New Wave Peranakan

We’ve heard it often enough. “My Mom is a bona fide Nonya, you know how much time she spends on her Buah Keluak! No short cuts!” “My Grandmother’s Peranakan recipes were from her grandmother!” “My mother-in-law uses only the freshest ingredients when she cooks, her Babi Pongteh is the best!” “Man! My neighbor’s Ngor Hiang is better than any Peranakan restaurants’!” “Hey, my wife’s Grandaunt made this Otak Otak.. damn shiok! Way better than the one from Malaysia!” “Aunty Ruby is making her famous Kueh Pie Tee tonight. You dont wanna miss it! Its the best Kueh Pie Tee in the world!” And it goes on and on…. Peranakan women are kitchen Goddesses and it seems no daughter is left out on any secret family recipes which they will in turn pass on to their daughters. Thanks to this wonderful Pernakan tradition, we lucky non-nyas get to experience every self-proclaimed auntie’s, grandmother’s, sister’s colleague’s, boyfriend’s sister’s mother-in-law’s true blue Peranakan culinary skills. This evening’s Six dinner is all about sharing the passion of an exceptional Peranakan son, Malcolm Lee. His is Peranakan cuisine with a twist. Somebody’s grandma would probably flip at the idea but hey, don’t knock it until you’ve tried it! As hosts this time round, Will-I-Am & G.licious were pleased that they did not have to stress over what to order. Candlenut prepares a fixed 11-course tasting menu nightly, adorably called an “Ah-ma-kase”

Tonight's ah-ma-kase
Tonight’s ah-ma-kase
Kueh Pie Tee
Kueh Pie Tee
Warm relish of minced pork, Banana chilli, Dried shrimps
Warm relish of minced pork, Banana chilli, Dried shrimps
Grilled Australian Beef Flank Satay
Grilled Australian Beef Flank Satay
Tumbuk Prawns, Laksa Leaf, Starfruit
Tumbuk Prawns, Laksa Leaf, Starfruit
buak keluak soup (1)
Rawon soup of Beef Cheek, Buah Keluak, Fried Shallots
Chap Chye Braised Cabbage, Sweet Beancurd Skin, Pork Belly, Prawn Stock
Chap Chye Braised Cabbage, Sweet Beancurd Skin, Pork Belly, Prawn Stock
Blue Swimmer Crab
Blue Swimmer Crab, Yellow Turmeric Coconut Curry, Kaffir Lime
roast chicken (2)
Roasted Spiced-Marinated Local Chicken, Crispy Shrimp Sambal
Grilled King Tiger Prawn, Gula Melaka Coconut Butter
Grilled King Tiger Prawn, Gula Melaka Coconut Butter
Buah Keluak Ice Cream, Salted Caramel, Warm Chocolate Espuma
Buah Keluak Ice Cream, Salted Caramel, Warm Chocolate Espuma
Mango Cream, Jackfruit, Sago, Lime Sorbet
Mango Cream, Jackfruit, Sago, Lime Sorbet
Candlenut's Signature Chendol Cream, Pandan Jelly, Gula Melaka
Candlenut’s Signature Chendol Cream, Pandan Jelly, Gula Melaka

Reviews

Scoring based on individual's opinion.
Scoring based on individual’s opinion.

