The Place If you are working in CBD or Tanjong Pagar specifically, you will probably notice a new office building called OUE Downtown Gallery, where there are several new restaurants such as Express by Chatterbox. This casual restaurant located at level one is the offspring of Chatterbox restaurant at Mandarin Orchard Hotel, famous for its Chicken Rice since decades ago. The space of the restaurant here at OUE Downtown spots a modern look, which is cosy and casual, quite an ideal venue in CBD for lunch gatherings with friends or colleagues.
The Food Unlike the infamous Chicken Rice price at Mandarin Orchard (more than S$25 per plate of Chicken Rice), the prices at Express by Chatterbox is way more wallet friendly if you have been curious about trying their chicken rice. Prices start from S$8 for its Signature Chicken Rice, and there are many more local delight options such as Homemade Char Siew Rice (S$8), Signature Laksa Noodle (S$8) and Wanton Mee (S$8).
I went straight for the Signature Chicken Rice, which is definitely a much smaller portion as compared to the one served at Mandarin Orchard Hotel. The rice does not have a strong fragrant smell, something I usually look out for in a plate of chicken rice. The texture of the rice leaned towards the dry side, but it is not a big issue if you drizzle some of the dark soy sauce and chilli over it. That said, I enjoyed my meal, partially because of the nice ambience to dine in.
The chicken fared better than the rice. The texture was smooth and tender, while the meat was moist enough.
Rants The opening hours is limited to weekdays currently and closes at 6pm. This almost means a slim chance of trying the food here if you are not working in the vicinity. That said, it is perfect for budget conscious tourists who have been keen about Chatterbox.
Will I Return Again? Many restaurants are awfully packed in CBD during lunch hours and I am glad we can satisfy our chicken rice craving in a comfortable environment like Express by Chatterbox now. The prices are higher than food court or the Hawker centres in town, but you get to dine without breaking a sweat. Overall, this is no doubt a good option and business initiative by the Meritus hotel group for diners to enjoy the famous Chatterbox Chicken Rice at a fraction of its original price.
Taste bud: 3.5/5
Hole in the pocket: 3/5
Overall Experience: 3.5/5
6A Shenton Way