Iluma is one of those places that seems like such a good idea but once you go in, you get bored so fast 10 minutes seems like an age. Unsurprisingly for a teenage-oriented place, this place is teeming with kid-wallet-friendly places. Empire State is one of them. Surprisingly for a teenage-oriented joint, this place has decent value for money food!
I insisted on having salad, so this starter came along. I was pleasantly surprised to see the fairly sophisticated touch of pistachios and grape halves under the balsamic cream dressing. Of course the teenage touch was having way too much dressing so after a while I gave up trying to scrape the extra off. Can’t fault them for being generous though.
I thought I’d have a change from burger (DC was on a bit of a burger roll), so I went for the completely different spaghetti meatball. If I was a teenager, I’d be in heaven: it was one hell of a plate of pasta. Think of a huge plate of spaghetti smothered in bolognaise sauce and then have a giant meatball on top of it all. It’s crazy mound of food and it took ages to get through.
DC of course went for the Empire State Burger. In a rare moment of weakness, he declared it the best burger he’d had in a while. I felt that while it was incredibly juicy, there wasn’t a whole lot of taste to it aside from salt. It wasn’t a bad burger though, and was hardly asking to be gourmet.
This is a great joint for having a lot of food at decent prices. The tagline is spot-on: they’re sure to stuff you till you’re full. It’s a great place to take a teenager (or a DC for that matter!).
201 Victoria Street
#04-03 Iluma At Bugis
Tel: 6238 7076
There are a few interesting little eateries in the Bugis area. One of these is Food for Thought, a cafe that ploughs its profits into social causes. Not everything on their menu is great. I had the lunch deal for the Asian beef soup and smoked duck salad, neither of which was particularly special. Now the soup and sandwich set is definitely more value for money as they thoughtfully provided a little tomato and lettuce side salad. DC had the tomato and pumpkin soup with pulled pork sandwich set. The soup was decent and the pulled pork sandwich was very excellent. I liked how the tender pork contrasted so well with bits of still-crisp crackling and soft sweet potato. It made for a generous filling to the soft ciabatta. Definitely something to go back for.
A distance away, down Seah Street is a Entre-Nous, a French creperie with the best crepes I’ve tried in Singapore. I immediately knew that I had to have the salted caramel crepe, while DC went for the chocolate version. It wasn’t too bad, the chocolate sauce was obviously home-made, of good chocolate. It was very good, though once you try the salted caramel version, there’s no competition at all.
This time I made the better choice. The home-made salted caramel was to die for, especially for someone with a salty tooth like me. And of course the crepe was faultless, it was soft with lovely crisp edges. We’re definitely going back there sometime soon.
Food for Thought
420 North Bridge Road
North Bridge Centre
Tel: 6338 8724
Parklane Zha Yun Tun Mee House at North Bridge Road serves pretty decent wanton noodles. This branch is just at the bus stop opposite Bugis Junction. It’s a great place to have a cheapish meal in the area.
The best part is the deep-fried wanton. The crispy and savoury bites are pretty addictive. While the char siew tastes good and is charred about right, it’s a bit too dry. The noodles are acceptable, though not as “Q” as I’d expect for wanton noodles. I like the chilli sauce and mix loads of it into the noodles. The soupy wanton are forgettable.
$4 per plate is worth paying if you’re in the area. Better than food court.
Let me just set the record straight. One of my greatest shortcomings as a food fanatic is that I don’t eat durian. I know, I’m remorseful and shamefaced, but I just cannot bring myself to it.
However, a friend of mine does, and she loves durian so much she ordered the Durian Double-Boiled Milk and Egg White at Ji De Chi with extra durian. In her defence, she’d been durian-deprived for a while. The server did a double-take and told her that the dish already had durian in it. To that Durian Queen firmly told her that yes, she wanted the durian-flavoured dessert with extra durian. And so this arrived.
In her own words, Durian Queen said the extra durian topping looked like turd. But she tried a bite and suddenly claimed that she was having a durian-gasm. Digging further into the, er, white stuff that was durian flavoured, she found hidden depths of more durian badassness goodness.
I’m sorry for being remiss in reporting the flavour and texture of the dish, suffice to say the non-durian-eaters at the table just gaped in awe at Durian Queen smacking her lips, probably having multiple durian-gasms. At the end of it all, she scraped her bowl clean of the last morsel and licked her spoon off too. ‘Nuff said really.