 5pm till close.
Value for Money: As far as good Japanese feasts go, it’s pretty good value for money. The Bento Boxes (pictured above), for example, are $13.80 for a regular, and $16.80 for a deluxe, which includes a miso soup and a chawanmushi – a Japanese steamed savoury egg custard with crab meat, chicken, mushroom and gingko nuts. Their Broadway Roll (pictured below, $6.80 without discount), is enough for a light lunch for one, and allows you to have a cheap lunch in the Broadway area without worrying about having to trek either way into Newtown, or Chinatown.
For more delicious recommendations from Sushizilla – like the amazing buttery Miso Cod (pictured below) – you can read our full review, here.
Central at Central Park
28 Broadway Chippendale, NSW
Phone: 0438 689 119
Moo Gourmet Burger
Moo Gourmet Burgers are styled after the old school milk bars and providing consistently quality burgers throughout Sydney. The burgers start at $11 for a Classic Beef Burger, and their menu includes a selection of sides including an artery clogging and yet so exhilarating Bacon and Cheese Chips, $9.50, and interestingly names Moo Shakes to complete your milk bar experience.
The Deal: $10 for a Classic Beef Burger with a side of hot chips.
Variations: You can upgrade to a more complicated burger, but you’d have to pay the difference.
Value for money: A Classic Beef Burger and chips would normally knock you back $16, so you’ll save on about a third of the bill. Since I’ve been burnt in the past by other burger joints, I was a bit worried about the burger being basic and an afterthought, but what came out was still a really good juicy burger with lots of greens and a thick patty. This meal was actually enough to feed two moderately hungry people, which to me means it’s plenty value for money. It’s no Mary’s, but it’s consistently good quality and fresh, and the Newtown outlet seems to be a popular lunch spot for students in the area.
Moo Gourmet Burgers
232 King Street Newtown, NSW
Phone: 02 9565 4001
Koffie Cafe et Patisserie, Broadway
The Deal: Pick a sandwich and a drink, for $9.90
Variations: You can make that drink a coffee, for an extra $1
Value for Money: It’s definitely a very tidy way to stay in a $10 per meal type of budget. The sandwich is usually served toasted, and was quite filling when I had it. The chicken and avocado sandwich (pictured), could do with a little more mayo for my taste, but the creamy avo definitely helps with that.
Koffie Cafe et Patisserie
Central at Central Park
28 Broadway Chippendale, NSW
Phone: (02) 8096 9900
Conveniently located in the busy suburb of Surry Hills, Ho Mei provides a selection of authentic home-style chinese food mixed with a modern twist. They provide “Asian Style Tapas” to their diners, alongside attentive and informative service.
The Deal: 15% off your bill when you download the PokitPal app, show the voucher with your student card.
Variations: No student card? No worries! Ho Mei also has half priced dumplings on Wednesday and Thursdays, and Shandong Chicken for $1 with every main meal over $20 purchased (for the month of September 2014).
Value for Money: At about $20-$30 for a main, Ho Mei’s menu fits right in with Surry Hill prices. The food though, is brilliantly executed and very sophisticated in their balance of flavours, which to me, makes it all the more worthwhile. Maybe this isn’t your student budget meal, but I think it would be fantastic for a night out with friends, when you’re ordering mains to share between you. I highly recommend the Steamed Butterfly Buns with Pork Belly and Applesauce, $12 for 2, and Banana Spring Rolls with Coconut Sorbet and Caramel.
Shop 8, 52 Waterloo Street Surry Hills NSW
Phone: (02) 8021 4806
Fogo Brazillian, Central at Central Park
I’ve always only seen Fogo at various food courts, leading me to always wonder about the quality of the food. Well, at Central Park, Fogo has a standalone store, featuring a very varied menu filled with Brazilian-style churrasco (barbecued meats) and sides!
The Deal: 10% off when you present your student card!
Variations: There aren’t any! I’ve been told that the student card discount applies across the menu.
Value for Money: I think it’s extremely reasonable for what they’re serving up. I tried the Brasilia Platter, $24, to get a taste of the variety of meats, and I could only finish half the platter. Definitely worth sharing between two people, dropping the price down to about $12 a serve. I can live with that. I also recommend getting the onion rings instead of chips, which will probably add $0.50 to your bill, but these onion rings are made from real, thickly-sliced onions, so I thought it was definitely worth doing.
