Massive Portions at a Teenage Joint

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!).

Empire State
201 Victoria Street
#04-03 Iluma At Bugis
Tel: 6238 7076

Two Odd Vodkas

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Vodka is traditionally made from grains like wheat and rye. Trust the French to make it with grapes.  The five times distilled Cîroc I had was another novelty item at what was really meant to be a whisky night. I know it’s unfair to the vodka to say that it was bland in comparison, but that’s what vodka is like. Here, the usual clean and rather smooth spirit had a whiff of floral aromas, the usual smell of grape ferment. I wish I could describe it further but I wasn’t paying attention and was too distracted by the excellent single malts on offer that evening.

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Just to prove that I’m not such a vodka fan, this 50 cl bottle from Mongolia has been sitting around my kitchen for the past eight years. Despite doing the usual vodka shots and vodka watermelon at parties, it just hasn’t shifted. I think it means more that I need to have more parties.

Chinggis Khan is a wheat-based vodka. (In case you were wondering, Chinggis Khan is the way Genghis Khan really should be pronounced, it’d somehow got lost in translation/phoneticization.)  It’s pretty much top quality, exceptionally clean and smooth. Not much in terms of nose, unless you count the sting of alcohol. It was very warming and immediately set to work by tickling the back of my palate. Nice and tingly.

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[edited: 15 April 2009, 3.50 pm]