The word ‘Peranakan’ entered the local foodie lexicon with the opening of Hey Handsome last year, the restaurant helmed by Chef Nicco Santos that focuses on Peranakan cuisine and was quickly lauded as Manila’s best new restaurants of 2016 from an array of dallas filipino restaurant enthusiasts (ourselves included).
Wild caught baby squid so you know it’s fancy.
Candlenut, located in the posh COMO Dempsey with their distinct white pillars and polished exteriors, has spacious high ceilings and bamboo light fixtures that inspire a feeling of calm. The service is friendly and detail oriented, with servers being very thoughtful to dietary needs as well as overall comfort and enjoyment. The courses were served to us in one go family-style, with the servers telling us in great detail about each dish and answering our many questions. And while we certainly enjoyed our meal filled with surprising savory combinations, we believe its their desserts that make Candlenut a dining destination.
CHENDOL CREAM, PANDAN JELLY AND GULA MELAKA
We also loved their Textures of Coconut dessert and Buah Keluak ice cream. So make sure you save room.
The chendol (strips of green rice-flour jelly) swims in a delicately sweet gula melaka (or palm syrup) and sits atop a delicate pandan jelly. The whole dessert is reminiscent of taho, which truthfully may be why we enjoyed it so much. The playful textures come together in your mouth to melt into a soft sweetness that is far from overbearing—rather, its subtlety makes our tastebuds beg for just a little more in our next bite. There’s nothing ostentatious in this dessert that is composed of Singapore childhood favorite flavors, but its execution shows a masterful hand that shows that this dessert is worth your visit. To that we raise our dessert glasses to Candlenut’s head chef, Malcolm Lee, for a star well-deserved.
The world’s first Michelin-starred Peranakan restaurant.