That describes the cooking at Como Cuisine, the latest restaurant under the group started by hotelier and fashion retailer Christina Ong to open in Dempsey Road. Its menu is a collection of dishes from the various Como properties that span Asia, Australia, Europe and the United States, and encompasses Western and Asian flavours, tied together by the slant towards clean eating.
A dish such as Scallop ($28), where the shellfish is tossed in a mild coconut chilli dressing with pomelo, wing bean and bean sprout, is a good example. The natural sweetness of the barely cooked scallop comes through clearly, with the other ingredients playing a supporting role by adding textures and flavours to rescue the dish from monotony. The tart pomelo also provides acidity to make the dish even lighter.
The same idea is used in another dish, Linguine ($32). Besides more than expected toppings of crabmeat and pine nuts, the pasta also comes with zucchini, peas, lemon and mint. It tastes delicious, with the nutty richness balanced by the refreshing flavours of the vegetables.
Even a deep-fried dish of Pork Cutlet ($32) comes across lighter because it is topped with rocket leaves, pomelo, capers and olives. But the cutlet itself is uncompromisingly sinful, with the thin slice of pork covered in a parmesan herb crumb and fried till fragrant. The coat of crumbs is nicely crisped while the meat is moist.
The heaviest, as well as the most expensive, dish on the menu is Wellington ($48). Unlike traditional Beef Wellington, where a piece of fillet steak is encased completely in pastry, here, the meat is shrouded in a pastry net instead. There is also a slice of pan-fried foie gras under the beef and the Wellington is topped with shavings of black truffle. A nod to healthy eating comes from the spinach puree in the dish, but this is otherwise unabashedly sinful.
It's a good thing the desserts I pick are more refreshing than rich. The Sumatra Honey Flan ($12) is a smooth custard with a light but distinctive honey sweetness. It comes with juicy chunks of pineapple topped with almonds. Lemon Verbena Jelly ($12) is even lighter, with lots of acidity from slices of citrus fruit and marinated cucumber circling the jelly. It is a pretty dessert too, with its cheery palette of yellow and orange that includes bright yellow edible flowers.
The bright and light food is also captured in the restaurant's ambience. In the day, sunlight filters in through French windows that also offer views of a little landscaped garden outside. In the main dining room, garlands of air plants hang from the high ceiling. At the sides are hanging lights, with polka-dotted paper shades that look like Japanese lanterns. So even at night, you feel like you are dining in a garden pavilion or conservatory. It's a place that makes you feel good. As does the food.
Where: 18A Dempsey Road
Open: 12:00pm to 8.30pm daily
Tel: 1800 304 6688