It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when it happened, but Sydney seriously stepped up its café game in the last few years. Making it to the top of the tree in a city obsessed with nothing-but-perfect eggs, chia seeds and double ristrettos is no easy feat – and this is where Devon Café comes in.
Winner of the SMH Good Café Guide ‘Best Food Café’ in 2014, the original Devon Café in Surry Hills (and the now-closed Devon on Danks in Waterloo) has perfected the delicate art of combining café favourites with quirky (and often Asian-influenced) twists - amassing a legion of followers along the way who are more than willing to wait patiently for a table and a chance to savour brunch redefined.
Of course, a cafe is only as good as its coffee - and Devon doesn't take its coffee game lightly. In fact, they've taken it upon themselves to roast and blend their beans in-house (under the watchful eye - and tastebuds - of head barista, John Lee), and the result is a full-bodied, full-flavoured cup of caffeinated joy.
Devon’s new café at The Streets (on the corner of Scotch Row and Mercantile Walk) continues the same philosophy of uniting fine-dining thinking with casual café culture - and like its other venues, runs on love and laughter, fuelled by cups of strong coffee and good food.
We could go on, but the only real way to explain Devon Café is to show you some of their dishes, so here’s a small selection of our faves.
BREAKFAST WITH THE SAKUMA'S
One of Devon's most popular menu items, Breakfast With The Sakuma's is a must-have for lovers of seafood and umami-laden Japanese flavours.
Perfect for brunch or lunch, it'll certainly have your post-morning-workout protein needs sorted, with a generous portion of miso-marinated king salmon (grilled to gorgeous pink perfection), a smoked eel croquette, a delightfully runny 63° egg, a dab of kewpie mayo, and a sprinkling of furikake (basically the salt and pepper of Japan).
It's not hard to guess which of the best-selling author's books this dish playfully refers to (and no, there aren't any cats or hats in sight...).
That's right, it's the (arguably) more appetising-sounding Green Eggs and Ham - and Devon's interpretation of the childhood classic is a sight to behold. Here, a thick-cut slice of bacon, crispy and caramelised on the outside, is served with a hash brown and fried egg, with a healthy injection of green from house-made green ketchup, pea puree, edamame and pea tendrils.
As for our verdict on how it tastes? Well, the good Dr Seuss sums it up quite nicely:
Say, we like Green Eggs and Ham. We do! We like them, Sam-I-Am!
And we would eat them in a boat. And we would eat them with a goat.
And we will eat them in the rain - and in the dark - and on a train.
And in a car - and in a tree - they are so good, so good, you see!
EBI KATSU SANDO
If you haven't heard of a katsu sando before, that's totally okay - but we highly recommend making your way to Devon Cafe and trying their Ebi Katsu Sando, stat!
In Japan, the 'sando' is traditionally made with a katsu pork cutlet, topped with a layer of tonkatsu (BBQ) sauce, and sandwiched between two layers of pillowy white bread with the crusts cut off (sorry GI watchers, but brown bread just won't cut it here - and don't even mention multigrain!). It's a popular Japanese snack, often found in the fridge section of supermarkets and convenience stores (next to the endless varieties of triangle-shaped onigiri sushi), although there are a few specialty sando stores too. At Devon, the sando is taken to the next level - thanks to the addition of panko-crumbed prawns (arranged perfectly between the slices of bread), topped with shredded cabbage and a tangy yuzu mayonnaise. It's only available on weekdays, so brighten up your work week with one of these bad boys.
Combining soft serve with hot chips sounds like something your best mate might do after a few too many glasses of vermouth, but it's an actual menu item at Devon - and in a very weird way, it works.
Maybe it's the combination of Devon's matcha (ground green tea) and hojicha (roasted green tea) soft serve with the well-seasonsed hot chips; or maybe it's just the combination of hot and cold. Whatever it is - give it a go, upload a snap to Instagram (don't forget to tag #thestreetsofbarangaroo and #devoncafebarangaroo), and enjoy!
Devon Cafe is located on the corner of Mercantile Walk and Scotch Row, and is open 7 days a week.