Yulli's, Surry Hills' purveyor of standout vegetarian fare and great brews since 2008, is expanding. The team has opened the doors to its brand new taproom and restaurant in Alexandria: Yulli's Brews. While the space itself isn't new, owner Karl Cooney and head brewer James Harvey have been in there for a while brewing award-winning ales such as Norman, it's the first time the space will be open to the public. And it'll be 100 percent vegan.
From the beer through to the wine to the neat lineup of bush tucker-meets-Southeast Asian eats, not a fish scale, cheese crumb or bacon rind will appear. But it won't skimp on flavours — or personality, which carries through from the eclectic design to the anthropomorphic beers.
The space, which can hold 150 people, is split into two areas — a ground floor for big tables and standup beers, and a large mezzanine for sit-down eats — and is filled with tables made from repurposed boat decking and vintage finds from nearby Lunatiques. Designed by Surry Hills' Snell Architects, it has an industrial edge (fitting, for a warehouse) with plenty of nods to Yulli's past.
Take a seat on the mezzanine floor and you'll be able to look straight into the production area and watch Harvey and Cooney brewing. You'll also be able to taste three brand new Yulli's brews, including its first cider, Margo. Like all its brews, the dry and fruity apple cider is named after an employee — who still works at the Yulli's restaurant in Surry Hills.
If you're not a beer — or cider — fan, fear not: Yulli's Brews has a full bar. And it's all local. And all vegan. Cooney admits that sourcing completely vegan wines — which are all from NSW — was tough, but well worth the effort. On the lineup of local spirits, expect to see plenty of nearby gin distiller Archie Rose.
Food is a mishmash of cuisines. You'll find yiros made with Vietnamese ingredients — and served on house-made flat bread — and dumplings stuffed with bunya nuts, which Cooney recommends you pair with Chuck Black, Yulli's bunya nut porter on tap. The kitchen, which will also act as a production site for Yulli's restaurant, will be overseen by Kenny Kim, who did a big stint back at the Surry Hills restaurant.
It'll also be churning out vegan fare for nearby pubs, who have been hitting up Cooney for years to look after the vegan part of their menus. While there's no word yet on what pubs they'll be supplying, if you're a vegan in the inner west, expect dining out at pubs to get a lot more exciting in the upcoming months.