At some point in your life, you would have probably dined at Chatterbox, the iconic restaurant which opened in 1971 and is famed for its elevated chicken rice. Half a decade on—and a new home at Hilton Singapore Orchard (which took over the former Mandarin Orchard Singapore—it boasts an upgraded look and a curated repertoire of new and well-loved dishes.
After checking out the restaurant on a weekday night (a few weeks after its re-opening), it is safe to assume that the almost full restaurant remains popular for families and friends. After a five-month renovation which reportedly cost almost SG$4 million, we are now able to dine in a sleek and modern 126-seater space that beckons with its calming green, brown and cream hues, comfortable (and socially distanced!) seating and a stylish bar offering an array of creative libations. Yes, that includes the popular Chatterbox Punch—a spicier but no less palatable version of the classic G&T.
The food menu is more curated, with executive chef Liew Tien Heong and his team opting to keep only a few signatures and adding novel creations to keep things fresh and interesting. So, before you sample the signatures, it is recommended to order some of the fresh additions such as the wok-fried sambal vegetables and the mackerel and crab otah otah.
Best had with steamed white rice is the wok-fried sambal vegetable—it comes with your choice of kang kong or wing beans that are cooked until they are delightfully crunchy and tossed with a sweet and fiery homemade sambal sauce. A good accompaniment is the mackerel and crab otah otah, infused with the creamy flavours of coconut and aromatic herbs. Another welcome addition is the pan-seared sea perch, boasting a crisp exterior and succulent core that is accentuated with the spicy notes of the chopped green chillies.