The history of Singapore chicken rice goes back many decades, but before the local hawker chicken rice fanfare gaining steam thanks to the popularity of blogging and reviews, Mandarin Hotel’s Chatterbox was said to be the pinnacle of this Singapore cuisine. I know our northern neighbour and probably China may lay claim on its origin, but that to me is insignificant, I’m sure by now the differences must be getting more diversified that it may no longer be an apple to apple comparison anymore. Anyway, the last time I patronise Mandarin Hotel’s Chatterbox was more than a decade ago, and to be honest, apart from some very positive impression then, I couldn’t remember in detail. So before I start, I need to reiterate I am not able to relate any differences between the Chatterbox in Mandarin Hotel and their subsidiary here. Let’s just take this as an independent review.
Express by Chatterbox is located in a rather inconspicuous spot in Downtown Gallery along Shenton Way. It’s half hidden behind the escalator on the ground floor, where one can easily overlooked. The ambience itself is probably half their outlet at Mandarin Hotel used to offer (I haven’t been there since they shifted from ground floor to Level 5 many years ago), and hence reasonably reflected in their price. In fact, Express by Chatterbox offers minimal services whereby customers order and pay for their food at the counter, and then given a number chit for their order. They then proceed to the food counter for their order when the number is flashed. As such, Express by Chatterbox doesn’t charge for services, and their price already included GST. However, it must be noted that their charges is merely a fraction they were charging at Mandarin Hotel.
Perhaps I have a weak recollection, but I thought the portion at Mandarin Hotel was a bit larger. Nevertheless, the quality of the chicken rice here is truly class! Although the prices still a little pricey comparing to hawker fare, after all, I believe so is its rental, and a better ambience naturally. I suppose the portion of the chicken here is randomly allocated, but if you specifically asking for chicken thigh, you will have to top up $2. As can be seen from the picture, their chicken was adequately moist, and the meat was rather tasty. The fragrant oiled rice was delightful, all in all, Express by Chatterbox certainly did not fail.
I also ordered their Yang Chow Fried Rice with Fried Egg, which was exceptionally tasty! Firstly, they are using fragrant oiled rice, so its taste already gained an head start. Next, they know what ingredients really bring out the taste in fried rice, notably roasted pork and shrimps. The accompanying egg was a disappointment though, I would personally prefer scrambled egg fried with the rice. As for the fried chicken, I love its crispiness, though somehow it just made this dish looked more like Nasi Lemak than a Yang Chow fried rice. But frankly speaking, identity aside, this is truly delectable.
Express by Chatterbox
6A Shenton Way #01-04
Tel: +65 62200758
11:00 hr – 21:15 hr