Will-I-Ham says…

(1) Venue 6.0 – Ok it’s not wonderland, in fact one might even say it’s a little cold and character lacking, but then again a minimalist decor also has its own charm, and at least it’s clean and not cluster-phobic. (2) Taste 7.2 – We ordered the “Ah-ma-kase” set as it was the standard menu for dinner at Candlenut. Not a bad idea as long as the chef maintains his/her integrity, and aims to impress rather than rip-off. Around 12 dishes were served starting with assorted Canapés like Australian Beef Flank Satay, Tumbuk Prawn stuffed in Starfruit, Bergedils and Kueh Pie Tee.. which were all tasty but not outstanding except for the Starfruit item which was more exotic and refreshing in taste. Mains started with Thai Mali Rice accompanied with an ensemble of five different dishes, all packed with traditional Nonya aura but each with an addition flavor twist to spice things up. I especially liked the Beef in Buah Keluak “Soup” which viscosity was more like gravy but exceptionally delicious (i.e. if you’re a big fan of BK). My second favorite was the Blue Swimmer Crab in Yellow Turmeric Curry which was packed with a strong lemak punch together with a kaleidoscope of flavors that could blow out your taste buds. The roast chicken dish was done quite traditional but worth mentioning as it was very tender with just the right amount of seasoning and crisping, and the Grilled Tiger Prawn with creamy Gula Melaka Coconut Butter was also plenty yummy. Unfortunately the Chap Chye veg dish was disappointing as it was done too sweet to be appetizing 😞. Prior to dessert we were served a small starfruit sorbet which was absolutely delightful… light, refreshing, and not too sweet/sour like the regular blend. The final treats were hit and miss, while I really loved the taste explosion from the Buah Keluak Ice-cream with Salted Caramel Sauce, unfortunately the traditional “Kuehs” were not as memorable, and at best a Bengawan Solo equal. Well I guess you just can’t win them all..!😅 (3) Service 7.0 – My wife doesn’t take spicy food.., not a drop.., not even pepper.., which beckons the question as to why she was in a Peranakan restaurant in the first place… But that’s another topic which we can table when there’s nothing else to blab about…! Point is that the staff at Candlenut sincerely tried their best to accommodate a Non-Chilli-Eater by preparing a separate non-spicy menu just for her.., which certainly reflects well on their service attitude. Other than this, the overall service at Candlenut was reasonably pleasant and attentive, and although not all staff were properly briefed about the menu ensemble and restaurant policies, I wouldn’t hold it against them knowing well the manpower crunch in this industry… B+ for good effort😅 (4) Value 6.8 – @$50/head for peranakan food, one would certainly expect strong justification, and I think one can count on such absolution at Candlenut. With around 12 varieties served, with a good blend of traditional and contemporary interpretations, not to mention a moderately priced wine range, I must say it’s reasonably good value for money… We were however a little perturbed by the $2/dab for sambal chilli though.., as one would expect such condiments to be complementary, at least in a Nonya restaurant…😤

G.licious says…

(1) Venue 5- Very simple decor, if any at all. Really plain. White walls, brown chairs kinda plain. I believe it’s called “minimalist”. (2) Food 7.7- I had a slightly different Ah-ma-kase course from the rest since we called ahead to inform the restaurant about my zero tolerance for spicy food. And my non-spicy menu did not disappoint! The hits for me: The Baby Squid Assam Black Ink did not look very pretty but the marriage between the tangy assam, savory black ink and soft springy squid was wonderfully appetizing and delicious! We all know pork jowl is a fatty piece of meat..my Grilled Pork Jowl with Kecap Manis was well-flavored, nicely charred, very tender and despite being jowl, not oozing oil. Absolutely adore the Gula Melaka Coconut Butter sauce that dressed the giant Tiger Prawn, which, in my opinion, which was just about a minute overcooked. Would’ve been perfect! Chap Chye was too sweet on its own but I’d happily down it with a big bowl of steaming white rice! Bakwan Kepiting Meatball soup was plain and forgettable. We had almost similar starters, and while the Starfruit canapé had an interesting kaleidoscope of tastes, I most enjoyed the good ole classic Kueh Pie Tee.. something about the filling..juicy and flavorful. A must-mention is the little shot of Starfruit sorbet served in between! Perfect balance of fruity, sweet and sour flavors with crunchy bits of Rose apples. So wonderful, both as a palate cleanser and a dessert! And speaking of desserts…Had my hopes high and eyes on the Buah Keluak Ice Cream (which was not bad) but the Signature Chendol stole my heart instead! Oh no it’s not JUST Chendol! Here, the usual infusion of coconut cream and who-doesn’t-love-gula-melaka-syrup accompanies delicate green chendol jelly.. wait for it….resting atop a silky smooth Panna cotta pudding! I’d like all Chendols to be like this from now please! (3) Service 7.3 – This was a tricky one for me… A low 4.0 goes to the person who took our reservation. When asked about food/ dietary restrictions, I replied that I did not take spicy food of which she suggested I should not pick Peranakan cuisine (*dropped jaw)! Broke my heart (*sob)! A mediocre 5.3 to table service which was straightforward. A high 8.5 goes to the special effort (Thanks, Chef!) made to feed the one diner that did not take spicy food (*applause)! I guess the reservation taker, though disapproving, passed on the request anyhow. The chef’s effort won me over thus my final score of 7.3 for service. (4)Value 6.5- Had no idea what they were serving prior to arrival. Did not have to crack my brains on what to order. At fifty bucks a head, I must say it was a satisfying and impressive meal. I wouldn’t hesitate leaving my next dinner party in their good hands again, and knowing even I can enjoy Peranakan cuisine!

