Yulli's, Surry Hills (Vegetarian Bar and Restaurant)

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"It's vegetarian food where you don't miss the meat" says Mr Gatsby telling me about his latest find, Yulli's in Surry Hills. He is also impressed that as a Surry Hills local, whenever he walks into Yulli's, there's a Skinny Blonde waiting for him at the the bar. The beer that is, not a person. Opposite the Clock hotel, Yulli's is a new Melbourne-style bar and eatery serving up what is reportedly some very good vegetarian fare. And of course I feel obliged to try it out with Queen Viv and Miss America-Miss America is a former vegetarian so I am interested in his feedback.

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It's Saturday night and we're sitting in the main area rather than the outdoor area as Queen Viv is recovering from a cold. Everything is warmly lit with red tones and looks very welcoming indeed. The menu is on the chalkboard behind the bar and you can either order there or, if you have a good memory, order at the table. Service is very friendly and easy going.

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Cinnamon Girl beer $5.80

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Wicked Elf Pilsner $8.60

The tables resemble wine crates with thick perspex tops and there are a combination of stools, chairs and lounges. A retro record collection lines one wall, another has empty beer bottles. Did I mention that the beer list is something special for beer drinkers? From fabulously named "Wicked Elf" to "Cinnamon girl" it appears that there is a beer to suit any whim or taste. Miss America and Queen Viv try both of those beers and are particularly partial to the Wicked Elf.

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Eggplant Involtini filled with buffalo mozarella & spinach topped with lemongrass tomato sauce,fresh basil  and parmesan served on a roti $17.50

Our Involtini arrives, it resembles a rather photogenic lasagne, The layers of soft eggplant are punctuated with interesting flavours such as lemongrass and I swear there was some mint along with the basil and buffalo mozarella. It sits on a roti which is not as odd as it sounds. In fact we barely notice that there is a cross cultural mix going on.

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Mixed chip plate: Sweet potato, taro, lotus root, beetroot and spanish onion $12.50

The chips arrive with a rosemary salt, tomato sauce and a tzatziki. They're all distinctly different with some particularly the taro and the sweet potato finding favour. The lotus root is not quite as enjoyable being crunchy and dry.

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Panfried Polenta: with braised porcini mushrooms and fennel, watercress and salsa verde $16.50

A triangle of polenta comes adorned with porcinis, fennel, greens and a piquant salsa versde. As polenta can be bland by itself, we make sure to get some mushroom topping and it is indeed delicious.

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Salt & Pepper Tofu served with a green papaya salad $15.50

Mr Gatsby's favourite dish, the salt and pepper tofu has 5 makeup sponge sized triangles of  tofu and accompanied by a green papaya salad. This is a nice dish and whilst the tofu is great, I really enjoy the green papaya salad next to it although.

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Yulli's Massaman curry Pie served with mashed potato $15.50

The massaman curry pie comes deep within a square individual pie dish with a covering of golden puff pastry and swirl of mash and a cinnamon stick on top-again there is an unusual hint of spices. The curry is sweet and delicious and full of chunky soft vegetables.

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Despite the crowds, and it's very busy tonight, we're not hurried and we are chatting for a while before I ask if anyone wants dessert. Two by two we go up to the menu and check out the desserts. Queen Viv and my husband like the sound of the Belgian white chocolate caramel slice while Miss America and I like the sound of the Mango Tapioca Pudding. Great choices the owner Carl says. He and his girlfriend own Yulli's and while she tends bar, he does his job charming the customers.

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White Chocolate Belgian Caramel slice with icecream $8.50

The slender White chocolate caramel slice is nice and sweet but the other dessert has won me.

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Mango Tapioca pudding with ice cream $9.50

The soft, gorgeously textured tapioca pudding is drenched with a mango sauce and served with coconut ice cream. It's fabulously moreish and creamy but still light enough for you to want to eat the whole thing yourself. But I don't of course, as that would be rude.

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Yulli's

417 Crown Street, Surry Hills, NSW

Tel: +61 (02) 9319 6609