Who’d have thought I’d be on the harbour again heading out to another tasting event held by the Dedes Group, this time at the aptly named Dedes on the waterfront at Abbotsford. Once again the scenery was picturesque to say the least and it seemed that every man, woman and infant decided to catch the same ferry as me on this dreary grey and wet Sunday afternoon. Dozens of kiddy strollers are bound to slow down on/off people movement so I was a little late on arrival. Yes, I blame the children so bring on the hate mail.
So what’s going on this time? A generous invitation by the restaurant to sample a barrage of desserts by pastry chef Jason Langthorne. As if the desserts weren’t enough we also got to sample a little bit of seafood beforehand. Actually, a little bit translated to two massive platters plus a couple of homely plates of cholesterol-balancing snake beans and chicory courtesy of YaYa’s garden.
The Dedes clan seems to have an obsession with the waterfront. And why would they not? Sydney without the harbour would be a very different place and a Dedes-owned restaurant just wouldn’t be the same if it were in a land-locked suburb. The views over the water at this particular restaurant are stunning, even on a miserably wet day. I can just imagine sitting outside on the balcony with a chilled vino or beer on a warm summers day, a few friends and front-row seats over the shimmering harbour and Sydney Rowing Club. You gotta love this town.
Daydreaming aside, the seafood platters that crowned our large table not only had us ooh-ing but many diners in the restaurant were turning heads at the spectacle of our hot and cold seafood being photographed. Ordinarily the hot and cold seafood platters at Dedes are served separately but in our case we had a happy jumble of baked barramundi, enormous curls of salt & pepper squid, grilled scampi and bbq prawns, crayfish and skewerd horseback prawns. That was just the “hot”. The “cold” seafood goodies were a feature of smoked salmon, Greek-style marinated octopus with fetta and olives and briney Wallace Lake oysters. A glass of a matching and very light Watershed unoaked Chardonnay from the Margaret River went down a treat.
Now, I’m smelling something sweet in the air. Caramelised sugar, perhaps? The first of our desserts is one that I took pleasure in watching the finishing touches being made. Strawberry crème brûlée + vanilla shortbread. There’s a fine line between using too much or too little sugar for a brûlée crust as well as potentially just singeing the top and having hardened sugar crystals beneath. This burnished little baby was perfect and its bubbly accompaniment, a flute of NV Moët et Chandon Champagne, had the flavours of strawberry and toffee bouncing on my tongue.
As if we needed more, but there was; a perky chocolate truffle dacquoise with almond praline and Turkish delight icecream. This was more than a delight. Layers of chocolate sponge, thin hazelnut meringue and thick chocolate truffle topped with a nest of crunchy sugar and almonds. It didn’t end there. That scoop of Turkish delight icecream almost had me purring and the shot of velvety and icy Frangelico frappé had me wanting more.
And more is what we got. Flourless citrus cake with lemon semifreddo + orange caramel. The piccolo latte is exactly what was needed with this moist and zesty cake but sadly the coffee was very much on the mild side (especially for a piccolo) and had me yearning for a stronger caffeine hit. A delicious cake like this screams for a good caffeine slap.
From the sweet and lemony flourless cake we traversed to sharp and sour with a beautiful baked rhubarb tart with powdery cinnamon crumble and toffee apple icecream. The rose-coloured crest of thin toffee added visual pow but the glorious rhubarb took centre stage in the flavour stakes. A generous shot of NV Galway Pipa Port washed it all down nicely.
Once again YaYa added a touch of the humble with her burek-like sweet pumpkin pie using her own home-made filo; very much like the pumpkin strudel my own mum makes, it’s sweet and rich and difficult to stop at one. Finally a palate-cleansing and stomach-settling peppermint tea followed by chocolate ganache petit fours winds down a marathon effort by us all. I was so full and exhausted that I needed someone else to rub my belly.
Not that we got to try them, we did marvel at the traditional Greek tsoureki, a sweet bread studded with dyed hard-boiled eggs for Easter. It took centre stage of the restaurant and made me appreciate the fundamentals of Dedes – great food, hospitality and a comfortable environment you want to keep coming back to. Cheers guys.
hnf dined courtesy of Dedes