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Reviews for Candlenut Kitchen (Dorsett)

3.7

Eatability rating

15 reviews

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AsianNonyaPeranakan
Address: #01-03, Dorsett Residences, 331 New Bridge Road, 088764
5

Better than my grandmother's cooking.

credibility check http://www.tripadvisor.com.sg/members/Anotation

I'm not sure what kind of crack some previous reviewers were smoking, but Candlenut is definitely one of the culinary gems in my book.
In our country where foreign chefs are highly celebrated, international 'best lists' nominating foreign cuisines and chefs to represent Singapore, one can't help but ask, where is the Singaporean chefs and restaurants?

Alas, in came Candlenut, helmed by local Singaporeans, Chef Malcolm lee and restaurant manager Chan Jia min.

I have travelled far and wide for food, multiple cities, dozens of michelin stars collected, yet there will always be a time i miss rice and curry. Whenever i am back home in Singapore, i crave for the food at Candlenut.

Why? Because it is sincere, it is genuine, it is detailed. There is much thought put in to it, it is robust yet balanced. It shows finesse, it shows depth. it tells a story of heritage and progression. It feels like i'm dining with my friends and family.

I dined at Candlenut on 6 separate occasions and each time, i hunger to return. I've tried both their previous ala-carte menu and their latest transition to a tasting menu, dubbed the 'Ahma-kase menu' (Ahma being grandmother).

My absolute favorites are the chicken satay, mum's curry, gula melaka king prawns, Buah keluak ice cream and textures of coconut. The Ahma-kase was very very good too, $50++ per pax for approx 10 carefully cooked and plated dishes, is a GREAT steal. I've heard some people commenting on it being too expensive, to them i say, please eat out more often and stop embarrassing yourself, a plate of random aglio olio pasta can fetch $22, what's $50 for 10 detailed, carefully planned dishes?

I shall not elaborate further on these dishes as the Ahma-kase menu changes regularly, depending on what Chef Malcolm can find daily at the wet-markets. It might not even be on the menu when you visit, but ain't that fun? I can go on and on to explain every single flavor profile of each dish, but that would be unethical for me to spoil the surprise for you.

Yes, service can be sketchy at times, but the young bright eyed service staffs reminds me of my younger days when i was working between school days, trying my best to provide the best service possible in my capacity. In fact, it's rather endearing for me.

Who can fault them when they are so sincere and genuine? I'd much rather have Candlenut's team friendliness than polished robotic michelin servers.

Chef Malcolm Lee aims to showcase Singaporean Peranakan food on the world stage, to push the boundary of the cuisine further, and in my humble opinion, he and his team are very much well on the way. 

Tourists, do pay them a visit when you're in town, take it from a Singaporean foodie. 
Forget what other 'best lists' tells you are must visit (i've ate all of them too), seriously, who flies thousand of miles to Singapore to have french/italian/any other random cuisine rather than Singaporean cuisine?
 
• 27 Jul 2015 • 1 review • 0 follower

Better than my grandmother's cooking.

Overall
Food
Coffee
Drinks
Services
Ambience
Value
Quality
Location
credibility check http://www.tripadvisor.com.sg/members/Anotation

I'm not sure what kind of crack some previous reviewers were smoking, but Candlenut is definitely one of the culinary gems in my book.
In our country where foreign chefs are highly celebrated, international 'best lists' nominating foreign cuisines and chefs to represent Singapore, one can't help but ask, where is the Singaporean chefs and restaurants?

Alas, in came Candlenut, helmed by local Singaporeans, Chef Malcolm lee and restaurant manager Chan Jia min.

I have travelled far and wide for food, multiple cities, dozens of michelin stars collected, yet there will always be a time i miss rice and curry. Whenever i am back home in Singapore, i crave for the food at Candlenut.

Why? Because it is sincere, it is genuine, it is detailed. There is much thought put in to it, it is robust yet balanced. It shows finesse, it shows depth. it tells a story of heritage and progression. It feels like i'm dining with my friends and family.

I dined at Candlenut on 6 separate occasions and each time, i hunger to return. I've tried both their previous ala-carte menu and their latest transition to a tasting menu, dubbed the 'Ahma-kase menu' (Ahma being grandmother).

My absolute favorites are the chicken satay, mum's curry, gula melaka king prawns, Buah keluak ice cream and textures of coconut. The Ahma-kase was very very good too, $50++ per pax for approx 10 carefully cooked and plated dishes, is a GREAT steal. I've heard some people commenting on it being too expensive, to them i say, please eat out more often and stop embarrassing yourself, a plate of random aglio olio pasta can fetch $22, what's $50 for 10 detailed, carefully planned dishes?

