The lower side of Devonshire Street in Surry Hills is, for the most part, a fairly unassuming food trawl. Its juice bars, takeaway sushi and pork roll joints aren’t exactly trying to compete with covetable restaurant haven Holt Street, home to the likes of MoVida, 121 BC, Vini and Muum Maam. Devonshire has never been a place to find design-focused cafes, with slick branding, all-organic produce or finely roasted coffee. Well, things have changed.
The aptly named Devon Cafe has brightened a perpetually greyish scene, opening three weeks ago on that Surry Hills slope that folds downwards towards Central Station. Beechwood is a dramatic feature of the space, with tables, stools, walls and light fixtures all crafted from the warm-hued timber. Subtle powder-blue stripes cut across the ceiling, breaking up the Beechwood and setting off the pile of bright red coffee cups on top of the espresso machine. A black corridor looks as if it might lead to the kitchen or some out-of-bounds staff space, but rather it guides diners to a sunny courtyard with an entire wall of growing herbs.
Smart design aside, the menu at Devon is impressive and thankfully does not include any manufactured sandwich meats. Former Bistro Guillaume sous chef Zacharay Tan and Guillaume at Bennelong graduate Jacqui Ektoros have blended a casual cafe with quality dining, offering chalk board sandwich and salad specials alongside black rice pudding, eggs sous-vide and citrus-cured salmon. Coffee is sourced from Perth-based 5 Senses and there’s also a display of baked goods (all made onsite) as well as loaves of bread from Victoire Bakery.
All elements combined, Devon checks all the boxes on the list of great cafe requirements. It breathes new energy and life into a previously overlooked sector of Surry Hills.
76 Devonshire Street, Surry Hills
(02) 9211 8777
Mon to Fri 6.30am–4.30pm