Tasting the Seasons : Dezato Desserts and Dining

Dezato - Ceramic

2nd October 2010. Written by Xin Li.
Dezato is an elegant little restaurant located near the “belly of the carp” (Boat Quay area of the Singapore River). Initially founded as a dessert shop and helmed by former Shangri-la Hotel chef, Chef Derick Lau (who speaks fluent Cantonese as well), the restaurant also serves up dishes from other parts of the Japanese cuisine most notably kaiseki.

Dezato - Miso Soup

Kaiseki meaning “stone in bosom” refers to the heated stones that Buddhist monks kept in their robes during training to fight off hunger pangs. Later, kaiseki became known as a light meal to prepare participants of the tea ceremony as the tea was too intense for an empty stomach. It was probably after years of refining by the presence of lords, samurais, wealthy merchants, artists etc in the former capital of Japan that kaiseki became associated with elaborate meals with multiple courses and many other stuff which might I would see as pure gimmicks. This is en-kaiseki (banquet kaiseki) which many of us know thanks to people like Yoshihiro Murata and Kunio Tokuoka. Then there is another kind of kaiseki meant for tea ceremonies, which is more simplistic known as cha-kaiseki.

Dezato - Salmon Nigiri Sushi

In Singapore, one of the most well-known restaurants serving kaiseki meals is probably Goto Restaurant in Ann Siang which will set you back at a staggering 160+ SGD bill. Dezato Restaurant on the other hand serves kaiseki cuisine at a more affordable range of prices starting from 60 SGD to 180 SGD. Even if you are not into kaiseki, there are a few choices of set lunches that are rather affordable around 13-14+ SGD for you to choose and you could also order some of the dishes from the kaiseki menu.

Dezato - Cod Fish

I got to know Dezato from one of my Dad’s friends, who is a regular patron of the restaurant and I am glad to have a chance to dine at Dezato with him a few weeks ago. To start of the gourmet journey, we had a few cups of chilled Japanese sake. This is actually my first time drinking something above the 30% alcohol level mark. The sake is very fragrant and sweet without the strong over-bearing bitter smell I get from beers like Tiger.

Dezato - Sake

The seemingly modern interior design might not evoke imagery of Mt. Fuji or a stereotypical Japanese setting (bamboo etc) but there are elements of Japanese design evident in the simplicity of the interior. Perhaps, this way you would pay more attention to the food?

Dezato - Baby Sardines with Mayo

Our first course was a Baby Sardine Crisps with Chrysanthemum Greens. The Baby Sardine Crisps came with mayonnaise. It reminded me of crispy piece of cuttlefish but with a lighter and more refined flavor. Generally the two were quite light tasting. A nice start to the meal with some chilled sake.

Dezato - Chrysanthemum Greens

The second course was a Sashimi platter consisting of shimaji (Yellow Jack), sujiko (Autumn Salmon Roe), sanma (Pacific Saury) and saba. The wasabi that came with it wasn’t the normal ones you get from supermarket. It tasted fresher.

Dezato - Sashimi

This platter of sashimi got to be one of the best I had thus far, the cuts were thick yet there was not hint of fatty clots and each slice was very fresh (without any hint of fishy aftertaste) and smooth and tender. The sanma fish (extreme right) was described by Chef Derick as a fish that one either love or hate, similar to sea urchin. The fish was to be eaten with some freshly grated ginger and cut.

Dezato - Sashimi

The experience of eating sujiko, (Autumn Salmon Roe) was literally a “burst of flavors”. The firm exterior is a testimony to the freshness of the roe. Together a bit of soy sauce, these savory, slightly salty juicy balls are like mini xiaolongbaos.

Apparently, when eating sashimi, one should not dip wasabi into the shoyu and mix it. Instead when eating with wasabi, one is supposed to apply it to the fish and dip the fish into soy sauce without letting the soy sauce coming into contact with the wasabi. The result was 3 dimensions of flavors unfolding in your mouth. The experience was new to me despite eating sashimi quite a few times before.

Dezato - Cod Fish

The third course is a Lightly Fried Cod Fish topped with Japanese Chili Pepper. The exterior is a thin, crispy layer of batter. The interior is a melt-in-your-mouth, juicy and smooth cod flesh. The sensation of eating this was heavenly. The sauce was mildly sweet and salty. The grated radish with chili powder adds a subtle spicy touch to the dish.



Dezato - Salmon Maki Sushi

The fourth course is a delicious and fresh Salmon Maki Sushi served with a bowl of miso soup.

Dezato - Salmon Nigiri Sushi

The fifth course is a Salmon Nigiri Sushi served in two ways. The raw version was remarkably fresh and smooth. The lightly torched Salmon Nigiri Sushi has a more savory taste with a thin charred layer on top. Simply wonderful. The rice portion was well seasoned to complement the salmon in both versions.

Dezato - Citrus Sorbet with Wine Jelly

To finish off the meal, we had a Citrus Ice Cream/ Sorbet with Wine Jelly. It was a mix of sweet and sour flavors in the form of a refreshing dessert. The feeling of having this dessert is like having a nice cool drink in the summer heat.

Dezato - Citrus Sorbet with Wine Jelly

The experience was simply great. It is very interesting to discover how the Japanese cuisine is closely related to the seasons. Last but not least, many thanks to Chef Derick and crew for the great service and meal. Thank you Mr Phoon for the opportunity to dine at Dezato. I look forward to a revisit.

Dezato Desserts and Dining

Address:
20 Lorong Telok #01-01 Singapore

Tel: +65 6532 1284

Opening Hours
Mon–Sat: 11.30am–2.30pm, 6pm–10.30pm
(Closed on Sun & PH)

3 comments:

  1. there's a particular clarity and delicateness in your photographs that makes them quite unique and impressive indeed... more real as well than some of those over-exposed, heavily photoshopped ones. love it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hmmm... looks like one ideal venue for my gathering this week. Thx xinli

    ReplyDelete
  3. to Harris: hey thanks! I just try to make them as close as how I remembered them when I had it ;)

    to Amasou Umasou: you are welcome! do call them if you have a particular budget in mind, some ingredients may need to be reserved such as a the Hokkaido Hairy Crabs which has limited stocks according to Chef Derick.

    ReplyDelete

 

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