Food picks: Central Park

The trick to getting people to eat healthily is to not be too earnest about it. Talk about trail mix, tempeh, steamed kale and my eyes start glazing over.

But Central Park, located in the National University of Singapore's U Town, gets it right. The campus has lots of lush greenery and the restaurant looks out onto a lawn.

Chef Sandra Lee, who trained at the Natural Gourmet Institute and the French Culinary Institute in New York, says she named her restaurant after the famous park in the Big Apple, where she would chill out with a good book and a picnic.

The menu is designed for people on vegan, vegetarian or pescatarian diets, or those who just want to eat well.

My Vegetable Risotto ($9.90) is satisfying on the overcast day I dine there. It is made with black Jasmine rice, with portobello and shiitake mushrooms, and olives stirred through it.

The topping of rocket leaves is superfluous, mostly because I am not a fan of it, but otherwise, I enjoy the hearty dish. The nutty flavour of the rice, the creamy, pungent cheese and juicy mushrooms come together beautifully.

For dessert, my friend and I share the Chocolate Avocado Pudding ($8), a raw vegan dessert. Normally, I would shriek and then have to calm myself down with a jelly doughnut but this dessert has such a deep chocolate flavour from raw cacao powder.

It is lightly sweetened with caramel made in-house and there is just a hint of salt in it. Avocado and almond milk turn it into a proper pudding.

I stop when I have had enough so my friend snags the last spoonful.

Some things are too good to waste.

What: Central Park, 2 College Avenue West, 01-09, Stephen Riady Centre, National University of Singapore University Town
MRT: Buona Vista
Open: Noon - 4pm (Mon to Sat), 6 - 11pm (Fri & Sat), closed Sun
Tel: 6734-0298

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