Saturday, 27 July 2013

Devon Cafe, Surry Hills - 27 July 2013

Does Surry Hills really need another café? Well another one has opened in the last couple of months in Devon Café (76 Devonshire Street, Surry Hills), which is just a short walk from Central Station. Devon Café has generated a lot of buzz in the foodie circle since it opened. The reason for this is quite simple: Devon serve top quality food without breaking the bank and in a relaxed, casual setting. The kitchen boasts a strong team consisting of Zacharay Tan (former sous chef at Bistro Guillaume in Melbourne) and Jacqui Ekotors (former chef at Guillaume at Bennelong in Sydney). With this in mind, I decided to make a special trip with my wife to Devon Café for breakfast to kick off the weekend.
When we walked in we pulled up a seat in the front dining area. We instantly loved this space. It was a bright room with lots of natural light (great for photography!), minimalist in a Scandinavian way and decked out in plywood. Although we didn’t venture any further into the café, there are 2 other separate dining spaces, which all with different vibes: the mid-room with its camouflage netting on the walls and the laid back-room with its funky street art on the walls. Maybe we will check those out next time...                     

Cappuccino ($3.50)
My wife and I both ordered a cappuccino. You know the folk at Devon Café are serious about their coffee when you see words like Single Origin and cold drip written on their walls. Plus they also have funky apparatus that resemble equipment that you are more likely to find in a science lab than a café. The coffee beans they use are from 5 Senses (a leading wholesale roaster based in WA and Victoria) and Coffee Alchemy (who in my opinion make the best coffee in Sydney). We were both impressed with the cappuccino. It was a smooth coffee, with nice, bold flavours and no bitter after taste whatsoever.

There were lots of tempting things on the printed menu and on the blackboard specials menu, which made it difficult to decide what to get. In the end my wife ordered the Lost Little Bread and I ordered the Devon Ultimate Toastie from the specials board, which we each had half of. The Breakfast with Sakuma’s (which is a grilled miso king salmon with smoked eel croquette, 63 degree egg and kewpie mayo) would have been awfully tempting but the waitress informed us that this was not available until 10am. Oh well, maybe next time!        

Lost Little Bread ($16)
The Lost Little Bread is a peanut butter and jelly brioche French toast, with warm banana, warm, oozing nutella, sweet berry jam and moreish peanut butter ice cream. This is the ultimate sweet breakfast treat. How can anyone say no to dessert in the morning? Well no one should if this was the plate that they were given. Everything on the plate was devilishly delicious and work so well together. Definitely a winner with the sweet tooths…    

The Devon Ultimate Toastie, complete with truffles ($25)
But I am more of a savoury person so even better than the Lost Little Bread was the Devon Ultimate Toastie! The Devon Ultimate Toastie is an open sourdough grilled with pine and cultivated mushrooms, fontal cheese, 2 fried eggs, and finished off with shavings of Western Australian truffles. The word truffle sold me on this dish even before I got to the café. I can never say no to this wonderful, luxe ingredient that is only available during this time of the year. This was the dish that made me drive all the way out to the city on a weekend. After I had seen all those pics of the toastie on other food blogs and on Instagram, I knew I had to have it. And it did not disappoint. In fact, I would say it exceeded my expectations!

I reckon they should rename this dish the Devon EPIC Toastie! Whatever you want to call it, it is probably the best toastie that I have had in Sydney! There was so much rich and satisfying flavours in this toastie. I just loved everything about it: great sourdough toast (supplied by Victoire in Rozelle), addictive melted cheese, delicious buttery sautéed mushrooms, beautifully cooked fried eggs with warm gooey egg yolks, and finished off with the ultimate flavour and aroma enhancer in truffles. This dish reinvigorated my love for truffles and confirmed why I love the ingredient so much! And also, the serving was massive so I needed a long walk afterwards to burn off all that food. 
Devon Café only serve approximately 10 of these a day, so if anyone wants to try the Devon Ultimate Toastie, they will need to get in early in day and also before truffle season ends (roughly late August).

I was thoroughly satisfied with both the food and the coffee at Devon Café. A quote printed at the bottom of the menu sums it all up: “quality product doesn’t mean fast”. You will need to wait a bit for your meal but once you start tucking into the food, you will be very satisfied! Based on this meal, I would say Devon Café ranks firmly in my top 5 places for breakfast in Sydney. I am keen to return soon to try other breakfast items and also sample some of the lunch menu (the spanner crab pasta on the specials menu looks very tempting!)  

Highlight: The Devon Ultimate Toastie topped with shavings of black truffle. It was epic!
Lowlight: Since truffle is a seasonal ingredient, the Devon Ultimate Toastie will only be available for a limited time (til around late August).    
Overall: Devon Café is a welcome addition to the Surry Hills café scene. A wonderful café that has already carved out a reputation for serving great food and coffee during breakfast and lunch. I can see Devon Café being a favourite of mine for a while yet. 8/10 (Excellent)

The menu
Specials menu
Coffee geek: cold drip and single origin
The front dining area
Tools of the barista trade
Fruit and vegetable basket
Cutlery and serviettes
Tasty goodies for take away

Devon Cafe on Urbanspoon