Time Out says
The OG purveyor of Hainanese Chicken Rice opens its doors at K11 Musea
As well as the iconic Tian Tian restaurant, Chatterbox is another one of Singapore’s hottest spots for Hainanese chicken rice. First opened at the Mandarin Orchard Hotel in 1971 and later reputed as among the nation’s premier Hainanese Chicken Rice spots, this world-renowned restaurant has recently made its first overseas debut, the Chatterbox Café, at the brand new cultural-retail destination K11 Musea in Tsim Sha Tsui. For a restaurant that encompasses over 2,000 sq. ft., the tables are a tad bit too “intimate”, but thankfully its atmosphere is enjoyably lively and relaxed enough. There’s a large mural of wildlife animals and tropical plants surrounding the dining area that evokes Singapore’s geology, and this in turn is complemented beautifully by the tasteful decor of Peranakan floor tiles.
Chatterbox Cafe’s signature dish, the Mandarin Chicken Rice ($118), sees the restaurant's renowned chicken poached in a rich broth that is made using the exact same recipe as at Chatterbox Singapore. The boneless chicken meat retains its moisture and is smooth, juicy and tender. The enticing chicken skin retains a thin layer of oil that gives it a nice sheen, yet it’s not at all greasy, boasting just the right amount of fat and gelatin underneath. The rice is as flavoursome as the meat. First cooked in chicken stock then folded gently with a small amount of chicken oil, it is fragrant and not overly cloying. Accompanying the meal is the requisite dipping sauce of ground ginger, egg yolk, minced chilli and soy sauce — a reflection of authentic Singaporean flavours.
There are also other signature dishes that cannot be missed, such as the Jumbo Scallop Laksa ($158). This dish is served in a deliciously rich coconut gravy stock that comes with a kick, but unfortunately the freshness of the scallops is somewhat lacking. Moving one, the deep-fried chicken wings ($78) are coated in salted-egg, curry leaf and chilli padi and are explosively flavourful. The fruit rojak ($98) is a traditional salad composed of jicama, cucumber, guava, pineapple and beansprouts, all tossed in sweet prawn paste and ground peanuts. The result is a wonderfully sweet, tangy and savoury balance of flavours. However, the pan-fried turnip cake ($78) comes as a slightly underwhelming follow-up, being overcooked and mushy in texture, and lacking the crispiness a turnip cake is supposed to have. The desserts were generally well-done, with the house-made coconut ice cream ($88) (filled with fresh coconut meat) providing a natural sweetness that lingers on the tongue. This one is thoughtfully presented in a young coconut shell, along with a tropical concoction of pineapple-filled rambutans and walnuts.
Overall, it has to be said that the quality of the food at Chatterbox Cafe is somewhat inconsistent. Fortunately however, the signature Mandarin Chicken rice carries on the brand’s 48-year legacy and doesn’t disappoint. What’s more, the service is stellar, and despite it being a full-house on my visit the servers were friendly and very attentive in a show of quality that is seldom found even in many fine dining restaurants these days. By Ann Chiu. Translated by Josephine Lau.
Shop B110, B1/F,
Victoria Dockside, 18 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
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