Located along Goodwood Road in Goodwood, Candela specialises in Latin American street food, a cuisine that I have not known about until now. This type of cuisine is noted for the use of maize (corn) in many of its dishes with condiments such as chimichurri (a sauce made from parsley, garlic, olive oil, oregano and white vinegar) giving the dishes their distinct flavour. Candela's food is noted to be authentic and freshly cooked at the café.
Candela's signature dishes are arepas, a Mexican flatbread made from cornmeal filled with a variety of fillings. Tasting much like what is described in the menu, the arepas have a crisp exterior with a fluffy interior. While they are quite small, one arepa is surprisingly filling enough for one person. Out of the arepas we have tried, the Asado Negro is our favourite with a chunk of tender steak wonderfully accompanied with gravy, cheese, capsicum and chimichurri.
Asado Negro (Photographed by Jonathan Phoon)
Pernil comes a close second with juicy pulled pork complemented with gravy made from capers, red wine, cumin, oregano and orange juice.
Pernil (Photographed by Jonathan Phoon)
The two chicken arepas, Catira and Pepiada, had a more subtle flavour compared to the Asado Negro and Pernil. Both chicken fillings were cooked perfectly. The Pepiada had a more creamy flavour coming from the garlic mayonnaise while the Catira had a refreshing note from the inclusion of sofrito, a sauce made from capsicum, onion, garlic and spices.
For something a bit unusual to accompany our meal, we ordered Yuca Frita, chips made from mashed cassava, a root vegetable that is used to produce tapioca flour. The fluffy texture of the chips was contrasted by the crisp coating with the taste similar to a less sweet version of sweet potato. They were served with a spicy dipping sauce to give the chips a bit of punch.
Yuca Frita (Photographed by Jonathan Phoon)
For dessert, we had churros, a Spanish doughnut dusted with cinnamon sugar served with chocolate sauce. The churros were crisp and fluffy with the dusting of cinnamon sugar bringing out their flavour. Despite being a bit watery, the chocolate sauce was a good accompaniment for the churros.
Churros (Photographed by Jonathan Phoon)
The café had a casual ambience with seatings for around twenty people. Parking is available along the street where the café is located. We noted that Candela also operates a brisk takeaway business with many customers coming in to pick up their orders while we were there. At the moment, Groupon has a $10 deal which gives you one arepa with your choice of filling, one serving of churros and one soft drink.