The BFF had tried a few times in December to book a table at The Devonshire but it wasn’t to be as they were fully booked each time I rang. Never one to give up (which The Boy calls nagging, but I call persistence) we tried again in January and lady luck was on our side!
The Devonshire is located on busy Devonshire Street in Surry Hills...which I guess is kind of obvious given the name, but I thought I should make that clear just in case there was any confusion. There is a constant parade of human traffic past the restaurant and it’s a great place for a bit of people watching – some of the people are more “colourful” than others.
The restaurant is empty when we arrive and this gives us a chance to have a chat to chef and owner, Jeremy Bentley (who owns the restaurant with business partner Matt Kemp from Montpellier Public House). Jeremy is a super friendly and down-to-earth guy and makes us feel so welcome in his restaurant and I think it’s this warmth that really makes the night for me. Restaurant Manager, Matt, is another friendly guy and he really takes the time to chat with us and carefully explains each dish (most of which I’ve promptly forgotten to my gold-fish memory – opps)!
The BFF and I decided to go for the $45 per person pre-theatre menu which includes two courses (you need to let them know at the time of booking that this is what you’d like). We decide to go for Entrees and Mains...and maybe order a dessert later on if we’re feeling “in the mood”. The pre-theatre deal is EXCELLENT value considering an entree and main will normally set you back about $60.
Dinner kicks off with an amuse bouche of Salt Fish Brandade with a Dill and Caper Sauce – which is basically (in my most non-chefy translation EVER) a little deep-fried fish and potato croquette type thing, and it was so delicious. I really loved the dusting of salt on the Brandade, and the fish and salmon filling was so light.
We also receive a complimentary bread roll that is served warm and with two types of butter - a salted butter and a lovely sweet butter infused with honey which is made in-house.
we stick with a nautical theme and order the Cured Hiramasa Kingfish, Blood Orange, Spring Onion and Potato Crisps
and the Seared Scallops with a Curried Cauliflower Puree and Onion Bahji.
Both dishes are fantastic, though I have to say that anything served with potato crisps is a winner in my books. The cured kingfish is also served with a kingfish rilette which has a texture similar to salmon mousse and it is perfectly light and flavoursome (especially when scooped up on a salty crisp). The BFF loves the perfectly cooked Seared Scallop dish - and I am particularly taken with the onion bahji (yes, I'm addicted to fried foods)!
For mains the BFF is swayed by the Bangalow Pork Belly with Sage Beignet and an Apple and Fennel Salad. Snaps to The BFF for not getting cross at me for taking 1,000 photos of his dinner - brown food, why are you so damn difficult to photograph in focus? Hmmm? Anyway, back to the pork - I'm told it was exquisite, melt-in-the-mouth tender. Bangalow Pork is bred to be a bit fatty, and when cooked with the fat left on is incredibly flavoursome and succulent (though I'm not 100% sure if it's free-range or not so I abstained on this occasion).
I kept on with my seafood theme and choose the Confit King Salmon, Buckwheat Risotto, Prawns, Kohlrabi, Ginger and Dill
Dessert with FOAM! Sadly the foam here is a little...deflated due to the excessive pork-photo-taking that happened earlier on. No matter, it still tasted wonderful. The salmon was so tender having been "confit" with olive oil and cooked in a water-bath for about 6 minutes (that's the only information I retained from our waiter). The prawns were so plump and the buckwheat risotto was really interesting (in a good way) texture wise.
Of course we couldn't resist dessert, not when I'd heard so much about the Devonshire Tea Creme Brulee, Scone Ice-Cream, Cherry Jam and Whipped Cream ($15.00). The presentation is uber-cute (I wonder how many of these little tea cups go walk-a-bout at the end of the meal? I'd kind of like a few for home myself). The brulee is made with a mix of T2 Teas (Girly Grey, Blue Mountain and another berry tea whose name eludes me). The result is a lovely brulee with a mild Earl Gray flavour and a sweet after note of berry teas. LOVE! The scone ice-cream is subtle in flavour but utterly delicious. A must order!
Our experience at The Devonshire was lovely - in part due to the fantastic food and in part due to the wonderful service. We were really made to feel welcome and I can't wait to come back. And for those of you who like a Degustation - you can grab one here for $80. Bargain.
The Devonshire is at 204 Devonshire Street, Surry Hills. Telephone them on 9698 9427.