After spotting an incredible deal for an 8 course degustation with sparkling wine for 2 on Ouffer for $99, the boy and I decided to head to The Devonshire at Surry Hills to try out the degustation menu which is usually priced at $80 per person.
The restaurant is a 5 minute uphill walk from Central Station and is fairly well hidden amongst the usual quaint terrace houses around the area. However, once you step in, the classy decor and service immediately transports you away to a finer dining world. We started off with some sparkling wine and Salt Fish Brandade with caper sauce. This canape looks like an arancini ball with a crumbed exterior which provided a satisfying crunch with each bite, and featured a flavoursome fish filling. The caper sauce gave the dish a slight kick to complement the light seafood flavour. The Devonshire also provided some complimentary bread and I loved the fact that it came out hot and crunchy, all ready to be slathered on with some butter. One of the butters were in fact infused with honey and gave the bread a sweet and salty twist which I was a fan of.
Salt Fish Brandade with Caper Sauce
Next came the salad, which was an interesting mix of basil and almond sauce, tomatoes and goats curd. The ingredients were extremely fresh, but I wasn’t quite sold on the basil sauce as it had a slightly jelly-like texture and the taste was slightly overpowering.
Salad of heirloom tomatoes, Woodside goats curd, olive biscotti, basil and almonds
Our first meat dish was the cold smoked Black Angus tartare, which I had mixed feelings about. The tartare itself was fresh with slightly salty and tangy flavours which really brought out the freshness of the Black Angus beef. The enoki mushrooms and asparagus were all well and good, but the quail egg on the dish did not quite mesh with the rest of the dish and seemed a bit out of place.
Cold smoked Black Angus tartare, poached enoki mushrooms, asparagus and quail egg
The steamed Ora King Salmon was probably the best dish of the night. It was perfectly cooked and was just slightly pink on the inside to give that melt-in-your mouth moment on your first bite of it. I also liked the artful decoration with the squid ink noodles, although it also had a jelly-like texture which was not quite what I had expected.
Steamed Ora King Salmon, squid ink noodles, summer daikon, pickled ginger and radish
The prawn raviolo with roast prawn oil was also a hit. It was served at room temperature which really brought out the flavours of the prawns, and the skin of the raviolo was cooked just right – not too hard or soft.
Prawn raviolo, curly kale, basil and roast prawn oil
I was looking forward to the roasted pork belly and loin but they turned out to taste fairly ordinary, while the meat itself was slightly tough and bland. I liked the sauce though, which actually had great flavour and really enhanced the meat dish.
Roasted pork belly and loin, friccasse of cabbage, pepita, sage, chorizo and scratchings
Onto desserts! The degustation menu spoils you with 2 types of desserts – first up we had the raspberry panna cotta with poached peaches and biscuit crumble which were mixed in just the right proportion in our little shot glass. The panna cotta was smooth with great flavour, and the biscuit crumble provided some crunch to each bite.
Raspberry Pannacotta, poached peaches and biscuit crumble
The bittersweet chocolate mousse and sorbet came next with salted caramel parfait and hazelnut. This was undoubtedly one of the best ice cream desserts I have ever had, showcasing three different types of smooth, delectable ice creams. The chocolates were rich but not too sweet, and the different texture of the mousse and sorbet provided a great contrast. The parfait also tasted amazing – did I mention I’m a new fan of things with a sweet and salty twist?
Bittersweet chocolate mousse and sorbet, salted caramel parfait and hazelnut.
Overall, even without the Ouffer deal, the Devonshire’s degustation would still be great value for money in comparison with other degustation offerings in Sydney. I would also applaud the chef for incorporating some unconventional ingredients into the menu – like honey butter and roast prawn oil, both of which I tasted for the first time tonight. The portions were actually a good size and although some dishes were not quite to our liking, the positives definitely outweigh the negatives, especially with their attentive service which made sure that we constantly had the right amount of forks and knives to enjoy our meal with!
204 Devonshire Street, Surry Hills NSW 2010
Phone: (02) 9698 9427