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Review for Candlenut Kitchen (Dorsett)

3.7

Eatability rating

16 reviews

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AsianNonyaPeranakan
Address: #01-03, Dorsett Residences, 331 New Bridge Road, 088764
19 Feb 2014
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Great Peranakan food at affordable prices

To see the full review with pictures, click here.

Candle Nut is nestled in the quiet spot that is Dorsett Residences, unobtrusive and demure but serves some pretty good food that was affordable to boot.   Their starters all sound amazing and so we ordered four of them, starting with the kueh pie tee [$8], which you get to assemble yourselves so the freshly fried shell does not get soggy.   You should come in a party of 4 since so many of the dishes here seem to be served in fours (the Satay, the Kueh Pie Tee)   They used chicken thigh for the satay [$10] and it was really juicy, though it looks a bit like American styled saté that is super meaty and inauthentic. These were marinated all the way through though and very tender   We ordered Yeye’s Curry [$14] which is pretty mild, somewhat like a Thai green curry. I was initially apprehensive because of the green chilli padi in this dish as stated in the menu but it was totally not spicy at all. Certainly not as much as the sambal kang kong, which we ordered, and was FIERY (more so than typical zhi char places outside).   The turmeric wings [$8] were delicious, freshened up with a spritz of calamansi. Most of the fat had rendered (as I prefer it to be) and the spice coating was perfect. They served about 6 of these.   The ngoh hiang [$10] here is one of the best I’ve ever had. This is highly recommended – it’s juicy and crispy and stuffed with pork and mushrooms and chopped water chestnuts.   The pork cheek glazed with kecap manis [$14] was delightful if a bit overgrilled. Pork cheek when braised is tender and melty, this one was a bit more elastic/tough but still delicious with the saffron and goes fantastically with the chilled green apple salad on the side (which I thought was cucumber)   We had the milo bar [$9] for dessert – the menu is not very descriptive of what a milo bar is exactly but it’s got a truffle type texture (coated with milo powder) but the center is less melty than the typical buttercream filling of a chocolate truffle. It comes with chopped nuts, chocolate coated pop rocks, candied cashews, and some vanilla sauce. This was delicious and just the right amount for 3 people (after the humongous spread we had).   Every table gets an enamel tureen of steamed rice to eat with all the dishes, family style. There is no charge for the rice and you can request more if the sambal kang kong gets too hot to handle.   I really like the quaintness of this restaurant and the Peranakan decor. Our bill came up to $120 because well, we ordered a LOT of things to try. The portions aren’t that big (so you can try lots of different things), but I wouldn’t recommend this much for 3 people :P Maybe 2-3 appetizers would be good enough.
Average Spend
$120 for 3 pax
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Not bad, interesting dishes that worked quite well

Full review HERE
 
 We had heard much about Candlenut and went soon after coming back from Penang to get our fix of Peranakan food. Overall, the food was not bad, but doesn't match up to what we had in Penang :) Our favourite was the coconut curry prawn, and the buah keluak ice cream was an interesting concept that worked.
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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?
 
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Last visit to Candlenut, ever

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

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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Authentic Peranakan cuisine @ Dorsett Residences

For full review and pics, do visit therantingpanda.com

The Place Candlenut touts itself as an inspired Peranakan cuisine and I have been wanting to try it for the longest time, given that I am quite a fan of Peranakan fare. Located near Outram Park MRT, the restaurant has a casual setting with a homely ambience.

Candlenut is one of the many merchants on The Entertainer 2015 App, which offers 1-for-1 dining deals for holders of the app or book.

The Food We decided to order all our favourite dishes, and we thought the best starter is the Kueh Pie Tee ($8). The amazing part about Candlenut is that all their paste and sauces are homemade and there is no MSG in their food, which we totally appreciate. I like the idea of making my own Kueh Pie Tee, which also came with braised turnips, pork belly and prawns filling. The crispy cone was one of the main reasons I am addicted to this dish.