I was looking forward to a middy of New at my favourite Surry Hills pub on Thursday night and was already in the door when my friend, Eames Periwinkle said, ''Let's keep going, there's a new pub around the corner''.
I looked longingly at the tap of New - yes, I have bogan beer tastes - and then reluctantly followed my friend back out in to a humid Surry Hills evening.
"So, what's this new pub?'' I asked as we set off down Crown Street.
"They sell beer, you'll like it,'' he said.
''But is it expensive, because I'm a bit broke,'' I said.
''Don't worry, you'll like it and the bar man is really nice. He is the nicest bar man in Surry Hills.''
So with that in mind, I carried on with him down the street and then just across the road from the Clock Hotel, we pulled in to the door of Yulli's.
I don't know what young Eames's definition of a pub is, but Yulli's is actually more of a bar and restaurant. As we walked inside, the place was full of people eating. There was food being devoured everywhere.
But you don't have to eat if you don't want to.
Eames headed straight to the bar and ordered two Stone and Wood draught ales, which are brewed in Byron Bay. It was all a bit fancy pants and at $6.80 for a beer, I was wistfully thinking of my $3 middy, but then Eames introduced me to The Nicest Bar Man in Surry Hills.
Karl Cooney managed bars in the Sydney CBD before he and his girlfriend opened up Yulli's about a year ago. Cooney was shockingly unpretentious for a Sydney bar owner and hastily made us welcome by re-arranging some outdoor tables and chairs so we could enjoy the balmy night air.
Yulli's has one large main room, the footpath tables where we sat, as well as a narrow, open air alley out the back.
I hastily settled in to my footpath spot where Eames and I efficiently knocked back about three or four beers. I suspect the alcohol content in a Stone and Wood draught ale is much higher than in the old New.
Eames had to leave after that but his seat was smoothly taken by another friend, Jayne Green, who had just arrived back in Sydney after a day on the road and was urgently in need of beer. So she joined me for another Stone and Wood.
Wisely we also decided to order some food and Cooney magically appeared on cue with some menus and suggestions. His first recommendation was for the Salt and Pepper Tofu, served with a green papaya salad ($15.50).
The tofu was deliciously crunchy on the outside and was so yummy with the sweet and sour papaya salad.
The Yulli's menu ranges in price from $12.50 for Steamed Leak and Ginger Dumplings with fresh plum sauce, up to $17.50 for Eggplant Involtini, which is basically grilled eggplant, stuffed with buffalo mozzarella and spinach, topped with lemongrass and tomato sauce.
There's also a yummy sounding Porcini Mushroom and Haloumi Pizza with kalamata olives, topped with rocket ($16.50), or Zucchini Flowers Stuffed with Hazelnut Ricotta, served with chili mayo, wasabi mayo and balsamic ($13.50).
It was only after much indecision about what to order and after consulting with Cooney that we learned the menu was exclusively vegetarian. How's that for a novelty? I must tell my vego friend, Sarah Allely, of Billie Bites fame.
In fact, after Cooney told us it was all vego, I begged him to put Sarah's Pecan and Tofu Sausage Rolls on the menu. But while Cooney is The Nicest Bar Man in Surry Hills, he leaves the chef job to someone else.
We also ordered some dumplings that were on the specials board. They were fried and delicious, but I can't remember what was in them or how much they cost. Too much Stone and Wood I suspect.
Yulli's Bar and Restaurant
417 Crown Street
Surry Hills NSW 2010
02 9319 6609