I am a writer specializing in Japanese handicrafts, having interviewed the doll maker to royalty https://en.japantravel.com/kyoto/ando-dolls/220 and also worked on a project to disseminate knowledge about the culture of washi to universities
Zachary Tan loves fennel. An aromatic herb with overtones of aniseed and used to make Absinthe, he lovingly bathes and blanches each sliver, teasing out its flavour and aroma. Little do the rest of us know of his love, for Zachary is about to introduce to the world a new way of having breakfast.
In my days of travel writing, one thing that I remember is that the significance of breakfast. Whether pickled herrings, congee or vegemite, people yearn for home comforts to break their fast for their gentle stomachs.
At the same time, having bacon and eggs every morning can be dull and increasingly unhealthy in our quest for wellbeing.
So it is with much courage that the Devon Café decided to hold our hands and led us into a culinary adventure, a journey into the garden of nouvelle cuisine for the most protected meal of the day.
I had the citrus infused salmon with brioche toast. The rich smoked salmon was complemented by the sliver thin slices of green apple, celery and fennel that added lightness, crunch and zest to an old recipe. It was like having all the elements of breakfast at the same time, with the combination much more appealing than the sum of the parts.
The other items on the menu are just as delightful and adventurous. From the avocado, beetroot and feta Bruschetta, to the rich velvety coconut jam, you can come back week after week and be taken on a culinary trip from France to Malaysia, yet the voices of the softly spoken diners bring you back to Sydney.
Situated just moments from the galleries and textile warehouses of Surry Hills, Devon Café is a pleasant space to watch the couples and joggers waking up on a Saturday morning. Its unadorned honey wooden walls and communal tables, combined with the verdant rich green hues of the walled herb garden is a refreshing contrast to the gritty bitumen streets and the wall to wall shops outside.
The décor is a modern interpretation of a country kitchen, with still life pineapples and pears in wooden bowls on one side and a gleaming stainless steel coffee machine on the counter. With the kitchen separating the courtyard at the back from the wooden communal table in the front, it is intimate while giving a feeling of spaciousness at the same time through the large sliding doors.