Devon North Sydney isn’t even a month old and Zachary Tan is already talking about expansion plans to Jakarta, Brisbane and other sites in Sydney. The executive chef (ex-Bistro Guillaume) may be bleary-eyed and overworked, but you get the sense he’s looking to new pastures because the northside site already feels settled.
When the first Devon opened in 2013 on Devonshire Street in Surry Hills, it eschewed the standard breakfast model. Tan’s concept was simple: mix different cultures and cuisines to serve restaurant-quality food in a cafe setting. He then took that approach to Barangaroo.
This new edition doesn’t shake up Sydney’s cafe scene, but it’s still recognisably Devon-like. That means playful, approachable and punchy.
“Devon is always going to be Devon,” says Tan. “We have a structure, but with every location we try to listen to the area. What do they want to eat? Here, we’re mindful that people are a bit more health conscious.”
Instead of burgers with fried mozzarella patties, and stacked French toast, North Sydney has a rocket, quinoa and kale veggie bowl topped with a zucchini fritter and dotted with drops of corn puree. There’s also a chia pudding with almond milk, organic honey and tropical fruits.
This more traditional approach is echoed in the interiors, which are less Surry Hills hip and more relaxed all-day diner. Plants line the wall, and there’s simple, well-spaced timber furniture. At times during the day, a glass façade let’s sun flood the space. “It’s a bit of a different feel here; I’d say it’s more family orientated. More open spaces, good for prams, too,” says Tan.
For those looking for a more typical Devon experience, ask for a guest-roast coffee, a custard-stuffed Luxe croissant; or a ragu alla sichuanese, which is coriander tagliolini slathered in a dandan-like sauce (a spicy Sichuan sauce) served with hunks of burrata. There’s also the omurice, a Japanese omelette which is unashamedly ugly, with gravy and a fluffy egg hiding a clump of garlicky tomato rice.
Alternatively, go for dinner and order DIY baos with crisp pork hock or a whole chicken roasted Malay-style. “Dinner is similar to what we used to do at the now-closed Devon on Danks Street, but as it’s an all-day eatery here, the dishes are available throughout the day but in different forms.”
Devon North Sydney
1/36 Blue Street, North Sydney
(02) 8971 0377
Mon to Fri 7am–12pm, Sat & Sun 8am–12pm
Wed to Sat 5pm–10pm