When I first received the email inviting me to brunch at the newly opened Devon it came with a media release which mentioned that the cafe's menu draws its inspiration from the "multicultural cuisine of Australia". I thought how fun to call the cafe "Devon" after that quintessential Aussie lunch meat of questionable origins (and questionable ingredients).
About three days later whilst staring blankly at my work computer the penny finally dropped, "ah, Devon is probably named after its location on Devonshire Street...not after the lunch meat". Ah well, better luck next time dodgy lunch meat.
Devon is a funky little cafe that opened at the beginning of June this year and it fills a void in the cafe-no-mans land down near Central Station (it doesn't serve Devon, FYI). The chefs are ex-Guillaume and the food is cafe-style with a little of bit of "fancy" thrown in. The Barista hails from Toby's Estate which means the coffee should be good stuff (well, I thought it was).
The cafe stretches the entire length of the building with distinct "rooms" through the long, narrow space. The front of the cafe is light and airy and is where all the coffee action happens. Huge bi-fold windows open up onto Devonshire Street where you can sit and watch the world (and "interesting people") go by. I love the the light beechwood paneling that lines the walls and that most of the tables + chairs are made out of.
In the middle of the cafe is a little green wall where the chefs pick their daily herb requirements. It's not a full-blown kitchen garden but I think it's wonderful that the cafe has made the most of the space that have. It just goes to show that no space is too small to grow a few edibles. I was VERY envious of their healthy looking sage (mine has been EATEN by caterpillars....again).
Just past the green wall is a fun courtyard space that is draped with army netting. It's a good way to enclose the space from the neighbours and it gives the area a really nice, intimate space.
We grab a table at the very back of the cafe, in their "graffiti garage" which is fitting for the cafe's inner-city location. I think the owners have made clever use of all the available space - breaking the various areas into distinct rooms makes all the available spaces inviting, cosy + comfortable to spend time in.
First things first - coffee. My piccolo latte is very good and quite strong. Half a teaspoon of panela gives it just the hint of sweetness that I need. I'm determined to be able to drink all my coffee without sugar - one day! I've just graduated from skinny cappuccinos with an equal so I'm getting there...slowly.
I ordered a juice purely for the novelty of drinking it out of a jam jar - I'm a tragic hipster wannabe I know. My choice was a lovely, refreshing V8 juice made with freshly squeezed watermelon, ginger + lemon ($7.00). I always choose a juice if it has ginger in it - it's so zingy and refreshing! Tara chose the Detox (also $7.00) - a more mild flavoured juice of orange, carrot and celery. Very smooth and healthy tasting.
My brunch of citrus cured salmon ($17.50) is s pretty as a picture and so colourful + delicate. It is also a much lighter brunch than I would normally order and I feel really healthy eating it - although the piggy part of me wants more. Ribbons of silky smooth salmon are topped by a tart housemade split dill cream, zesty pieces of apple and fennel along with celery, cucumber and a gooey (free-range) soft boiled egg. A side of brioche helps to mop up any remnants of the dill cream that are left on the plate after I've demolished my brunch. There is a big focus on local ingredients at Devon and the care taken in preparing each dish really shows through with this carefully thought out dish.
The Boy still cannot kick his "big breakfast" addiction and The Whole Nine Yards ($18.00) has his name written all over it! He chooses his eggs scrambled and sings the praises of the smokey flavoured streaky bacon the whole way home! The roasted trussed tomatoes and wilted spinach offer a nice bit of vegetation to cut through the bigness of the big breakfast that also comes with a generous side of sausages and toast.
Tara's Bruschetta ($10.00) is of a much more modest size and it's just so vibrant and colourful. If I was to order this I'd probably order a double serve as I know I'd be wanting more than just one piece (ok, that translates to I'm greedy). The Bruschetta comes loaded with avocado, Meredith goat’s feta and pickled beetroot. I'm told it's really tasty.
It's very very indulgent to have dessert at breakfast but the temptation of the Little Lost Bread ($16.00) was impossible to resist. I justify order this as my brunch was fairly light. It's a wickedly sweet dish so it's best shared...which is exactly what we did. Before we tucked it I knew that this was going to be delish, it just had that look about it. A piece of French brioche toast is topped with a warm banana and luscious peanut butter ice cream and sweet berry jam. The whole lot sits atop a puddle of thick, rich nutella that is studded with shards of peanuts. We ask for our piece of shatteringly crisp candied bacon on the side. There is only one word to describe this dish, un-FREAKING-believable.
Devon is at 76 Devonshire Street, Surry Hills. Phone them on 9211 8777.