You can always tell when a seafood kitchen is run by a chef who is just besotted with his or her ingredients. Dedes, which stretches gracefully along the Pier 2 wharf at Hickson Road, is clearly such a place.
For one thing, the menu departs only begrudgingly from its main protagonist. Sure, there's a quail dish here, and a scotch fillet there, but the team is bursting at the seams for you to try their plump Yamba prawns, their AAA grade Sydney rock oysters, or their deep sea barramundi.
You'd be a fool not to take their lead. The prawns are grand, fleshy creatures, barbecued to perfection and jazzed up with a ginger-chilli emulsion ($22). Textural ribbon pasta is tossed with soft hunks of spanner crab, juicy grape tomatoes, chilli-infused saffron and white wine ($22). In short, the entrees here do what all good entrees should: seduce you with their succulence and build your anticipation for the continuation of the meal.
When it comes to the mains, the fish dishes are king. The wild barramundi ($35) flakes apart on the fork, its subtle flesh complemented by soft French lentils and confit baby leek. Or if your preference is for punchier flavours, opt for the snapper fillet, served with a fragrant cumin brinjal (spicy eggplant), lemongrass-infused coconut and tart bursts of pomegranate.
No matter what you're eating, you'll enjoy the aesthetic feast of a sparkling Harbour Bridge, seemingly close enough to touch and taken full advantage of by floor-to-ceiling windows which open onto a breezy outdoor deck.
Unusually for a white-tablecloth restaurant such as this, Dedes has gone out of its way to make its magnificent seafood accessible to a younger crowd. Come on a Wednesday to enjoy half a lobster or lobster tail salad for $22, or indulge with $1 oysters during the 6-7pm happy hour on Thursdays. There's also an approachable wine list, with gems like the 2012 Sensi Pinot Grigio ($40) providing crisp companionship to the scrumptious meal.
There are plenty of mouth-watering desserts on offer, but we opt for a nice, clean end to the feast with a bold espresso and a tasty sampling of Kakawa petit fours.
Start to finish, Dedes is a showstopper, and as one of the newest of Sydney's wharf-end seafood joints, there's no doubt it's going to make a splash.