Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Devonshire Friday prix fixe on my mind

I'd love more four-day work weeks, if only to get through the prix fixe lunch menus that seem only prevalent in Surry Hills (though I know Matt Kemp has always done them). A full three courses at bargain prices, like $35 at The Devonshire, is such good value I'm not entirely sure how the restaurants do it.

Bread rolls with whipped butter at The Devonshire, Devonshire Street, Surry Hills
I found myself in the middle part of Devonshire Street in Surry Hills one early Friday lunch, with a few other tables on the prix fixe menu as well. The long dining room was a little quiet and lacking genuine atmosphere, and could probably benefit from nudging up the volume on the music.

Gorgeous white bread rolls made their way to the table shortly after ordering; pointy specimens that were out-of-the-oven hot. But the best part about this bread, aside from the fantastic crust, was the whipped butter its served with - one with salt flakes and the other blended with honey.

With the airy butter melting on contact with the hot bread, dribbling butter was the look I was sporting - without complaint. There's no choice of dishes with The Devonshire's prix fixe menu, but it's hard to argue given the prices, even with a glass of French varietal that was dry and chardonnay-like.

Chicken liver parfait, fennel chutney and brioche
The day's prix fixe entreé was that increasingly ubiquitous liver parfait (probably noted as I'm not the hugest fan of pate and all things liver). Two imperfect quenelles of the pinkest chicken liver parfait was a stark introduction to the kitchen of Jeremy Bentley.

Topped with a crumble of roasted hazelnuts for a necessary textural contrast, the parfait was served with toasted brioche and an almost candied fennel chutney. There was, as ever, not enough bread to eat all the livery spread so towards the end it was more like parfait with brioche crumbs and fennel.

Pan fried skate wing, anchovy, mussels and celeriac
The main of the day was an interesting melange of seafood, featuring golden pan fried skate wing that came apart at its lined flesh. While the fish was a little dry for tastes, the accompaniments were such fun that they made up for it plus some.

The three crumbed mussels were unexpectedly sweet, adding some needed depth to the skate as the herb sauce didn't seem to have much impact, nor the dabs of celeriac puree.

However, the battered anchovy sure did; crazily crunchy in its deep gold and impressively airy batter, its saltiness and fishy oiliness were actually just the missing ingredients.

Broken fig tart, port and orange ice cream
Reading the menu, I thought the dessert was a tart of broken figs, but in fact it was the tart that was broken, or severely deconstructed. Featuring both fresh and candied dried figs, the 'tart' aspect of crisp, flaky pastry and the biscuit-y crumble were perfect for attempting to mop up the subtle port and orange ice cream.

By the time we'd finished lunch there was a fairly full dining room; most chowing down on chicken liver parfait and pan fried skate wing. The value of the prix fixe menu is unbeatable, and with weekly changing menus at a number of restaurants, I've got my next Friday off on my mind already.

The Devonshire on Urbanspoon


sugarpuffi said...

i loveeeee the devonshire! sad that your fishie is a little dry :(

Sara - Belly Rumbles said...

What an awesome deal. I am going to have to get my bum down there on a Friday and check it out. Food looks awesome, can't believe just $35.

Jacq said...

I love these prix fixe Friday lunch deals! Such good value!

chocolatesuze said...

ill have your liver!!! pass it to meeeee!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Is it amazing how they can do the food for $35 when you consider the cost of food, the rent and the staff and skills. Having said that I do love prix fixe deals.

Richard Elliot said...

I'd love to try the Devonshire. The prix fixe lunch and pre theatre menu both sound really tempting.

My only problem is that now my team have discovered the prix fixe at Marque they don't want to go anywhere else when we organise a treat on a Friday!

Tina said...

Hi sugarpuffi - It's a cute venue :)

Hi Sara -Yes, it's like crazy prices fine dining ;)

Hi Jacq - I know! Still a few more I haven't tried yet - just need more Fridays off!

Hi suze - All yours (even though you sound a little Hannibal Lecter), although you may need to fight someone else for it ;)

Hi Lorraine - Am pretty sure it doesn't cover costs, but hopefully wine orders and return visits do.

Hi Richard - I haven't been to the Marque one yet but am dying to :)

Food is our religion said...

I can't believe they would do it for only $35! I really need to check it out!

Rita (mademoiselle délicieuse) said...

Agreed, need more Fridays off to be able to take advantage of these awesome value lunch deals!

Vivian - vxdollface said...

I've been to The Devonshire and I love how it's so cosy and quaint. Good value for the food even on the regular menu.

Hannah said...

This is very confusing to my soul. I'm usually a sugar fiend, but what I want most here is the liver parfait. Help! :P

Tina said...

Hi Food is our religion - Incredible value, isn't it? Would love to do one every week ;)

Hi Rita - Yup. And Fridays off are so rare...

Hi Vivian - I haven't yet been for the normal a la carte menu, but everything sounds good :)

Hi Hannah - Some dessert liver parfait? ;)

Dee@fgodinhand said...

Been trying to go to this for half a year :( sadly I no longer work in the city so I'm also waiting for a 4 day week! Marque Friday prix fixe is also insanely good. <3

Tina said...

Hi Dee - I know, it's such a rare occasion. When I do get a Friday off, prix fixe lunches are usually the first thing that come to my mind :) Yet to try the Marque one


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