Dopa? It’s short for dopamine because the crew behind Dopa, Devon’s newest incarnation, reckon you’ll be hooked. On the menu you’ll find Japanese rice bowls and sweets, everything from matcha profiteroles to black sesame puddings to kakigori shaved ice.
Dopa takes up a corner site on the recently launched Electric Treat Street, part of the multi-million dollar Darling Square development. At its centre is The Exchange, an impressive building that looks like a giant birds nest. You’ll find a who’s who of food luminaries now open in the area. The Exchange includes Saga Lyte by Andy Bowdy, Boque by Tapavino, Hopper Kade, Mr Bao, Bubble Nini, Fishbowl, Bau Truong and Pasta Wafu by Hamish Ingham, Rebecca Lines and Kerby Craig.
Wander down Electric Treat Street (and extension of Little Hay Street) and you’ll find Gelato Messina, Shortstop Donuts, Kurtosh, and Filipino snack bar Rey Jr.
Adding Hokkaido uni sea urchin to our rice bowl
Dopa is one of the bigger eateries, an L-shaped dining room built around the open kitchen. The menu feels a little hard to follow in its overly spaced-out format but basically you choose your preferred protein on top of a donburi rice bowl.
You’ll have to order and pay upfront at the register; a supplied buzzer will vibrate when your meal is ready to be collected, a slightly tricky task when balancing a tray of dishes in a narrow dining space.
Hokkaido uni don $49
Sea urchin roe, salmon roe, blue fin tuna sashimi with koshikari rice
Make sure you check the specials – written on a tiny blackboard next to the cash register – before you order. We make no hesitation in heading straight for premium territory, the Hokkaido uni don. Sure it’s $49 but #yolo.
We’re rewarded with plump petals of Hokkaido sea urchin roe and thick slices of blue fin tuna sashimi in ruby red. While the menu promises “caviar” we’re provided with salmon roe which I guess is only slightly stretching the truth?
It’s a luxe bowl that’s generous with sea urchin roe. Our only quibble was the bowl was prepared relatively quickly but sat at the pick-up station for ten minutes while the rest of our order was prepared.
Ultimate don $35
Steak, wagyu tongue, foie gras and truffle
We also splurge on the ultimate don, a decadent offering of steak, wagyu tongue, foie gras and freshly shaved truffle. The steak is particularly good, super juicy and tender. Foie gras and truffle are also an excuse to #treatyoself.
Pork katsu don $16
with miso soup, pickles and seaweed salad $5
It’s not all fancy. The pork katsu don alone is $16 but you can turn it into more of a meal for $5 which adds miso soup, pickles and a seaweed salad.
Inside the pork katsu
The pork katsu is a winner, tender meat layered with fat and encased in a crunchy panko crumb. A soft-cooked scramble of velvety egg and a tangle of fried seaweed and fresh shallots round out a satisfying meal.
Other rice bowls on offer include karaage fried chicken, saikyo miso king salmon, salmon or tuna sashimi and a cheeseburger-style wagyu patty.
Dopa by Devon
Shops 5-6, 2 Little Hay Street, Haymarket, Sydney