On the streets of Hamilton and the outskirts of town, you are hard pressed to miss a sign of Buzz Restaurant. With 5 outlets in walking distance of the city centre, and more island-wide, the franchise has made its mark within the Bermuda take-out marketplace. And with the success of the Buzz formula, in 2014, the owners decided to introduce diners to Devil’s Isle Café, the older, more sophisticated sibling to Buzz. Based on the crowds that have been frequenting the Burnaby Street, scene-stealing location since its launch, the classy family member has been welcomed with open arms.
Boasting all-day opening hours, visiting any time of day - whether for breakfast, lunch, happy hour or dinner - is not just a possibility, it is strongly encouraged. Upon the approach to Devil's Isle at whatever hour, you are greeted by al fresco seating and generally a patron or six taking in the sights and sounds of the street while enjoying some form of exquisitely plated food. Once inside, rustic, contemporary, welcoming and cozy describe the restaurant space. With a communal table in the middle and seating with oversized pillows on the sides; window seating at one end and a bar at the other, the intimate space is designed to stimulate the senses with the smells, sights and sounds of a place you simply want to be in the middle of.
Then there is the food. Devil’s Isle swears by a philosophy of locally sourced, farm fresh food, a unique wine selection and bar (with an award winning mixoligist on hand) and the ability to provide a satisfying coffee, juice, soda, mixed drink or meal that will lift your inner food loving spirit at any point of the day. Essentially providing a welcoming atmosphere for you to feel at home and leave satiated from morning straight through to the night.
Breakfast. 8am – 11am
Fans, friends and followers of @biteofbermuda (if you aren't one you should be) know all too well about our feelings about the Avocado Crush. A dish that we cannot get enough of and has served as the go-to breakfast on many a morning. The simplicity of the ingredients; crushed seasoned avocado set atop the grilled homemade toast of your choosing. Add to this, a generous sprinkling of sriracha (we like spice) and it becomes a plate of perfection. If after reading this, your mind and appetite are set on the Avocado Crush, disappointment will be the theme of your day if you go after 11am…it’s a breakfast-only item.
Our love for the avocado in the morning doesn’t stop there. For those days when you need your avocado fix on the go, there is the Devil's Isle signature Protein Shake the Avo Colada. Again a blend of simple and fresh ingredients which provide the perfect pick-me-up; avocado, pineapple, lime, coconut water, protein and coconut puree. A smooth mixture with subtle tropical flavours and a gang of nutrients to help you through the roughest of mornings. Because thanks in part to our friends who just have to celebrate their birthday on whatever night it happens to fall...sometimes, rough mornings happen.
These are just two of the many offerings from the breakfast menu but don’t let your experimenting stop there. DI also boasts an array of fresh juices, smoothies, shakes and eggs in many styles created with the freshest of ingredients and a promise of being pleasing. (Yes, you should take our word for it)
Lunch 11am – 5pm
Lunch is a challenging thing here because there are sooo many directions for you to go. Soups, sandwiches, salads and their signature Harvest Bowls, just to name a few. To make matters even more enjoyable to the palette, DI allows and seems to encourage customization (it’s like the servers want to throw the kitchen team a challenge here and there). Who are we not to oblige?
Not wanting to mess with the beautifully described dishes, the day two-thirds of team biteofbermuda visited DI, we kept the customization to a minimum…kind of
The first order was the Portabella Mushroom Sandwich, with roasted red peppers, asiago cheese and a balsamic glaze. Rather than the customary thick cut slices of a choice of gluten-free focaccia, sour dough ciabatta roll, pumpernickel rye loaf or pumpkin focaccia, we opted for it to come as a toasted wrap, along with a side of sweet potato wedges and a spicy aioli. The lightly charred peppers accentuated the smoky, meaty flavor of the mushroom, while the bite of the slightly wilted kale in the sandwich gave it that textural balance that takes it to the next level of satisfaction. The sweet potato wedges, served door-stopper size, in a mixture of white and orange flesh were amazingly crispy (not a hint of soggy at all), highlighting the painstaking care taken to prepare them.
The second half of lunch was the house-roasted chicken sandwich with kale and havarti cheese (tasting like it came right out of mama's oven). We passed on the bread for part one but couldn't resist trying the pumpkin focaccia for this one (who doesn't like a good focaccia?). Food rules were in place, so we replaced the pancetta with some yummy avocado (customization...remember?), and the creamy havarti brought it all together. Fries were on the other plate so we had to remember our best eating behaviour and had it with a side of of their famous kale caesar salad. Though it's a "side", it's a pretty filling/satisfying/enjoyable dish on its own. With hearty kale and spinach, chunks of DI-style croutons, and generous shavings of aged parmesan, truth be told, we wouldn't mind repeating this meal playing around with different breads and sides.
If you’re looking for a speedy meal, you need to head on over to Buzz. The freshness here takes time…so while waiting, you are teased to take advantage of one of the signature DI house-made drinks. This is when you learn that THEY MAKE THEIR OWN SODA!!! No mass-produced, syrup-laden concoctions to give your kids a sugar rush, but the grown-up versions of must try mock-tails. Elderflower and mint please – refreshing, slightly sweet, slightly floral, crisp and clean tasting. You won’t be disappointed. Period.
The DI Green Juice, made with pear, apple, cucumber and kale is especially invigorating (read that list of ingredients again and imagine...mmmmm...ok carry on). Chilled slightly thanks to a few cubes of ice and served in a wine glass, it's only juice but it had us feeling as sophisticated as our surroundings. Drinking this green goodness gives you a ready-to-take-on-the-world feeling, but more important than that - it just tastes damn GOOD! Remember when drinking your veggies was a 'letter-number' somewhat blech experience??? Absolutely none of that here.
Happy Hour (it’s 5pm somewhere) - until
During the most wonderful hour(s) of the day, (Happy Hour) the communal vibe of Devil’s Isle takes off. Drive across post 5pm on any given day and it will be evident that there is something special about DI Happy Hour. We’d hasten to say there are some special things!! Small plates and large platters for sharing, traditional favourites to special rarely seen items and a sparkly Rosé named Frizzante (more on this later), which can only be found at Devil’s Isle and is something for wine and rosé drinkers to put on their must sample bucket list.
The Charcuterie Board – mixture of meats, cheeses, figs, olives, pickled beets and homemade breads. Perfect for sharing (though while at lunch, the cold cuts and cheeses served with crispy bread was an ideal meal for one)
Hand cut Blue Cheese Fries served with their house made ketchup and mayo. Yum in every aspect. Perfect for sharing but even better when you take your fries and sit in the corner and eat them all to yourself. Not that we recommend this, but you’ll be tempted.
Devil’s Isle Duck Taco – substantial pieces of duck with shredded kale, perfect for Taco Tuesday or any other day that ends in ‘y’.
Quality is something you pay for and is worth the wait, so Devil's Isle isn't the place for quick, cheap eats. But the portion size, innovative menu and the attentive service all add up to a valued meal and dining experience. Per our post, you can see we have yet to sample dinner at Devil's Isle, but it comes highly recommended from our friends and fellow food lovers. If you've experienced night-time dining at DI, let us know what you thought about it in the comments below, we'd love to get your take on it.
Devils Isle Restaurant
19 Burnaby St
Open: From 8am Mon-Fri (9am Sat)
Reservations strongly recommended
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