Sunday, December 27, 2015

Best New Restaurant 2015 - Dewakan

For a restaurant, located away from city centre ... amidst industrial offices and a plethora of half occupied condos ... to garner full bookings for dinner almost every night for the past couple of months (after opening for less than a year) ... is nothing short of amazing.

Mostly just by the powerful word of mouth. Its an amazing feat by Darren Teoh and the team led by Mohd Hafriz.

Darren Teoh, a molecular gastronomy lecturer at KDU’s School of Hospitality, Tourism and Culinary Arts, this restaurant was two years in the planning. Well-known in culinary circles, Teoh has an impressive background that includes staging (culinary apprenticeships) at restaurants like two Michelin star Noma in Copenhagen and the three Michelin star Restaurant Amador in Germany. Teoh first showcased an imaginative and progressive type of cooking coined as modern Malaysian cuisine in his 2010 book Re-definition: Molecular Cuisine: Traditional Recipes through a Modern Kaleidoscope.


    Cured Mackerel, Ulam Raja, Pomelo, Local Flowers 

 easily the best dish of the night ... just like the signature "salmon/seaweed" dish by Tetsuya... this should be Dewakan's signature dish ... the cured mackerel retains sufficient saltiness/bite and raw fish freshness elevating it to a spectacular sashimi standard experience  ... the local flowers worked very well with the fish and the acidity of the lime juice added a lasting impression ... mackerel's taste enhanced and elevated ... I could have ten of this ... 10/10

    King Oyster Mushrooms, Green Curry Paste, Yoghurt, Dried Mackerel Flakes

the mushrooms were raw on the right side, to slightly grilled in the middles and cooked well to the left ... each had its own sauces ... the green curry paste worked so well with the raw ones without detracting from the freshness of the mushrooms ... remember the flakes ... the mushrooms all tasted like 3 dishes but coming together to one very satisfying dish where the star was the mushrooms  9.5/10

    Aubergine braised in Mushroom Stock, Jackfruit Seeds, Black Bean Sauce and Garlic Emulsion
    Steamed Ming Prawns, Brined Radish, Dried Vegetables, Cold Prawn Broth
    Smoked Pike Conger, Custard, Fermented Long Beans Relish, Roasted Okra, Clams Foam

the first of the "main courses" ... like a porridge and a very eggy tasting steamed egg in the middle ... very good dish but may be a tad too big a serving, making us feel a bit full after just the fifth course .. 9/10

  • DUCK
    Roast Duck Breast, Duck Leg Rillette, Beetroots, "Blood" Sauce

like a marriage of Chinese and Western style of duck roasting, crispy skin ... almost pink duck breast, juicy and condensed flavour of duck with every bite ... wanted more  9.5/10

    Confit of Lamb Breast, Spring Onions, Marsala and Onion Puree

not your usual grilled or oven baked lamb ... its more like it has been cooked in its own fat in slowly, hence no charring with a consistency like a "more tender waxed duck" ... the spices used make me think of Middle Eastern flavour, very very satisfying, esp if you like lamb  9/10

    Mulberry Jam, Cardamom Ganache, Cashew Brittles, Pucuk Gajus, Mulberry Snow
    Gula Melaka Marquise, Sour Meringue, Pulut Ice Cream

looks nothing like gula melaka or pulut ... more like a Monet painting, beautiful to look at, easily the TOP dessert ... its almost heavenly ... pulut ice cream was like taking in the essence without the calories ...but the gula melaka, meringue and cookie kinda like drew out the best aspects of cendol/ondeh-ondeh and elevated the taste to a higher level ... 10/10

    Warm Chocolate Tart, Caramelised Jackfruit and Gandum Ice Cream

Thankfully, at Dewakan, Darren exercised utmost restraint in his molecular cuisine approach, which I think helps diners to focus on his brilliant cooking abilities, and less on the hype and bells& whistles of molecular gastronomy.

The pleasant surprise at the end of the meal ... fresh, organic ice cream potongs with local flavours ... the assamboi one did not gel but the pomelo and pineapple ones were great. Very local, very Malaysian, very nicely done ...

Why Dewakan was the best new restaurant in 2015 for me:

- A definitive strategy to use ONLY LOCAL ingredients ... for far too long whenever we say fine dining, its always the "Western model" of exotic or hard to get ingredients. Malaysians tend to too easily favour anything foreign and too fast to pooh-pooh anything local. At Dewakan, we continued to be marvelled at the amazing variety of produce, condiments and plants that are all around us... being presented on plates worthy of any Michelin starred place.

- There is a strong sense of sincerity and integrity in the food cooked, the way they are presented, to allow for an enhanced appreciation of each and every ingredient used.

- PLUS, the food tasted bloody good. While not all dishes were home runs, the majority were ... and even the lesser ones were more than decent.

Do book way ahead of time for dinner. Corkage for wine is RM50 per bottle. They do have a limited wine list. Get there before they start raising prices.

For me, Dewakan easily bulldozes its way to being among the top 3 best fine dining places in the country. Darren changes almost half his menu every 3 months I think. If he keeps hitting home runs with new dishes in 2016 ... Dewakan may even reign as the best fine dining restaurant in the country in 2016. Its creative, innovative, immerses the diner with the pleasures of the ingredients ... its just bloody well done.

Dewakan will be taking a break from the 1st to the 17th January 2015. During this time, reservations will be closed and will resume on the 15th January. The restaurant will be opened on the 18th January.
Lunch: Mon to Fri – 12 Noon to 2:30pm
Dinner: Thur to Sat – 7pm to 9pm
Closed on Sundays and certain public holidays.
For Phone Reservations:
Monday to Friday only @
10am to 12pm, and 3pm to 5pm only.
Directions to the restaurant at KDU UC
Lower Ground Floor
KDU University College, Utropolis Glenmarie
Jalan Kontraktor U1/14, Seksyen U1,
40150 Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia

1 comment:

Bohemian Rhapsody - Review & Personal Notes

Movie Review : It is terribly unfair with all the hype surrounding the movie prior to its release. Expectations were high. If you don...