In Short: SILY (Since I Left You) Sydney is the spot if you’re up for a quick bite at lunch, or in for long and lazy drinks with friends, SILY is one of the more unique, yet relaxed small bars in the city. Come for the promise of a chilled out vibe, stay for the awesome toasties, drinks, and poke bowls.
We’ve been spending a lot of time in Melbourne lately, and what always strikes me about in being our indisputable cultural mecca is the abundance of street art. Large, sky-high murals painted on the side of buildings, or across a wall in a back alleyway, there is never a shortage of an homage to public art appreciation. So, when we walked into the bar at Sydney’s SILY (Since I Left You), I was immediately mesmerised by the Scottie Marsh mural that adorned the wall. Yes, the same Scottie Marsh of the now infamous ‘Tony Loves Tony’ mural and the ‘Saint George Tribute Piece’, so you can see why I was transfixed!
Just as these walls have had a transformation, owner Nick White has also breathed new life into the reinvigorated SILY, keeping it contemporary, but honouring the location’s art deco history. Looking up, the gorgeous art deco inspired chandeliers bounce tungsten light onto a silver-gilded ceiling with black trim. The walls have been exposed, and the natural light from the street bounces off the burgundy concrete polished floors. Its sophisticated, yet somehow completely casual and accessible. You would feel as comfortable in here in your sneakers, as you would in a full business suit.
As we take our seats by the window, us in our sneakers, surrounded by a young business crowd, Nick drops by to say hello and talk about the recent changes to SILY, including new lunch-time hours that have been a hit, attracting a new crowd in the after-work drinks crew. Step outside and into the courtyard, and hanging fairy lights with greenery, bar stools and tables come alive at night with a massive sky high mural continuing the theme from inside the small bar. You’ve got to spend a lazy summer evening enjoying this space!
It was lunch on a hot Wednesday afternoon, and three quarters of the Coco and Vine team were on hand, and starving! Nick wasted no time dashing off to the kitchen to bring us a range of SILY specialties. And, were we in for a treat!
Poke (pronounced poh-kay in case you were wondering!) bowls are the foodie trend du jour, and SILY’s take does not disappoint. You can customise your own, or be like us, and let Nick guide you to his personal favourite, the Spicy Tuna. Seasoned white sushi rice is generously topped with chunks of fresh, red tuna, edamame, shallots, spring onion, enoki mushrooms, cucumber and carrot. But it’s the 1-2 punch from the chilli Shoyu dressing with Sriracha dressing, that adds the perfect amount of heat to this refreshing, substantial lunch time meal.
Now, I don’t know about you, but toasties are totally my comfort food. They remind me just as much of lazy, rainy days spent in front of the TV, as they do of my late night (or, ahem, wee early hours!) snack after a full night of partying! SILY has totally got this right to include toasties as a staple of their menu to accompany their awesome cocktails list.
Who wouldn’t demolish these after a few cheeky rounds?! Unfortunately, no cheeky rounds for us on this day,we’re on the job, but equally as delicious, we tried the Cheeseburger Toastie, that is essentially a sophisticated take on a quarter pounder. What’s not to love, when you combine a ground beef patty with caramelised onions, and oh-so-divine Le Superbe Swiss Gruyere cheese. Add a touch of ketchup, mustard and cornichons, and thanks, I’ll have 2 more please!
Not to be outdone, the SILY Smoked Reuben Toastie is no second fiddle to the cheeseburger. Generous helpings of smoked wagyu, are perfectly paired with sauerkraut, Russian dressing, and Le Superbe Swiss Gruyere. Steve, Sacha and I were definitely fighting over the last finger of the 4-finger stack!
With all that food goodness, we had to wash it down with some of the SILY Housemade Lemonade. Fresh and sweet, with sprigs of mint, this refreshed the palate between tastings. In the evening, this also comes with your favourite alcoholic shot, and I’m totally coming back to try this with some of my favourite gin!
Now when you see Waffalafels on the menu, you could be forgiven thinking that you were reading from a Dr. Seuss book “…I can waffalafel, can you?…”, but essentially these are falafels cooked in a waffle iron. They are light and crispy, with all the familiar flavours of regular falafels, but far easier to eat and perfect for dipping in the accompanying tangy, lemon tahini sauce.
SILY was an early entrant to the small bar scene here in Sydney, but its certainly here to stay. Come for the drinks, but stay for the atmosphere…and of course, the toasties! We definitely will be back when the fairy lights turn on and we can enjoy the entertainment in the courtyard.
*Coco and Vine dined as guests of SILY, but opinions are our own.