If you decide to go for the popular all-you-can-eat option, it’ll set you back $38 (not calculating the discount), and will include skewers of beef, lamb, pork belly, prawn, chicken and chorizo! The cocktails are pretty good too – the Bloody Mary that I had was nicely balanced, and not over salted. Could probably do with a touch more lemon, but those are the things that you can specify when you place your order. Oh, and don’t forget to leave room for dessert! This uber decadent Dulce de Leche Chocolate Espresso pot is served with grilled pineapple ($6.50), and is also rich enough to share, making it super value for money!
Fogo Brazilian Churrasco
Lower Ground, The Dining District, Central Park
28 Broadway Ultimo, NSW
Phone: (02) 8096 5157
Lord of the Fries, Sydney CBD
Lord of the Fries started from the founders’ love for late night snacks while they were living in Taiwan. They started with the humble food van in Melbourne in 2004 – before Food Trucks really took off – and then settled in on a permanent store in 2005. Today, there is a Lord of the Fries outlet in Sydney (George Street), serving up fast, cooked to order food, to the hungry masses. Bonus: They are also completely vegetarian!
The Deal: $10 for a mini burger (pictured above), with fries and coke, or $5 for any two of the following – fries, coke or nuggets – during student happy hour between 3-5pm, on weekdays (pictured below).
Variations: You can choose any mini burger you’d like, and classic sauces come with the meal. If you’d like to try some of their premium sauces – I highly recommend the East LA cheese sauce – the difference would be added on top of the meal deal.
Value for Money: For $10, it’s quite a filling meal, especially in the heart of Sydney. I didn’t notice that the burgers were vegetarian – the patties felt and tasted like meat patties when you eat them in the burger – and I quite enjoyed the ‘chicken’ nuggets! There is a downside though – the store is takeaway only – if you’re looking for somewhere to sit down and eat, it might get a touch difficult.
Lord of the Fries
537 George Street, Sydney NSW
Phone: 1300 667 552
Ribs and Burgers, Central at Central Park
Ribs and Burgers have made their name in the casual dining sector, with multiple locations spanning New South Wales, Victoria, and Queensland. And they really do focus on that: Ribs and Burgers. And now with a new outlet at Central Park in Chippendale, they are pulling in the student crowds by offering a student deal too!
The Deal: 10% off your meal when you show your student card.
Variations: There aren’t any! While the discount applies across the menu, it is important to note that the student discount only applies to the person holding the card, and they aren’t allowed to stretch the discount across to their friends who are not students as well.
Value for Money: Considering the portion size, I’d say that it ranks not too badly on the value for money scale. The Best of Both (pictured above), $25, offers half a rack of ribs, with two mini burgers, and a choice of chips or cabbage salad (pictured below). Speaking from personal experience, that’s well enough to feed two people decently, or one extremely starving, hangry person.
The Wagyu Beef Burger (pictured below) is one of the pricier options, at $18 for a burger, but this thing is stacked with a 200g patty (as opposed to a regular patty weighing 160g), onion rings, tomato, pink sauce, pickle and onion.
Pro Tip: Do yourself a favour and order the Milo Thickshake (pictured below). $6 will get you a massive cup of heaven, and the milkshake is not only topped with extra milo, the bottom of the cup is too. I only found this surprise when I tilted the cup to finish the last bit of the drink, and the thickshake slowly gave way to a glorious chunk of milo powder at the bottom. Just mix, drink through a straw, and enjoy that crunchy goodness. Nothing like a milo thick shake crunch..mmmmmm.
Ribs & Burgers
Central at Central Park
28 Broadway, Chippendale, NSW
Phone: (02) 9280 0488
Thai Iced Tea, with pearls
Chatime to me is a cornerstone of University. It’s an addiction that is indicative of the late night studying, the early mornings, and the sugar rush to keep you awake through long lectures. Chatime started out when I was in Uni – when EasyWay was the go to bubble tea place – and boy, has it grown since. Their new outlet at the food court in Central Park offers a student deal, and from what I’m told, it has no ending date in sight!
The Deal: 10% off when you show your student card.
Variations: None, really. Sometimes, certain deals don’t apply to certain items on the menu, but this one is happily menu-wide. The only condition is that you can’t collect points on your rewards card if you want the discount.
Value for Money: Well, considering that the rewards card gets you 10% of the value credited to your account anyway, I think it’s a fair deal – you get to collect the discount now instead of waiting for your credit to build up! Take the cash money now, I say.
Central, at Central Park
28 Broadway Chippendale, NSW
I Ate My Way Through dined as guests of the above establishments