Last year, not long before I ended up moving to my new digs, I visited Nou Eul Tor, a Korean restaurant just round the corner from where I am now living. Over the winter, it appeared the restaurant had closed down, and a few months ago, I noticed signs for a new place called Candle Light Indian Restaurant.
Once I saw the coming soon sign posted, I started checking on a more regular basis for when the opening would be. Finally, seeing the open sign lit up in the window, I was able to make my first visit the next day, which ended up being their second day in business.
Stepping into the restaurant, the decor doesn’t look a whole lot different from when it was Nou Eul Tor. there are new pictures on the wall, and the whole tone of the place seems a little brighter, but the tables and layout are pretty much the same. The one thing that stood out for me was that, unlike a lot of Indian restaurants, Candle Light doesn’t feature a buffet, and least not as of yet.
When I arrived for the first time, it turned out that it was only the owners working, they were both in kitchen, but fortunately, their young child came out and let them know, loudly and clearly, that they had a customer.
I went a little wild on my first visit. I started out with Papri Chaat for an appetizer. Ordered a Lamb Vindaloo for my main, added an order of Naan. This may not seem like much, but the Vindaloo came with both rice and a salad, and I also received an order of pappadams with the rest of the meal.
The Papri Chaat came out first and I was quite surprised by the size of the order. This dish with it’s mixture of potatoes and chickpeas and spicy sauce makes for an interesting change from a typical salad type starter. For one thing, it is quite a bit heavier, this appetizer would actually make for a nice, light lunch. just on it’s own. The crunch of the papdis make a nice contrast to the soft chew of the potatoes and chickpeas.
The Lamb Vindaloo came next. It fulfilled all the requirements that I have in the dish. It was spicy, and the there was plenty of lamb that was reasonably tender. The salad was good, a simple mixture of lettuce, cucumber, and red bell pepper.
The totality of the food was such that I couldn’t eat all that arrived at my table. Fortunately, I had some of the Vindaloo and the rice packed up and I took it to work with me, for lunch the next day.
The Naan was also good and light. There was plenty of garlic to it, and the order size was good enough as well. Despite only the owners being on shift, the service was prompt, efficient, and the food arrived in good time.
Not pictured, I also ordered a salted lassi to drink. It’s a peculiar drink, not at all like the mango lassi, and I’m not sure that I would acquire, even over repeated tastings.
Return to Candle Light
It was a few days before I made my next visit to Candle Light. In the intervening time, they were employing a new server, and there were also a few more customers than on my first visit.
This time around I decided that I would order a lighter appetizer than I ordered on the previous visit. I chose the Pani Puri, without fully checking what it included, and was surprised when this bowl of liquid(pictured below), arrived at my table as part of the order. My first reaction was that this didn’t look all that appetizing, but I figured I’d go ahead and give it a try. I initially spooned the liquid into the puri pastries, but as I went along I dunked them straight into the spicy water.
The spicy water was a real revelation. It had a good, spicy kick, that really exploded into my mouth as I bit into the Puri. This dish is a good lesson in not judging a dish simply on appearances.
Normally, having ordered a lamb dish on my first visit, I would have ordered a different type of meat on my next visit. However, having just tried the Lamb Rogenjosh when I visited Ivory, I figured I’d give the Candle Light Lamb Rogenjosh a try.
On the whole, I preferred the Candle Light version. One reason it was only $10.99 for the dish at Candle Light, as compared to $15.00 at Ivory. Another reason is that the Candle Light version featured the lamb cooked on the bone. This made for meat that was quite a bit more tender. In Ivory’s favour was that they delivered a really spicy version of the dish, which Candle Light didn’t, even though I had requested it to be really spicy.
This time around I ordered the pappadums. Pappadums are one of the few Indian foods I associated with my childhood. My mom grew up in India, and we occasionally ate a curry for supper, but it’s having pappadums as a snack that I remember more. The pappadums I ordered arrived at my table quite quickly, and I dispatched them in much the same fashion.
Later, during my meal, my server came by with another basket. I wasn’t sure if she thought I hadn’t received my first order, or whether or not they just offered my a second one. Candle Light seems to be the place where you might receive an unexpected amuse-geule from time to time.
My server seemed fairly inexperienced. However, any lack of experience was more than made up for by the attentive nature of the service. With Candle Light being at the end of my street, I can see myself ducking in from time to time, either for the dine-in experience or to order takeout.