Chatterbox at Mandarin Hotel Singapore used to be the epitome of high-end chicken rice in Singapore.
It was considered a benchmark that many chicken rice eateries back then wanted to achieve, priced at 4 or 5 times more than the normal chicken rice. When I say “back then”, it could be in the 1970s and 80s.
Come 2017, the reverse may have just quite happened.
Chatterbox has started an “Express by Chatterbox” concept at Downtown Gallery Shenton Way, serving this classic Singapore dish and other local favourites at mostly $10 or below.
You must know that I heard so much about “Chatterbox Chicken Rice” during my teenage years, but could finally bear to afford a plate during adulthood after working. I had it a few times ever since. While standards have been slightly differing, there were all sumptuous.
So from $27++ to $8.00.
Accordingly, the method of preparation and the source of ingredients for Signature Chicken Rice and Signature Laksa Noodle with Prawn are the same as how they are served at Mandarin Orchard Singapore Chatterbox Café.
Expectedly, the presentation came a lot sadder looking (the very orangey lighting didn’t help), but give and take.
Well, I must say I still liked the chicken pieces, and had that gloss of oil wrapping around the slippery meat. I also wished the portion was bigger.
The other supporting stars, in the roles of the chicken rice (perhaps slightly dry but still flavourful) and condiments of chilli and dark sauce, were note-worthy.
But it was something not quite the same anymore. I think a large part is also because other chicken rice eateries have been upping their game.
I was also recommended the Kolo Mee ($8.00) which unfortunately didn’t hit a home-run, marred by very soggy noodles.
Other local dishes to expect include Signature Laksa Noodles ($8.00), Yang Chow Fried Rice ($10.00), Wanton Mee ($8.00), White Curry Noodles ($8.00), and a couple of sides such as Crispy Lemon Chicken ($6.00) – which was not so crispy, Baked Honey Winglets ($5.00) and Chicken Ngoh Hiang ($5.00).
The “Chatterbox” branding may attract curious diners during the initial days, but I think a lot more has to be done I marketing and positioning it right, and moving beyond the chicken rice.
Express by Chatterbox
Downtown Gallery #01-04, 6A Shenton Way, Singapore 068815
Tel: +65 6220 0758
Opening Hours: 11:00 am – 10:00 pm, Last order 9:15 pm Daily
Other Related Entries
New Rasa Singapura (Tanglin)
Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice (Hotel Boss)
Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle (Smith Street)
The Coconut Club (Ann Siang)
Papparich (Suntec City)