A quartet of juicy, well-marinated chicken satay was what my friend Lynn and I chose to begin our long-overdue lunch with. We couldn't be more pleased with how good these turned out to be. Smoky from the charcoal grill, the skewers of whole chunks of tender yet fat-free meat were made even more irresistible dunked in the thick peanut gravy that's punctuated with the brightness of puréed pineapple.
This astonishing dessert comprises of two scrumptious parts and one very accurately-calibrated element of unexpectedness.
The former two are the soft and fluffy steamed banana cake with caramel sauce, and the spectacular gula melaka ice-cream (seriously, I would break into Candlenut's freezer for it! ). But for me, what pushed this dessert up a couple of notches to extra special-dom was the sharp tang from the zingy banana lime compote.
I am pretty sure even the most hyper-critical matriarchs of any traditional Peranakan family will give this a nod of approval.
Not the traditional ingredients but an interesting reinvention of the classic dish.
The dry curry 1824 grain-fed beef bone-in short rib is another recommendation from the staff and definitely made for meat lovers with that huge chunk of meat. But fret not, the meat was wonderfully fork tender and can be easily pulled apart. The curry is full of rempah flavor and probably a whole lot of other spices that are beautifully blended together to create a grainy yet smooth curry that is nutty and flavorful.
You must order this when you dine at Candlenut — firm and sweet chunks of blue swimmer crabmeat in a sea of yellow aromatic curry filled with tangy notes that will definitely whet your appetite. Best enjoyed with a plate of white rice!
I've heard that you can either love or hate the taste of buah keluak. This black nut is an iconic Peranakan ingredient that is commonly used with chicken. This was my first time attempting a full buah keluak dish and I really loved it! The depth of the flavor and how I didn't get sick of it is an indication of how much I liked it! There were 2 rather fat chicken legs and 2 thigh meat in the dish that were very tender — and remember to drench a generous amount of sauce over it!
YAY to the ala carte menu back on Candlenut's dinner menu and this Wild Caught Baby Assam Squid was a recommendation from the staff (thank you for your wonderful service!) which wow-ed our tastebuds. The sweet and sour tamarind greeted us in a long and smooth manner, made more wholesome with the squid ink while we enjoyed the tender squid body fully coated with the sauce and topped with fried shallots.
A stick of this on the tasting menu was blatantly insufficient; hence an order of 4 sticks more.... give.us.more (!!!)
Not everyday you get well handled squid ink that was ingeniously appetizing by the enabler: tamarind. I'd sense a tinge of pride when local squid tasted so right and chewy but mainly kudos to the chef handling it in the wok.
Plump prawns with fresh Sambal that would cater to most diners; the spiciness level was not tear inducing with its deceiving bright red appearance as if screaming red hot lip-smacking stuff here!!! Throughly enjoyed this despite being an avid chilli/anything spicy eater. If you are looking for a worthy spicy contender I'd recommend the blue crab curry which embodies zest and a rich coconut milk kick simultaneously- amazing execution anyone?
Could count the number of legit Perenakan meals I've had with both my hands yet my amateur opinion rates Candlenut as number one for now.
I mean all wok dishes and curries we had fully embodied rich Perenakan flavors, of which most desirable to my palate- coconut milk and tamarind 😬
Rice is never plain when you can afford mixing it up with the rich gravies.... Mmhmm
[One Michelin 🌟] Sounds quirky but it worked very well. It came as a medley of flavours, texture and temperature in a single dessert.
The cold buak keluak ice cream sits atop a bed of chocolate crumble, salted caramel and chilli specks, then topped with warm milk chocolate espuma. Evident is the popping candies and the sharp chilli. The earthy ice cream is light in its buah keluak taste, so the ice cream is still dominated by the 80% valhrona chocolate. Be sure to eat everything (espuma, ice cream and all the crumbles) together to enjoy the full spectrum of the flavours, texture and temperature simultaneously.
The friendly server Felix who’s just like your uncle next door said “Look, the ice cream has not melted. This is also whats special about it".
This isn't the typical Kueh Pie Tee.. It's contains blue swimmer crab, and a secret 'Yeye' curry. The curry isn't that spicy, so it works very well with the delicate crab. It's sweet, refreshing, and it's my favourite appetizer that evening.
This pong tahu soup is easily my favourite dish that evening, with a soup base full of seafood taste. It's really intense, and I highly recommend this.