Tuesday, September 28, 2010

September 17, 2010: Yulli's

Yulli's has been raved about by many a vegetarian and/or blogger (check out the list of links at the bottom of this post) and K snagged us a reservation for a late Friday night dinner, our first meal in Sydney.  It wasn't precisely what we needed that night, for a few reasons:
  1. Having just travelled interstate and sorted out our accommodation, we were very very hungry.  It's a popular restaurant and consequently there were long waits for food; we got a little impatient.
  2. When Michael poured out our first bottle of water, we received a special bonus.  Can you see it in the photo above?  Yep, that's a cigarette butt.  Using longnecks for water bottles just got real.  Staff were extremely apologetic and replaced water and glasses.  This suppressed our appetites for perhaps a couple of minutes each.
  3. We were seated outside in the very dark courtyard.  This made it tough for us antsy food bloggers to take photos.  I hope the ones here don't cause you too much pain; check out the links below for some better pics.
  4. In order to maximise our tastings, we ordered heavily from the 'To Share' side of the menu.  Divided amongst five, this meant that we often got little more than one or two bites of each dish.  Ravenous as we were, it was a little frenzied and we all tried our best not to selfishly gorge.  We agreed that one usually needs at least three decent bites before feeling like they've had a decent 'taste' of something. 
None of these whinges should put you off visiting Yulli's!  If you're not tremendously hungry or greedy or trying to blog as much of the menu as you can late on a Friday night, then there's every chance you'll have a fabulous meal.  We had a pretty darn great meal in spite of it all.  Let me show you what we ate...

A mixed chip plate! ($13.50)  These starchy veges and dipping sauces were a fun change from (but no long-term substitute for) my beloved spuds'n'tomato sauce.

These corn fritters were one of their specials, and one of the most popular around the table.

The steamed leek and ginger dumplings ($12.50) vanished almost instantly.  The spring rolls ($9.50) tasted great but their portioning was almost comical; six teeny open inch-long tubes, perhaps the equivalent of two conventional mini spring rolls.  The salt and pepper tofu ($15.50) was my savoury highlight, as much for the sour green papaya salad on the side as for the light and crunchy-batter tofu chunks.

Well, we were still hungry.  So we ordered another round...

The veganised baby burrito plate ($15.50) really hit the spot!  After all those dainty tastes, the beans felt more substantial and we did our best to share the condiments around fairly.

The massaman curry pie ($15.50) was very difficult to divide, but well worth it for the taste.  The vege chunks are coated in a thick sweet-spiced gravy, then topped with a puff pastry square and scoop of mashed potato.

We also found room for dessert - the one vegan option is a mango tapioca pudding with coconut icecream ($10.50).  Unusually, the tapioca is served as a solid mould and topped a mango sauce.  Its texture was terrific, not gluey or too dry, especially when teamed with the icecream; and one of the best vegan icecreams I've ever eaten, at that.  Even the allegedly-dessert-indifferent amongst us (Toby, Michael) could not get enough of it.

So by all means, do go to Yulli's for the food!  A separate menu listing vegan and gluten-free options is available on request.  It simply repeats the suitable dishes that are already listed on the standard menu, so I can't help thinking that a couple of footnotes on the main page would be more effective.  Similarly, we found the service eager-to-please but not altogether efficient.  It wouldn't put us off returning if we find ourselves back in Sydney.  I reckon that dessert could just about lure us back from Melbourne on its own.

Address: 417 Crown St, Surry Hills NSW
Ph: 9319 6609
Fully licensed
Price: veg sharing plates $9.50-$15.50, mains $15.50-$17.50
Website: http://yullis.com.au/


  1. I'm so happy you guys went to Yulli's and enjoyed the food. Now I have to go back just to try those corn fritters, I never think to look at the specials.

  2. I'm just going to flail a little bit about the cigarette butt-flavoured water for a moment before getting into the comment proper...

    *flails fretfully* EWWWWWWW!

    Phew, now that's out of the way, the food looks gorgeous! I wouldn't be surprised if the mango tapioca lures you back all on it's own, I'm halfway tempted to book a flight after seeing the photo alone!

  3. Lotus root chips! Now why didn't I think of that. I have lotus root in my fridge and short of soup and stir fry I never know what to do with them. Chips! That's brilliant.

  4. Oooh, I want to try there now! I will just try not to think about the water. How cool that there's a veg place like that in the outer east :D