In preparation for Dopa, its chefs took a research trip to Tokyo to eat classic Japanese comfort food. And that's jus what you'll find at this all-day eatery, courtesy of the team behind genre-busting Sydney cafes, Devon.

In the open-kitchen, chefs ready timber trays for a range of don (rice bowls) topped with sides such as vegetable curry, Wagyu beef tongue and cheeseburger (a Waygu patty with cheeseburger condiments).

But the menu is split evenly between savoury and sweet, with owner and executive chef Zacharay Tan (Bistro Guillaume Melbourne, and all the other Devon’s) handling the non-dessert side, while Marcus Andrew is in charge of everything else. Andrew used to work with macaron-master Adrian Zumbo.

Elaborate desserts such as the tiramisu parfait, strawberry profiterole, kakigori (shaved ice) and the black-sesame pudding are restrained and balanced in their flavours. But the Dopa shakes are what this place is all about – available in matcha, mocha, strawberry and more. Consider yourself warned: the name is short for “dopamine” because, according to Tan, once you try them you’ll be hooked.

The venue sits on a large corner spot on Little Hay Street, the neon-lit strip dubbed “electric treat street” in Sydney’s multi-million-dollar Darling Square development. Shelves float above the kitchen, neatly lined with imported ingredients. Apart from the gold cool room door, the space has a very Japanese aesthetic, with clean lines and a muted colour palette.

While this place is certainly fast-casual in the same vein as Devon, what sets it apart is that there’s a bigger focus on produce. Just look to the page on the menu dedicated to mapping out where each ingredient is from.

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Updated: April 26th, 2024

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