Tutu Kueh says…

(1) Venue 6.5- The decor of the restaurant was simple with a few of Peranakan artifacts thrown here and there….nothing to shout about but I tot the high ceilings and tall glass panel surrounding the restaurant gives it a nice flare. The place was neat and tidy with no frills and I think the owners wanted emphasis on the food than ambience . .(2) Taste – 8 Talk about bringing Peranakan food the next level. Best Peranakan restaurant I have been too!!! Appetisers were light and fresh except the satay which was meaty and pack with flavors..you know it is a good satay when you don’t have to look for the peanut sauce. Take the star fruit appetiser last to clear your palates cause it is refreshing and minty. The main courses are exceptional. Explosion of flavors in your mouth dish after dish. Boom.. boom.. boom..wowwww you be asking yourself what is this taste I haven’t had before. …my favourite was the blue crab meat with tumeric and coconut… man!!!! The taste of the blue sweet crab cover by coconut creme in tumeric sauce is heavenly. .👍👍👍👍 The other worthy main course a must try is the roast chicken in sambal. …winner winner all the way cause they use kampong chicken to deep fry until nice and brown topped with crispy hae bee chilli. ..shiok la! The prawn dish was super fresh and extra large prawns..seldom are we blessed with such no.10 prawns in restaurants here..The beef cheeks just simply melts in your mouth together with the buah keluak soup which is quite sinful…so don’t drink up all the soup cause it very rich in taste and flavor. I have yet to try their heirloom curry and ngoh hiong which I will very soon. These are really only some of their main courses we tried and I am sure I missed out a lot more. (3) Service 6.5- Normal service….put up your hands…wave and voila…service will come. The kind you get in almost all restaurant locally but was pleasantly surprise that they set up a whole special non spicy menu for one only due to her lack of good cells in her tongue to taste chilli. That why I gave them a extra 0.5pts for this effort. (4) Value 7- At $50 is priced perfectly.. not too expensive to adventure out and try it but also not the cheapest Peranakan you can get comparing elsewhere. However I had a blast and I think it is priced well to keep me going and going there again. The lunch menu is also very attractive with dishes running from $12 to $40. Overall was a very good experience with Peranakan food and really kudos to the chef and his team to bringing out such beautiful Peranakan cuisine. Any place deserving 8pts from me I will be there the following week again. “Simply bagus”

Tonguerchi says…

(1) Venue 6.5- I’m good as long as it’s clean, cool and comfy. Didn’t get a chance to visit the poopoo private powder room coz of my “public places” phobia but the place smelt nice, what with the humongous flower display they bothered with. The rest of the ambience was just “leftovers” from a different place and time not quite Nonya. (2) Taste 8- I don’t usually like to eat but tonight I rolled everything twice in my tongue and sucked hard 😜. As always, a good experience leaves me in tears but I guess the spicy chillies had a part to play in this crossbreed peranakan-ish usurious experience. I died and then died again and gladly accepted another pound of flesh. FORK to the things I forget. But I’ll tell you what I’d SPOON with all night: the stick of heavy beefy meat they call a satay but I say it should be called STAY cos it belonged in my mouth; all night long. The other dich that got my palate WET was the crab in turmeric curry. Owh! This was the LADY-dish of a lifetime. Creamy, moist coconut thick, pungent and tangy. You can never imagine crabbier pleasure than this painful bitter sweet romance. Then before dessert, we were served the most delectably small treasure cup of star fruit sorbet with Jambu. OMG. Jump my boo anytime please but he made me wait, prolonging the longing, with strangely green sperm-shaped chendol, finished and sprawling atop a handful of white creamy custard. I definitely moaned aloud at the first SPOONful. Capital SPOON, albeit small, cos too much will surely give you a heart attack. Enjoy slowly, as you would, foreplay because nothing better will cum after ☺️. Note: Oh yah. FORK the Chap Chye for its diabolically (spelt diabetically) imposterous attempt. (3) Service 7.5- Effort mostly from the libido of the chef’s exertion and not from the frigid service staff. (4) Value 8- At 50 bucks a pop, I think OMAKASE frees you from preconceptive expectations but instead, in all shades of grey, allows you to respond in a submissive euphoria of surprise. Try it. I’LL LEAVE IT TO YOU to decide. (P/S: I went back for seconds the same week.)

Just-Eat-Lah says…

(1) Venue 5- Decor of the restaurant did not masked the fusion-inspired Peranakan cuisine many have come to expect from the popular eatery. Nay a red lantern to be seen hanging from the ceiling nor a sarong kebaya to be found donned by the service staff. Perhaps a gentle reminder to patrons to not expect the traditional Peranakan fare.. (2) Taste 6- While not a big fan of “nouvelle cuisine”, ah-ma-kase dishes prepared by the chef befitted the essence of Peranakan cooking. Spices and condiments played an integral part in the preparation of each dish. I found myself enjoying more of the spices and ingredients that went into the making of each dish as opposed to the main fare itself.. Tangy lemak Thai-liked curry vs crabmeat..; Gula melaka, just rightly, marinated vs very fresh prawns..; Assam-ed squid-ink and wok-fried vs wild baby squid.. to name a few. Forgettable beef flank satay, kueh pie ti and sweet chap chye.. Fellow sixer’s mama makes better chap chye. Yummy signature chendol cream and warm chocolate over buah kaluak ice-cream were desserts worth mentioning. (3) Service 5- Efficient and adequate number of staff, who are also rather knowledgeable of the dishes served, to handle the half-filled restaurant. (4) Value 4.5- Would rather spend the $50++ per pax at a real Peranakan restaurant nestled in the eastern enclave of the island and would’ve probable spent lesser.. And oh, the $2 a tablespoon belachan chilli..?? (NB: Just-Eat-Lah’s not a fusion-fare fan.)

