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FOOD & DRINK

The Devonshire

A quiet achiever hitting all the right notes in a suburb where restaurants open and close more often than kitchen doors.
By Christina Gee
May 07, 2015
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The Devonshire

A quiet achiever hitting all the right notes in a suburb where restaurants open and close more often than kitchen doors.
By Christina Gee
May 07, 2015
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If Goldilocks had to search through all of Surry Hills for her dinner — surveying her choices, from the painfully hip to the painfully staid, she would have chosen the Devonshire because it was ‘just right’. She would have been pleased with this classic-leaning bistro whose knowledgeable staff are personable yet polished. She would have enjoyed the formal yet politely quirky interior that is free of any tired Scandinavian and/or rustic-industrial design references.

Best of all, Goldilocks would have been delighted to have something other than porridge for tea. She would find chef Jeremy Bentley’s cooking to be an elegant offering of subtly tweaked classic flavour combinations underpinned by unwaveringly solid technique. Entrees (each $25) are a case in point — a dish of butternut pumpkin and sage becomes vivid with the addition of fresh nashi pear and toasted hazelnuts. Ditto for perfectly done cubes of pork belly paired with a fermented cabbage, green chilli and coriander salad.

Happily, the mains (each $37) run along Goldilocks' favourite theme — comfort food — but are kept up to date with textural interest. No doubt our girl would be partial to an excellent bit of chook, which here is set against the crunch of crisp chickpea and cauliflower and mollified with a subtle tahini and lemon sauce. If she was in the game for something heavier hitting, the dish of Milly Hill lamb would have answered. Its tiny, perfectly pink medallions of loin nestle up to firm pearls of black barley and crisp-fried, crumbed cubes of shoulder meat recline into rich daubs of eggplant caviar.

Pudding would have been a no-brainer for the fair one. The Devonshire tea creme brulee ($16, as are all the desserts) delicately tows the line between sweetness and complexity with its smoky tea flavour that rises from beneath the Amélie-perfect golden, crackable top.

As she left The Devonshire (presumably, arm in arm with a flaxen-haired hero), Goldilocks would have noticed that the dining room was full of gossip-session girlfriend catch-ups, slow-burning midweek dates and distinguished pre-theatre intellectuals. She’d have been delighted to have found a place that was stylish enough to attract these types but reassured enough to contentedly become the elegant backdrop of their evening.

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