Devon on Danks, Devon Cafe & more

Written by Brian (@brhinos), Sydney

Devon Café is a place that organically markets their business very well. If you haven’t been to one of their cafes (Devon Café in Surry Hills or Devon on Danks in Waterloo), you’ve probably heard about the chefs in the kitchen or seen some of their inventive dishes on Instagram.

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Peaches ‘N Dream with Carman’s Kitchen new Almond, Pecan & Maple Cafe Granola, vanilla and honey yoghurt, poached peaches, edible flowers and honeycomb. A limited edition special from Devon Cafe last year. Check out the recipe on Carman’s website.

The owners – husband and wife team, Derek and Noni, have filled their cafes with some serious talent with the likes of Zach Tan (the pharmacist-turned chef with Bistro Guillaume on his CV), Jacqui Ektoros (Guillaume at Bennelong), pastry chef Markus Andrew (Adriano Zumbo and Le Cordon Bleu) and their barista, a former trainer at Toby’s Estate.

With the vision of offering affordable fine dining food with top quality coffee, the Devon Café journey began in 2013 in Surry Hills, followed by the Waterloo based Devon on Danks in 2014. Devon Café is now developing a site in Barangaroo which is set to open by September with a corporate spin to the food.

Here’s a quick run through of the food on offer by venue.

Devon on Danks

Affogato is one of my favourite treats to order at brunch. What’s not to like about a good quality coffee plus some creamy ice cream. Rotating the flavours of their ice cream, the flavour of the day was salted caramel. It was pretty good but the vanilla ice cream version (see Devon Cafe below) was even better.

Devon on Danks is known for their Donuts and Cronnies (Cronuts) and just one look at them and you can see why. They are positioned right next to the cash registers, it’s just not fair having to stare at them while waiting in line to pay.

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The Yogi Bowl – mixed quinoa, yoghurt, grains, puffed amaranth, seeds, nuts, goji berries, chia & fresh fruit

I loved the way this Yogi Bowl was put together. It had elements of fine dining plating yet was made out of simple breakfast ingredients (with a twist). Felt like I was eating indulgently but in actual fact, it was just good old fashioned healthy eating at work.

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The Corned Beef Cubano was pretty darn spectacular. Grilled cheese melt with crunchy rye bread, silverside corned beef, cheese (manchego and gruyere), pancetta & pipparas.

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The Manny P Burger

One taste of this Burger was all I needed for it to become not only my new favourite item on the Devon on Danks menu but all Devon establishments! Sensational flavour profiles induced by Annatto spiced fried chicken fillet, chilli mayo, fragrant herbs & pickles. #mouthgasm.

Devon Cafe

Conveniently located a stone’s throw away from Central station, you can usually find this place at brunch time with the long queue out front.

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This was the affogato I was referring to earlier, this time made with vanilla ice cream. I felt so supercharged after having a double shot, I am starting to think I should have one every morning. Definitely a contender for best affogato in town.

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If you’re feeling peckish, I highly recommend the Portuguese seasoned fries. They’re very moorish.

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I’m not usually a fan of eating fish in the morning this King Salmon fish cake is making me reconsider. Served with lime mayo, watercress, cabbage, herb salad & a poached egg.

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Breakfast with the Sakumas

The signature dish with miso grilled king salmon, a smoked eel croquette, 63’ egg, radish petit salad & kewpi mayonnaise. Good dish but I’m an eel fan and that croquette was to die for.
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This Fried Chicken burger didn’t quite pack the same punch as the Manny P burger but the kimchi and Fried Chicken was an interesting combination. Served with brussels sprout kimchi slaw and gojuchang sauce.

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If you didn’t think it’s possible to be seduced by food, think again. The seductress this time was the Cookies ‘n Cream. Cinnamon muesli based cookie, strawberry and violet gel, raspberry cream, fresh raspberry & fleuilletine cream.

Devon by Night

Devon on Danks also used to host Devon by Night, dinners held during the evenings of Wednesday through to Saturday. As of March 16, the dinner service was stopped (with talks about potentially relaunching) but here’s what you missed out on.

(Top left moving clockwise)

1. North Eastern Malay Style Charcoal Chicken (Ayam Percik) marinated in spiced coconut milk
2. Hakka Style Malaysian Pork Belly bun with taro
3. Korean Steak Tartare – Tajima eye round 9+, sesame, egg yolk, nashi pear
4. “Nasu Dengaku” – Japanese eggplant braised in butterscotch & sweet miso ice cream, kinako, panko & sesame crumble
5. Tropicana – fresh mango, freeze dried lychee, coconut sago, galangal granita, mango sorbet.
6. Aunty Yulia’s Beef short ribs, Indonesian sweet soy, tomato and basil sambal belacan

Having visited all of the Devon establishments, if the goal of the cafes was to provide fine dining at reasonable prices with great coffee, I think they’re doing a pretty good job of achieving it. Have enjoyed eating at these places and can see myself becoming a regular.

Devon Cafe, 76 Devonshire St, Surry Hills NSW. Ph: 02 9211 8777

Devon on Danks, 2 Danks St, Waterloo NSW. Ph: 02 9698 7795

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