KitCat says…

(1) Venue 5.0- I didn’t feel like I’m in a Peranakan restaurant, it’s simple wooden furnitures and decor makes the place looks spacious and clean unlike from the usual Peranakan places you go. (2)Taste 7.0- It was my first time having a Peranakan Omakase,which was definately interesting for me! My first course was an assortment of canapes of beef flank satays, Tumbuk prawns w/starfruit, Bergedil and Kueh Pie Tee. All in bite size and tasted well .Followed by a variety of nonya dishes like the crab in yellow turmeric curry which was my favourite dish.The curry was delicious and spicy, well blended with the right amount of spices and a fusion touch of crab meat making it special from the usual curries, excellent with rice. The Tiger Prawns with gula melaka coconut butter was also a dish worth trying. It’s rich in flavour with the coconut butter. The soup was Beef cheek in Buah Keluak, the consistency of the soup was gravy like with a very strong taste of Buah Keluak. I will prefer to use it as a gravy for the rice than as a soup dish as it’s too salty for my liking. On the other hand, the beef cheek in the soup was very tender, cooked to perfection. I’ll still recommend this dish (maybe less salt for me) cause it’s different from the other soups served in other Peranakan restaurants. I luv Chap Chye but not this one as it was way too sweet. Before we continue with desert we were served with a palate cleansing starfruit sorbet. This became my new favourite dessert!! Its refreshing taste of Starfruit makes it so refreshing and light, not too sweet nor sour. The nonya kuehs were no big deal but I must say the Buah Keluak ice-cream is a must try if you are a fan of its unique taste. (3) Service 7.3- The staffs are v. attentive to our needs throughout the dinner and on top of that they whip out a different non-spicy set of dishes for my friend who can’t take chilli, it was really commendable! (4)Value 6.5- For $50 per head for a Omakase it’s reasonable. It would have been better if they didn’t have to charge for a small plate of sambal for $2. I thought its a norm to have it free in all Peranakan resturants. All in all, the Omakase experience for fusion peranakan food I think it’s worth a try.


They even made an exclusive menu for G.licious! Awww.....
They even made an exclusive menu for G.licious! Awww…..
Non-spicy starter clockwise from top left: Kueh Pie Tee, Tumbuk Prawn, Bergedil, Beef Flank Satay
Non-spicy starters clockwise from top left: Kueh Pie Tee, Tumbuk Prawn, Bergedil, Beef Flank Satay
Non spicy Ah-ma-kase mains clockwise from top left. King Tiger Prawn with Turmeric Butter, Chap Chye, Baby Squid Assam Squid Ink, Crab Meatball Soup, Grilled Pork Jowl
Non-spicy mains clockwise from top left. King Tiger Prawn with Turmeric Butter, Chap Chye, Baby Squid Assam Squid Ink, Crab Meatball Soup, Grilled Pork Jowl
Starfruit sorbet in between.
Starfruit sorbet in between. “This became my new favourite dessert!!” KitCat
Chunks of sweet crab meat cook in rich turmeric flavors.
Chunks of sweet crab meat cook in rich turmeric flavors. “…packed with a strong lemak punch together with a kaleidoscope of flavors that could blow out your taste buds.” Will-I-Ham
Bergedil for one!
Bergedil for one!
Hey, where's the dip?
Hey, where’s the dip? “..you know it is a good satay when you don’t have to look for the peanut sauce.” Tutu Kueh
Buah Keluak Ice Cream.
Buah Keluak Ice Cream. “…a must try if you are a fan of its unique taste” KitCat
chilli (2)
Two dollars, please!
squid (2)
“…did not look very pretty but the marriage between the tangy assam, savory black ink and soft springy squid was wonderfully appetizing and delicious!” G.licious
jowl
Grilled Pork Jowl “…not oozing oil” G.licious
centrepiece (1)
“…the place smelt nice, what with the humongous flower display they bothered with.” Tonguerchi
Pre-Dinner Aperitif
Pre-Dinner Aperitif
Complimentary Kuehs.
Complimentary Kuehs.
To Candlenut!
To Candlenut!
Allaboutsix was here!
Allaboutsix was here!

Candlenut @ 331 New Bridge Road  #01-03 Singapore 088764

G.licious Gravatar

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