Sunday, 16 August 2015

Chicken Rice – Is Chatterbox’s Worth the Price?

A dining companion, who cannot live without chicken rice, has always wanted to try the award-winning Mandarin Chicken Rice at Chatterbox. It is located on the 5th floor of Mandarin Orchard Singapore, formerly known as The Mandarin Singapore. The hotel owner had asked its very first Executive Chef then to include three local dishes on the menu. German-born Peter Gehrmann, trained at The Savoy in London, led the team to debut Mandarin Chicken Rice on the day the hotel opened its doors  1 August 1971. While he left Singapore in the 1970s, many chefs who had a stint at the hotel's kitchen have since come out to start their own chicken rice stalls. And as part of the hotel’s SG50 celebration, the legendary Mandarin Chicken Rice was going at 50% off on its anniversary. Could not think of a better time to try this but when I called a few days before, was told the restaurant was no longer taking reservations, but would still be opened for walk-in customers. 

Not wanting to queue for hours just to eat Singapore's most expensive chicken rice, we decided to give it a miss. Until luck has it that we ended up in the vicinity on the day itself, so we dropped by to check out its queue. It was past dinner time and we could be seated immediately. We were not hungry but went ahead to order one for sharing. Arriving on a tray was a plate of chicken, a bowl each of rice and soup, and big saucers of condiments – chilli, ginger and black soya sauces. Tender chicken sat on top of lettuce and carrot strips, with cherry tomatoes and cucumber slices on the side, topped with coriander leaves. While the portion was noticeably larger than usual, one can easily buy half a chicken at this price or even a whole chicken at some places. Rice was fragrant and not too oily but both lacked the "wow" factor. Could neither rave about nor fault the soup, ginger and black soya sauce though the chilli sauce was too spicy for my liking. Okay. I have been there and tried that. Enough said.

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