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Restaurant review: We try out vegetarian café Central Park at University Town

Central Park
University Town @ NUS
2 College Avenue West, #01-09
6734 0298 |

Because vegetables can be fun too

Typical student fare can mean instant noodles, kebabs and fast food-court grub. So a surprising and welcome addition to the NUS Dover UTown campus is Central Park, offering raw (meaning unheated, or cooked at less than 40 degrees Celsius), vegan and vegetarian food. Chef Sandra Lee aims to encourage healthy eating, serving up her wholesome food in a light and airy canteen-style setting.

Our appetiser of herbal soup ($5) promises an East meets West combination, although the East takes the edge with the pretty flowers of white fungus floating in the light broth, alongside pieces of mushroom and chopped chives.

Steamed mushroom tofu ($9) and a seafood tortilla wrap ($9) arrive next. A truffle-infused mushroom and vegetable “gravy” on top of the delicate silken tofu made this very moreish. In contrast to the softness of the tofu, the seafood wrap was crunchy and stuffed full of salmon, dory, prawns and salty cheddar cheese.

We managed to share a creamy risotto ($9), and I’m glad we did, as this was the biggest hit in my books. The organic black jasmine rice still had a bite, and the flavours of truffle oil and strong raw blue and cheddar cheese were delicious.

For dessert we devoured a pot of deconstructed cheesecake ($5). As we dipped in, we discovered crumbly chocolate cake, raw chocolate sauce (apparently made smoother with the addition of avocado), cream cheese frosting and a smattering of berries.

Central Park is an eye-opener in terms of the variety and depth of flavours that raw, vegan and vegetarian food can actually offer, and the best part is it fits nicely under the banner of healthy eating.

Also recommended are the veggie burger ($9) and pan-seared salmon ($9).

Must-try dish: Organic black jasmine rice risotto with raw blue cheese.