Named after the famed The Avalanches song, SINCE I LEFT YOU (now shortened to SILY) has been in operation since 2011. It is making quite the comeback, I believe it has something to do with social media, funky wall art that goes multiple stories high, their epic courtyard and drinks that’ll rock ya socks off. How have I only heard about this place in 2018?!?! Since my review visit a couple of months ago I have now returned for three visits and cannot get enough of this amazing hole in the heritage buildings.
SILY is split into two prominent parts. There is a more intimate seating area indoors, where the bar resides. It has a complete mural next to the bar quoting the opening lines from The Avalanches song. The bar is fairly small and the indoor is quite narrow with exposed sandstone and a huge floral mural above some bench seating. It is warm and comfortable but you only want to sit here if it’s close to zero degrees or it’s pissing down with rain…….. because of the courtyard. One epic courtyard!
SILY is hidden between three heritage listed storehouses in the CBD. It has a cosy feel, yet it’s spacious enough to spread out and even play darts, host trivia nights, movie screenings, and live music. It keeps hold of its 1920s industrial feel yet combines with plants, fairy lights and an impressive multi-story mural by Sydney artist, Scotty Marsh. Dare I say it is more of a Melbourne Bar than Sydney bar and this may explain its flourishing popularity. On each visit I get there early, order a cocktail, and boom, within 30mins the courtyard fills up. It is quite cool outside at the best of times so dress to be warm, relax and have a few beverages and some wickedly good bar snack food.
“Watch the steps, get a drink, have a good time, now, welcome to paradise.” – Since I Left You, The Avalanches
THE BEST IN COCKTAILS:
You cannot visit SILY without downing a cocktail or three. Put it this way, my first cocktail I ever had here was delivered in a bowler’s hat. You will not be disappointed in the wonderful mixology from the bar staff. SILY’s cocktail list is the creation of bar manager Sebastian Gonzales who made my first drink when visiting. Sadly the pics of the above drink inside a hat did not show it as well as I would have liked. But it was: A SINGLE PLUM, FLOATING IN PERFUME, SERVED IN A MAN’S HAT – Glenmorangie Original, Ume, Ginger, Peychaud’s. Simply put, it was divine.
They make their own lemonade you can mix with the booze shot of your choice, they also offer a wonderful but slightly tart Gin Cocktail in the HOUSE OF CARDAMONS – Finn’s Gin, Cardamons, Vanilla, Lemon. I have had this one a couple of times because Gin is my weakness, I am actually drinking one while writing this haha.
Another highlight calling your name is the GO FIGURE – Michter’s Bourbon, Rosso Vermouth, Fig, Walnut – a wonderful winter warming cocktail.
They also serve BECHEROVKA, which is a herbal bitters produced in Bohemia (Czech Republic) for over 220 years. Traditionally sipped neat, it is bittersweet, complex, and a little spicy. I need this one on my next visit.
For wine they have 6x whites, 6x reds, an orange and a rosé and two sparkling. The reds are all that took my attention. They have their own drop; a Joey’s white or a Joey’s red. Joey is the nephew of Nick White, SILY’s owner, and was born on the day the restaurant opened. But after the family blends they have a Pinot Noir, a Malbec, a Shiraz, a Tempranillo and a Sangiovese – no word of a life – four of my favourite grapes are in that list.
The menu is designed to compliment drinks and socialising with friends. It is substantial enough and mostly for sharing, but it is not a restaurant dining experience. You come here for friends, the venue, the drinks and then the food. What it does with bar snack food though is on another level. Waffalafels are one of the greatest inventions in modern culinary fare – seriously, they are waffles made with falafels – it took my brain a few bites to realise I was eating falafels in the shape of waffles. Genius haha.
They have a lunch menu that has most of the evening menu included plus a create-your-own style of poke where you select your elements (base, protein, flavour) and they create for you. For the food we attended in the evening so no poke for me.
GUACAMOLE – A bowl of Nick’s Famous Whipped Guacamole, served w/ Corn Chips (V, GF)
WAFFALAFELS – Crispy Waffle-Cooked Falafels, served w/ Lemon Tahini Sauce (V)
THE CHEESEBURGER TOASTIE – Ground Beef Patty, Caramelised Onions, Cornichons, Le Superbe Swiss Gruyère Cheese, Ketchup & Mustard. Served w/ a side of French Fries™
SILY SMOKED REUBEN – Smoked Wagyu, Sauerkraut, Russian Dressing and Le Superbe Swiss Gruyère Cheese. Served w/ a side of Cornichons
GRILLED HALLOUMI Served with Walnuts, drizzled with Honey (V, GF)
WHAT WE THOUGHT:
The guac is one of the best I have had, it is so creamy from being whipped and the perfect starter with cocktails. I could have just kept scooping from the guac bowl if I could afford endless cocktails. Waffalafels (as mentioned) are pure genius and the citrus from the lemon tahini sauce was the perfect compliment to those unique shaped falafels.
The cheeseburger toastie was pure heaven – the Gruyère, the cornichons (fancy name for pickles) and caramelised onion lifted this cheeseburger to one of the best bar snacks in Sydney. The Reuben was delicious and everyone enjoys a good reuben but it was overshadowed by the moorishness of the toastie for me.
Then came dessert. First I have to mention my dislike for cheese as a dessert, my entire life it has been the snack for before entrees, I want sweets for dessert. But when you have some wickedly awesome halloumi and you bathe it in walnuts and honey I think very differently. I got my sweet in the honey and halloumi is edible porn – I was groaning in some form of culinary foodgasm while eating this one. This is a MUST when eating and drinking.
If you want the best of Melbourne’s bars in Sydney then SILY is your must visit cosy establishment. Built modern and sandwiched between heritage it is a memorable experience in a superbly appointed courtyard. The food is some of the best bar snack food I have had and the cocktails are so good you may empty your bank account. Love this place!
SCORE BREAKDOWN: 3/3 food, 2/2 service, 1/1 drinks, 1/1 venue & ambience, 1/1 cost, 1/1 toilets and 0/1 bonus
And on the off chance you were curious…….
PH: 02 9262 4986
338 Kent St, Sydney NSW 2000
BOOKINGS: Not necessary – but small venue
PRICING: Can get costly for drinks but the food is mid range
Mon – Fri: 11am – 2pm / 430pm – late
Sat: 6pm – late
LOCAL DELIVERY: No
VEGETARIAN OPTIONS: Yes – minimal
GLUTEN FREE OPTIONS: Yes – minimal
KID FRIENDLY: No
*** Spooning Australia was invited to review SILY – the meal and Drinks were comped by the venue ***
For more reviews of Sydney CBD Restaurants – check them out HERE