The wait is over: Candlenut opened on 1 July, ending a 1.5 year wait among the many fans of young chef, Malcolm Lee, after its previous incarnation, the popular Candlenut Kitchen closed.
The new premises, rather oddly L-shaped and dividing the dining area into 2, at Dorsett Residences is an improvement over its old Neil Road spot.
What we had:
- Kueh pie tee: the pastry shells were a bit thick here, but the filling was nice - the grated turnips were studded with bits of plump, very fresh shrimp-meat. The best rendition I'd had in Singapore.
- Ayam buah keluak: the version here was thick and dark with "buah keluak", though I found the spice content (galangal, chilli, belachan, lemongrass, tamarind) indiscernible, or perhaps intentionally toned down by the chef. After all, each Baba-Nyonya family has its own recipe for this dish.
- Ngoh hiang: rather bland tastewise, but the generously amount of waterchestnuts, shitake mushrooms and shrimps added to the minced pork gave the meat rolls here a good texture and crunch.
- Bakwan kepiting: the soup was bland, as were the pork-and-crabmeat balls. The julienned bamboo shoots were nice and crunchy. Needs more improvement for this dish.
- Babi Pongteh: very nice, full of flavours - definitely the *best* rendition of this dish I'd tasted in Singapore.
- Assam fish: Not as assertive (in terms of spicing) as the version I get in Guan Hoe Soon (my fave traditional Nyonya restaurant), but the pomfret fillets here are very fresh, and I liked the way the baby okra were just cooked, leaving a nice snap to each bite, and the aubergines were meltingly-soft. Very light, refreshing version.
- Buah keluak ice-cream with salted caramel, chocolate crumble and chilli specks, topped with warm milk chocolate espuma - very unusual use of "buah keluak" but very nicely done indeed.
- Steamed banana cake, caramelized banana, ginger crumble, with Gula Melaka ice-cream. Feathery-light light banana cake - loved this.
331 New Bridge Road #01-03
Tel: +65 8121 4107