Devonshire Streets weekend brunch hot spot, Devon Café, has flung open its doors for dinner and we couldn’t be happier!
The café makes a nice transformation from bustling day time café, to a cozy, warm and somewhat romantic space over dinner. The garage and breeze-way space are softened by dim lighting and candles. And worry not, it’s cozily warm when we visit on a freezing winter’s night with outdoor heaters warming the space up (and there’s even blankies if you still feel cold…but trust me, you won’t).
Dinner is on offer from Thursday to Saturday nights (from 6pm) and you can either order off the al a carte menu, or do we did and go for a set menu when features a number of the most popular dishes.
Things kick off two lovely Coffin Bay oysters that are topped with a zesty passionfruit and yuzu granita. Our oysters were so plump and fresh - in a word, sublime. The granita was a nice refreshing touch that blends nicely with the briny oysters and is actually the perfect way for an oyster newbie like Dave to start to learn to enjoy Oysters.
We both loved the king salmon sashimi that sits atop a wobbly tomato jelly that has a nice, mild tomato flavor. It’s like eating a tomato with no tomato in sight! The salmon is a mix of fatty belly, and leaner flank pieces and is topped with chives, salmon roe, soy and dotted with a creamy wasabi that has a bit of heat to it, but not so much that it’ll burn your nose hairs!
The lobster roll was one of our favourite dishes of the night. Fat discs of plump, toothsome lobster are sandwiched in the softest of soft brioche rolls and topped with kewpie mayonnaise, baby radish and tatsoi. I’m so glad to have finally tried a lobster roll. It’s been on my hit list for ages but I’ve just never quite managed to make it happen. My next one is going to have a lot to live up to!
The KJI chicken (which I believe is named after Kim Jong-Il, a chef not the dictator) is a winner. The chicken has a shatteringly crisp batter that is studded with crispy peanuts. It is accompanied by a mild flavoured go chujang and peanut sauce.
The char grilled corn in miso-coffee butter turns out to be two little pieces of baby corn. This is a really tasty dish – our corn is grilled to tender perfection (often I find baby-corn to be a bit “tough” as I guess it’s all cob and not much else) and is served on the husks which are dusted with a sprinkle of ground coffee. A tip from our waitress: don't eat the husks (a fair warning as some people do attempt to chow down on them).
The satay babi is a Penang Hainan style pork satay that is served along with two pieces of grill toasted bread. The traditional peanut satay sauce is replaced with a creamy yam sauce that has a similar texture to regular satay sauce, with a slightly sweeter flavor from what tastes to me like capsicum (or something). I liked that the inclusion of the bread allowed us to sop up every last drop of the sauce.
The chargrilled jumbo prawns come in a close second as my favourite main of the night. Our prawns are grilled to perfection (so we could eat the shell and tail) and are cooked in a hokkien sauce (soy and sambal chilli) but if you need an extra chilli kick I suggest dipping your prawns cautiously into the accompanying bowl of hokkien sauce...as boy, is it SPICY!
The wagyu flat iron steak (marble score 5+ if you’re into that sort of thing) is cooked in a tangy ponzu sauce and topped with crisp garlic flakes. The steak is very tender and cooked just on the right side of not too rare (for me)…a nice simple dish I think.
Our steak is served with a bowl of steamed baby brocolini cooked in an oyster and garlic sauce. It’s impossible to photograph, but easy to eat.
The special of the night is something I’ve never tried…mainly as I thought a) it looked funny and b) would have a really strong and unpleasant taste. How wrong was I? Very! The sea urchin is served a top silky smooth agedashi tofu and bathed in a fluffy sea urchin emulsion. To me the sea urchin flavour was quite mild (especially compared to the accompanying, briny salmon roe) and the texture is quite soft and silky. Really happy to have been able to try this dish.
I hope you have saved room for dessert as the coconut jelly with guava sorbet and freeze dried pineapple is TO. DIE. FOR! Dig deep into the glass to get a spoonful of warm tapioca and make sure you get a bit of cool sorbet in every mouthful. Perfection.
Our final dessert is one of Dave’s personal favourites…fondant. But, not any old fondant – this a heavenly green tea fondant that Dave says tastes like a baked, melty green tea kit kat! As soon as we break the shell of the fondant a river of creamy green tea oozes out...it's deliciously warm and pairs perfectly with the matcha ice-cream.
Devon Café is at 76 Devonshire Street, Surry Hills. Call them on 9211 8777.
Dinner is currently being served between Thursday to Saturday at 6pm – 10pm. No bookings so get there early(ish) to grab a table.