“At the Devonshire we have created an intimate experience reflected throughout the room and the menu. Though concise, the menu demonstrates a variety of influences from the Indian inspired snapper dish to our take on the classic Devonshire cream tea. The intimate space and menu allows us to focus on the most important things: great attention to detail with both food and service.” Chef Jeremy Bentley
It would seem it’s third time lucky for 204 Devonshire Street. Now ‘the devonshire’, under the helm of Chef and Owner Jeremy Bentley in partnership with Chef Matt Kemp (Restaurant Balzac), the restaurant sits at the address that was originally Mohr & Mohr and then became The Smokehouse. Though it’s still early days, the pedigree of London’s 2 star Michelin The Square and Sydney’s Restaurant Balzac brings a substantial foundation of talent, creativity and experience to the venue.
The new fit out is somehow a contradiction – clean and simple yet pretty and warm, with a parade of mirrors reflecting the dining room. Girls notice the attention to detail in the bathroom which displays it’s own petite reflective parade. Fresh flowers and cloths in the dining room, and cloth hand towels in the bathroom reflect the same level of care. On those notes (both bathroom and care) my dining partner is always impressed when he returns to a folded napkin – which was not overlooked even on a busy Saturday night. I love the mirrors and how could I not – when I sat beneath an etched heart. My favourite new detail however is the warmth of timber in the local nod of Aussie paling fence under the bar. The long space has been simply transformed and now provides a coziness that embraces the diner.
Dinner last night was a culinary exploration of the opening menu. The food is very circa right now – intelligent, clean and modern – international from a European foundation. It delighted the senses. First impressions, on seeing the plates, is a refined wow. You can see the ancestory in the evolution. All important – taste was everything it needs to be. The wine list though tight is well suited to the menu and is a mix of European representation with Australian accents. Matching wine was guided and, as with the rest of service, was provided with care.
Because the two of us ate our way through all the entrées, we only tried one of the mains, and left just enough room to squeeze in a dessert each. All were delicious!
Offal is the way to this girl’s heart, and I was particularly taken with the tongue and sweetbread. Their accompaniment has redefined coleslaw for me: as a fine chiffonade. Similarly enjoyed, my favourite pomegranate could not be ignored with it’s squid ink celeriac artwork. Salmon on salmon was plated on a tasty bed of ‘noodles’ and both rillettes and belly were at their best.
On another note, I’m also hoping the bird nest and golden eggs – as my choice – will add a bit of extra good luck for me for this week’s Chinese New Year.
Happy that the gnocchi was given additional complexity by searing. I’d truthfully fought against the ordering of this dish and had encouraged our choice of mains to be either the pork or the duck. Again in truth, I was so delightfully surprised. The gnocchi may have read simply, but it was so utterly delicious and clever and complex and balanced, just as it photographs.
Pineapple is not usually my first choice of fruits or for dessert but I was intrigued as to how Chef Bentley would treat it. I’d go back for this dish (or any of the others of the night for that matter). Although I had tried almost all of the night’s fare, somehow, somehow I was only allowed the tiniest teaspoon of the restaurant’s namesake dessert from the other side of the table.
When the bill came in a cup and saucer, finally the ’10 cents’ dropped in my way too slow head, about that last dessert: the street, the restaurant name and ‘traditional’ Devonshire tea!
The Devonshire Restaurant
204 Devonshire Street. Surry Hills. NSW 2010.
+61 2 9698 9427