Wanting to try out a trendy place for lunch in Surry Hills, my friend and I decided to try out Devon Cafe on Devonshire Street near Central Station. From outside, on Devonshire Street, the cafe looks tiny. It is only once we step in that we realise that there is a section at the back for more seating. Once setting foot inside, we are greeted warmly by two members of staff, and told that we can take a seat wherever we like. We decide to sit in the back section, that is covered by a wall of greenery. Next to it, there is another section with graffiti on the wall.
Breakfast with the Sakumas - a fusion of Australian and Japanese flavours.
I had hoped to order from the breakfast menu, however we arrived at 11:45am, and the breakfast menu has stopped being served already. The lunch menu on offer does not have much variety and only offers a few options. However, even with such little options I have trouble deciding what to order as everything sounds appealing.
Back section of Devon Cafe
The cafe offers several appetising drink options, ranging from gourmet teas, classic and specialty coffees, milkshakes and freshly squeezed juices. My friend and I both decide to order a freshly squeezed juice blend of watermelon, mint and apple known as the Refresher ($7). The staff are all dressed in plain clothes, and are warm and friendly. There are no airs or pretensions about Devon Cafe, and I immediately feel at home in the sunlit ambience.
Cute decorations construct a simple, unpretentious ambience at Devon Cafe.
It's becoming a common trend for cafes and restaurants to serve cold drinks in small jars, and the drinks at Devon Cafe are also served in this manner. The Refresher is an aptly chosen name as that is exactly what it is. The sweet flavours of watermelon and apple are accentuated by the mint, which gives the juice a tinge of minty coolness.
The Refresher juice, garnished with a sprig of mint.
It is not long before our mains come out. My friend had ordered the Ogre Happy Meal ($23) of which is a creative name for a dish of ox tongue, potatoes, cauliflower puree and fried egg. The ox tongue is tender and flavoursome, complimented well by the cauliflower puree and soft potatoes. The presentation of the dish is also a pleasure to behold.
The Ogre Happy Meal - a demonstration of quirky and creative names for each dish.
For my main I've ordered Breakfast With The Sakuma's ($24.50) - a dish with Japanese elements consisting of miso grilled king salmon, eel croquette, 63 degree egg and radish salad. The salmon has a slight sweetness and is grilled to perfection, falling apart as I pick at it with my fork. The eel croquette is crispy on the outside, and soft on the inside, with an interior texture very similar to that of arancini balls. There was a creamy Japanese mayonnaise on the side to go with the salmon, however I noted that it was a touch different as if something had been added to it, although this only added to the appeal of the dish. The 63 degree egg is similar to a poached egg in the way that it is cooked, however requires a precise heating temperature, from 60 to 65 degrees celsius; hence why it is named as such.
The difference in cooking techniques between regular poached eggs and 63 degree makes all the difference. 63 degree eggs have a certain shimmer to them; they look delicious and are the perfect combination of runny and soft textures. The salad was comprised of thin slices of radish and leafy greens, with a splash of dressing. There was really nothing I could have faulted this dish on and ate it up eagerly, relishing every bite. I can't remember the last time I enjoyed a meal so much.
The beverage menu
Satisfied and well-fed, my friend and I paid the bill and left. On the way out, we noticed a display of muffins (both gluten-free and regular), macarons and brownies. I had heard good things about the Banana & Nutella Muffin, and was hoping to try it.
Baked goods on display
Although it wasn't available that particular day, I opted for the Apple & Pistachio Muffin ($4) which I get for takeaway. The Apple & Pistachio Muffin is smaller than an average muffin, and greenish in colour with a scattering of pistachios on the top. Although it had a strong pistachio taste, I failed to detect the flavour of the apple. I thought the muffin was a little dry, yet still enjoyed the taste of it. I went to Devon Cafe with high expectations and wasn't let down. I enjoyed the atmosphere, service and thought the pricing was reasonable. I look forward to dining here again in the future.
Where: 76 Devonshire Street, Surry Hills NSW
Why: For excellently cooked meals at reasonable prices that you won't find elsewhere, and specialty coffees.
Cost: Moderately priced. Mains on the lunch menu start at $23.
When: 6:30am to 4:30pm Monday - Friday (however kitchen closes at 3pm) and 8am to 3:30pm on Saturdays and Sundays.
Good for kids: There are some milkshakes available on the menu, and sweets on display at the register, but apart from this, not really.
Take away: No