I shall not elaborate further on these dishes as the Ahma-kase menu changes regularly, depending on what Chef Malcolm can find daily at the wet-markets. It might not even be on the menu when you visit, but ain't that fun? I can go on and on to explain every single flavor profile of each dish, but that would be unethical for me to spoil the surprise for you.

Yes, service can be sketchy at times, but the young bright eyed service staffs reminds me of my younger days when i was working between school days, trying my best to provide the best service possible in my capacity. In fact, it's rather endearing for me.

Who can fault them when they are so sincere and genuine? I'd much rather have Candlenut's team friendliness than polished robotic michelin servers.

Chef Malcolm Lee aims to showcase Singaporean Peranakan food on the world stage, to push the boundary of the cuisine further, and in my humble opinion, he and his team are very much well on the way. 

Tourists, do pay them a visit when you're in town, take it from a Singaporean foodie. 
Forget what other 'best lists' tells you are must visit (i've ate all of them too), seriously, who flies thousand of miles to Singapore to have french/italian/any other random cuisine rather than Singaporean cuisine?
 
Overall
Food/Drink
Value
Ambience
Service
• 24 Jul 2015 • 1 review • 0 follower

Last visit to Candlenut, ever

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Went there after a long hiatus.. was looking forward to it but what a let-down..

The restaurant is now selling cheap homecook cuisine at high-end prices.. the lunch set was removed, so it's only ala carte - fixed price, and to top it off - no more free water. Service was mediocre at best.. didn't even bother to recommend any dishes (they used to tell me what was good that day and explain how they cook it).

As for food quality, taste-wise it's still above average peranakan but I feel it has dropped since my previous visit. The potions are pathetic.. $14 for 3 spoonfuls of sambal petai.. 20 bucks for 4 small puny pieces of beef rendang - cheap cuts from the shin if I'm not mistaken (used to be nice proper chunks of beef) and chincalok omelette with barely any chincalok for $8. Oh yes, $4 for a glass of watered-down barley water..

Staff gave me the impression that they wanted me out fast as they cleared my plates immediately after I finished my last morsel of food, even though I was still considering dessert.. decided to skip it totally after that..

all in all, felt very disappointed that one of what I considered to be a gem in our local food culture has degraded to this extent.. got to find another peranakan place again.. should have just walked over to OSO..

PS - btw, KF Seetoh came while I was finishing my meal.. immediately, 2-3 staff surrounded him to plp.. I suppose people will still follow his recommendation if he say candlenut is 3 chopsticks hahah..
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• 23 Jul 2015 • 1 review • 0 follower

Used to be a fan of candlenut. But no more.

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Candlenut has recently changed its direction - going the gourmet style with fixed menu, fixed price and no free water, but services that remain the same as before. I was hoping for a pleasant surprise, but it went the other direction.
 
 Firstly, for a fixed menu, we weren't asked what we eat and we don't eat, as per the usual gourmet practice. Perhaps it's too high an expectation for a $50++/pax gourmet experience? Anyway, for 3 of us who were there, we have selective preference for seafood, and the other, doesn't take spicy! Yes, probably stupid to go to candlenut without taking spicy food, but we used to have a choice in their ala carte menu (tremendously missing that).
 
 Secondly, the service was really mediocre, if not horrible. For a change in direction, the overhaul of image could be done more seamlessly than this. But it was not to be. Still using paper napkins, an expectation of fixed menu was not established as website is still not updated (as of now), and unfortunately for us, we were placed in the 'VIP' room aka the forgotten room. Our appetizers took half an hour to arrive, whilst our main course took more than an hour to arrive, due to miscommunication or the lack of it. Thank goodness their dessert was good, hence ended our dinner on a sweet note.
 
 Lastly, and most importantly, we were really there for their peranakan food - the usual suspects in their ala carte menu. I was eagerly informing my guest about the peranakan culture, but it was not apparent in the spread, particularly the main course. Perhaps I have insufficient understanding of the culture, so I'll give Candlenut the benefit of doubt that the menu was peranakan-inspired. I mean, okay, lamb on sambal chili paste does sound somewhat peranakan, but does it taste great? Hmmm.
 
 I am tremendously missing the good old peranakan food, Candlenut used to be my favorite. Where else can I head for the great old peranakan food now? Someone enlighten me please. Thank you.
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