The Devon team has never had a standard way of doing things. When it said it would serve sandwiches at its Barangaroo site to appease the corporate crowd, we were intrigued. First thing on the sandwich menu: Japanese omelette with Japanese mayo and furikake (Japanese seasoning). Next: jaffle with ham, provolone and salted egg lava.
Devon Barangaroo is open and is as unpredictable as expected. The sandwiches are part of what Zacharay Tan, the executive chef and co-owner, calls the “sando bar”. “It’s Japanese-inspired sandwiches made to order,” he says. There’s one with fried chicken, kimchi mayo and samjang (a spicy paste). And another with eggplant, provolone and rocket that tastes like lasagne. “We don't want to be intimidated; we want people to read the menu and feel like they could come on a daily basis,” says Tan.
There’s also a Wagyu steak slathered in porcini butter with a side of thin tempera-like onion rings. And a tomato-based pasta with squid-ink noodles, lobster, crab, chilli and coriander.
Also on the menu is the genre-bending fare that’s defined Devon’s other sites (Surry Hills and the now-closed Danks Street spot). Tan and his partner, Derek Puah, were among the first to bring quality soft serve to Sydney, and that tradition will continue here. “"We're doing matcha and hojicha [another type of green tea] and a Double D special with soft serve and chips,” says Tan. There’s also a soft-serve affogato.
Coffee purists may be dismissive of an iced, orange-chocolate mocha, and the herb-infused cold-drip, mint, lime and tonic water mocktail, but the regular milk-and-shot coffees are more serious than ever. Head barista John Lee roasts the house blend and has a single-origin batch in the works. Until then Devon Barangaroo will use guest roasters (mainly Mecca and Small Batch) for filters and blacks. “People don't realise we have good coffee because we're so known for food. We don't want to just do nice chocolatey coffees like the corner store, we make good specialty coffee,” says Lee.
The fit-out is less enterprising; it follows similar design ideas (it’s by designer Matt Wood who did other Devon venues), and has light tones, timbers and an open plan.