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Candlenut - 2nd Mar 2018


Located less than 100 metres from Huber’s Butchery is 1-michelin star Peranakan restaurant, Candlenut. Peranakan or Nyonya cuisine comes from Peranakans, descendants of early Chinese migrants who settled in Penang, Malacca, Indonesia and Singapore, who have inter-married their food with local Malays and combines Chinese, Malay and other influences. This is very unique to this part of the world and hence Candlenut has become one of my go to restaurants when I am bringing a visitor from out of town to experience something different.

Block 17 of Dempsey now features 3 different dining concepts in one, with the other two being a Japanese tempura restaurant and the French cookhouse brasserie. My Australian friends and I started our meal with appetisers of homemade kueh pie tee, ngoh hiang and satay. It is interesting for them that they had to assemble their own pie tee by combining braised turnip, prawns, chilli and egg. I then ask them to finish the whole pie tee in one mouthful. A much cleaner and easier way to eat this especially with Chef Malcolm’s shell which is the thinnest pie tee shell I have ever tried. The turnip braised with pork belly  braised in prawn stock had a good depth of umami flavour. The ngoh hiang here is also the best I have tried with a crispy beancurd skin encasing a coarse mince mixture of pork, prawns and water chestnuts. What is the thing inside that is crunchy, is the typical question I get when eating this dish. I really appreciate that the ingredients are coarsely minced with a better texture and I feel like I’m eating good ingredients and not some finely minced commercial one with flour substitute. The last appetiser is a charcoal grilled Kurobuta pork neck satay that has been seasoned with kicap manis glaze. There is no peanut sauce for this satay as the glaze has sufficient flavour and sweetness. The satay is not the usual tenderised meat ones you find at hawkers but one that uses a good pork to get a tender meaty bite.

 

Kueh Pie Tee and Ngoh Hiang

Kurobuta Pork Satay

For the mains, I usually order each person a plate of white rice and order a bunch of dishes for sharing. I recommend the plain rice which pairs better when you are consuming curries or food with strong tasting sauces. The blue swimmer crab curry is one shining example of a great curry especially for foreigners. It is not very spicy and has an addictive coconut curry that is spiced with turmeric, galangal and kaffir lime leaf. The star for me though is the wagyu rendang. I used to think rendangs are good but more or less created equal until I tried this one. The chef has managed to up it by one notch with melt in mouth wagyu beef cooked in coconut with spices that is well balanced and super shiok. The vegetable dishes here are not to be outdone especially the chap chye. This mixed vegetable stew contains braised cabbage, black mushroom, lily buds, black fungus and vermicelli. Again the fermented soya bean and prawn stock base brings this dish to new heights. The sambal lady’s finger is cooked with potato leaves and eggplant with a nice flavour coming from the dried shrimp.

 

Swimmer Crab Curry and Wagyu Rendang

 

Chap Chye and Sambal Lady's Finger

Singapore is home to the world’s cheapest Michelin star dish. For me Candlenut has to one of the cheapest one Michelin star restaurants that you can experience good service, sit in a nice ambience while enjoying a hearty and delicious meal.


~Andre Huber
Executive Director

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