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2022-08-16 15:33:23

Desiderata: FIVE STAR FISH

By A. Kaze. 17.09.2008

Chef Andis Aldersons has noticed that seafood is a favorite, and has created his menu at Desiderata accordingly. Although Desiderata, located below the five star Royal Square Hotel, is quite new on the dining scene, the man behind the food has been preparing dishes to satisfy stomachs for over 15 years. Aldersons favors an international menu to cater for the clients of the hotel. But diners have asked whether a Frenchman is in the kitchen –evidence that something has rubbed off from his two year stint working alongside a Gallic colleague.

While the menu changes a little according to the season, Aldersons retains a set core of the most popular items to please the growing number of regulars returning for a particular favorite. When asked which seafood dishes are most sought after, the halibut is favored for its delicate flavor. But apparently one can never tell as favorites seem to mysteriously rotate as if customers conspire and coordinate outside the restaurant. But whatever your most cherished seafood may be, you’ll see a pleasing selection prepared in a variety of ways, whether steamed, baked, boiled, grilled or poached, which Aldersons endeavors to make sure is different from what’s available at other restaurants. An individual approach is taken so that if someone wants to combine the seafood or meat with a side from another dish, that is no problem.

Although very guarded about his preparation methods, the chef does reveal that his seafood secret is his unique combinations. We were able to experience this with the hot appetizer combining a titanic grilled royal tiger prawn accompanied by sweet corn, chanterelles and bacon (€12). Aldersons admits that the combination is unusual, but if you like it salty like the sea then this one’s for you.

We were tempted by other unusual combinations, such as the sea-scallops with apples and red caviar. But for the main meal the baked gilthead sea bream won the day (€20). This dish was handsomely presented to show off the whole fish; however it was deftly prepared without any bones for easy eating. The slightly bitter flavor of the fish was allowed to come through, with just a gentle hint of the sliced orange it was baked with. The dish comes with a divine spinach and asparagus risotto, a tiny accent of blackcurrant sauce and chanterelle ragout to take advantage of what’s now in season.

Desiderata has an expansive terrace which diners have been enthusiastically using all summer. But as the beginning of fall will see patrons choosing to dine indoors, they won’t be disappointed. The interior of this place is certainly something to behold, with a whimsical design that has preserved ancient city walls and a 16th century well you can see beneath a glass floor. There’s also a VIP niche with fantastic thrones to hide away for more privacy.