Several friends have asked if I should do a section for vegetarians in each blog post which includes any suitable dishes they should try at a non-veg eatery. Due to my love of meat, this has been tough. One restaurant that I've been keen to go for a while and would certainly recommend to my vegetarian/friends is Yulli's in Surry Hills. There's something about it that makes you initially believe that it's just another Modern Australian, organic-food friendly Surry Hills restaurant until you paid attention to the menu and realise "hey where's the meat?". This was what happened when I stepped inside Yulli's a few years ago. Back then I was in my polenta phase so I was craving over a pan-fried polenta dish. It was until after I left feeling completely satisfied that I realised that it was vegetarian. And I really enjoyed it.
Since then, I have been trying to go back but it's always completely packed out. Even on a Tuesday evening at 7:00pm. At the rear end of the restaurant, there is also an outdoor area which is not as noisy or busy as the front. Quite relaxing although it's still fairly busy since the service staff had to run around everywhere.
Poire Cider - Small Acres Cyder from Orange NSW : fruity and sparkly ($8.80)
Salt and Pepper Tofu with Green Papaya and Peanut Salad ($16.50)
I wasn't planning on ordering the haloumi dish but after hearing the recommendations from the service staff, we went along - it's a vegetarian restaurant after all. Now the photo below does not do this dish justice. CC is a big haloumi fan and she was disappointed by some versions of this dish in the past. Until now. She took only one bite and went into haloumi heaven - it's like having foodgasm actually. I tried it as well and thought it was really good too. Wasn't very salty and the squeaky texture was just right. In addition, the beer batter gave the haloumi a light crunch. It was also delivered with a pomegranate salad and lemon wedge for some added flavour once the cheesiness takes over the palates. Maybe it was the beer batter that got us nuts about it but CC literally fell in love with this dish.
Beer Battered Haloumi with Pomegranate Salsa and Lemon Wedge ($13.50)
I really enjoyed trying the steamed leek and ginger dumplings. The nicely shredded filling gave it a fairly strong flavour but it didn't matter since I got quite addicted to this. Really liked the dumpling skin which had a bitey texture and matched well with the well-cooked filling. The plum sauce was lovely to have for a bit of tanginess. Also great with soy sauce too (like always :p).
Steamed Leek and Ginger Dumplings ($12.50)
In a continuation with the Asian-Vegetarian fusion, we also tried out the edamame and coconut money bags. These were crispy and moreish thanks to the thin pastry and the rich filling. The inside filling was very crumbly and sweet though I personally thought that the coconut flavour and texture was quite strong. The pineapple sweet chilli sauce actually gave it a more savoury taste which was nice.
Edamame and Coconut Money Bags with Pineapple Sweet Chilli Sauce ($12.50)
Initially we were planning to get our usual round of Gelato Messina since it's a few blocks away. When looking at the desserts, we remembered the heavenly sticky date pudding at Jones the Grocer and immediately had cravings. Unfortunately this wasn't the case. The pudding was richer and the coconut ice cream melted way too quickly. It didn't have that soft or moist texture that made us loved it so much at JTG. I think it's because it's catering for the vegetarian/vegan market so the cakes will most likely be flourless hence the different taste that we're familiar with.
Sticky Date and Pecan Pudding ($11.50)
Apart from the ice cream, CC and I almost couldn't tell which dessert belong to us. Seriously it looked sooo similar! I was very surprised at how big the chocolate brownie turned out to be. It wasn't bad but it didn't impress us too much either. While it was soft, the texture was also quite heavy and the cake was stuck to my teeth very easily. It was complemented with the strawberry ice cream which tasted quite nice and not too rich though it also melted too quickly.
Double Chocolate Brownie with Strawberry Ice Cream ($11.50)
417 Crown Street, Surry Hills NSW 2010
(02) 9319 6609
Mon-Wed: 5pm - late
Thurs-Sun: 11:30am - late