In Short: Dopa by Devon is the latest eatery to be opened by the Devon Cafe team, with a focus on Japanese Don Rice Bowls instead of their usual Asian-Fusion style of food as found in their previous 3 cafes. With its focus on good quality food in a relaxed environment, it is the perfect destination for a quick casual lunch in this busy business district.
When Devon Café first opened its 1st shop in 2013 on Devonshire Street in Surry Hills (you see what they did there with Devon), it made a name for itself for its fantastic Asian-fusion style offerings, and quickly establishing itself as one of the must-visit café destinations in Sydney. A great vibe along with its relaxed environment, good coffee and delicious food that was inviting to look at as well. It is no surprise that 6 years down the road, they have since expanded Devon Café to 3 more additional locations in in Sydney, 1 in Queensland and they have even gone international with 1 cafe in Jakarta Indonesia. But it is Devon Cafe’s latest Japanese casual eatery that is creating ripples of excitement for Sydney Foodies. This new eatery focuses on simple Japanese desserts and Donburi (or Don) rice bowl, which is considered wholesome one bowl wonders as the entire meal is contained and focused in that 1 bowl of food.
Dopa by Devon is located in the new Darling Square Complex dining district and it might be easy to miss the restaurant from the rows of many dining options in the small alley street. But what you won’t miss is the long queue of people at lunch time, waiting to give themselves a lunch time treat at this fabulous eatery. The layout of the restaurant is clean minimalist Japanese style. It is warm and inviting with table seating along the side of the restaurant, or you can choose to sit at the bar counter and watch the chefs in action. My favourite seats in the restaurant though are the ones right at the back at the restaurant, because you can watch the world go by on the outside as well.
All the meals at Dopa is served on a traditional Japanese wooden tray and the miso soup is presented in the traditional small black lacquered Japanese soup bowl. You get to choose your main ingredient for your rice bowl, which can vary from chicken to beef to seafood and it also comes with a side of vegetable salad with tomatoes and rocket leaves with a light Japanese dressing. For an extra $5, you can also add 3 additional sides of miso soup, pickled vegetable and seaweed salad, which we found is the best way to enhance and complete your Dopa by Devon dining experience.
One of the top sellers in Dopa by Devon is their Wagyu Beef Bolar Blade Don Rice Bowl, which you can have with ginger shallot or teriyaki sauce. Today, we paired the wagyu beef bowl with teriyaki sauce. The beef was thinly sliced, cooked to perfection, melt-in-your-mouth tender and rich in flavour. The teriyaki sauce had the right level of sweet and savoury. The best part of the dish is the soft Onsen Tamago soft boiled egg, with a runny yolk centre that helps to blends out the whole dish together. The whole dish is so simple, and yet so delicious that each mouthful is bound to give you a feeling of sheer bliss and comfort.
Besides meat Don Bowls, Dopa By Devon’s seafood don bowls are also outstanding. We would recommend the Grilled Ling Cod with Saikyo Miso and Onsen Tamago soft egg. The fish was cooked to perfection, with a generous slather of sticky sweet teriyaki sauce with a glistening sheen, topped with green onions. The other interesting element of the dish is the use of Saikyu Miso, which has a sweet and salty flavour profile which gradually builds up as you eat more of it. It is a perfectly balanced dish and one of my favourite Japanese Don Bowls available in the city.
For dessert, we would recommend trying the Matcha Kakigori, which is a Japanese version of shaved ice dessert. It is not too sweet, smooth and cooling on the palate, topped with Matcha Green Tea ice cream and adzuki red beans, It is definitely a great dessert and perfect way to end your meal at Dopa by Devon.
The name Dopa is a short form for Dopamine, which is the feel good chemical release by your brain, which the owners of Devon Cafe is hoping that a meal at Dopa would make you feeling comfortable, happy and blissfully contented. The quality of the food is Dopa is really top notch and their meal portions are just right. We left the meal feeling fed but not overly full. The long queues outside Dopa at lunch time speaks for itself on its popularity. But don’t just take our word for it. Try it out for yourself and like me, you might find yourself looking forward to the next visit to this great eatery.