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.
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.