Type of Institution: Non-vegetarian
Address: Central Park, No 2 College Avenue West, Stephen Riady Building #01-09, UTown (National University of Singapore), Singapore 138697
Tel: +65 6734 0298
Website: http://www.centralparkutown.com/, https://www.facebook.com/CentralParkAtUTown
Opening Hours: Mon – Thu 11.30 am – 6 pm (last order), Fri – Sat 11.30 am – 10 pm (last order)
Central Park is a fairly new café that touts itself as the new dining destination for the health-conscious, established within the educational hub of University Town at NUS, or UTown for short. I’ve been wanting to try the food here ever since I’ve heard about its concept – “raw, vegan, vegetarian, seafood – fresh, quality food and mostly organic”. If there’s one thing that unites most vegans, it’s our invariable excitement at the opening of a new eatery that proudly proclaims an affinity with plant-based food. I visited on a Saturday afternoon, when the café was fairly empty. I was disappointed to find that they only had a few vegan selections, most of which I tried. There also were no raw food options aside from their dessert of the day. The food took a while to arrive although the café was mostly unoccupied as the chef seemed to have been working the kitchen on her own.
This colourful medley of oven-roasted sweet potatoes and purple, gold and pink heirloom potatoes had wonderfully fresh and natural flavours, which would have been perfect with just a bit more salt and black pepper. But the texture of the potatoes paled greatly in comparison – the soggy skins clung to the potato flesh, which were all too soft. The addition of truffle oil did not accomplish much, though it might have successfully dressed up the simple dish if the failings mentioned previously had been addressed. ($8.90)
Chef’s Vegetable Special – Quinoa and Tempeh
Round blackened tempeh cakes marinated in a sweet and smoky Cajun-style seasoning were served on a bed of chewy quinoa infused with mushroom flavour. Sweet cherry tomatoes helped to balance out the dish. ($13.90)
A scattering of cubed Portobello mushrooms and black olives could not spruce up the slightly overcooked and flavourless fusilli. ($9.90)
Drinks-wise, kudos to Central Park for bringing in Juiceology, which creates delicious, organic, all-natural juice cocktails with subtle, complex flavours (as well as teapigs, one of my favourite tea brands in the world). I loved the Coconut Water and White Guava – refreshing coconut water is softly sweetened with white guava, and rounded off with hints of lemon and cinnamon. The Lychee, Berry and Basil was an interesting blend but I personally do not enjoy dominating notes of berry. ($7 for each bottle)
Conclusion: There were only a few vegan selections at Central Park – you’d have better luck with the Chef’s Vegetable Special as the ones on the regular menu were unexceptional.