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Great conversation over a nice meal

 | March 22, 2011

Chatterbox in Bangsar Village is a hit with office workers because of its above-par Hong Kong-style dishes.

FOOD REVIEW

Now and then, friends call up and suggest a “neutral territory” for lunch. It simply means that we meet each other half-way in the Klang Valley.

Some of us are staying on the other side of the Federal Highway, and the others are from the older sections of Petaling Jaya. What better place to have lunch than Bangsar.

So naturally, since all of us are Chinese, Chatterbox in Bangsar Village Shopping Centre, Jalan Telawi, seems to be the most appropriate place.

Years ago, Chatterbox was located in a different corner of the complex. Now it is on the first floor of the Bangsar Village, nearer to the main entrance. You can’t miss it unless you have left your
spectacles at home.

Chatterbox has long been a favourite among office workers because of its above-par Hong Kong- style dishes. Most young people prefer dishes like baked cheese rice, fried tong fun, yung chow fried rice, fried beef koay teow and hor fun Cantonese-style.

There are many others of course but the above mentioned is just to give you an idea of what the restaurant has to offer. The Hong Kong milk tea or “nai cha” is also something to write home about.

My friends and I were early at Chatterbox. We were about half an hour earlier than the usual lunch crowd. Since we were not very adventurous, we decided to go for the seafood rice fried in XO sauce.

While other fried rice variations cost a little less, this particular friend rice was about RM13.80. My mother would have dragged me out of the place if she knew what I was paying for “just fried
rice”.

When it came, it looked compact. It simply meant that it was overturned from a bowl which was earlier filled to the brim after it was fried in a hot wok.

XO sauce

There were two big prawns, an assortment of veggies and a generous dose of XO sauce. I am not sure if everybody knows about XO sauce.

It is one of those Hong Kong wonders concocted a long time ago in some chef’s kitchen over in Hong Kong. Apparently, XO sauce works magic with certain dishes.

The finished product tends to taste better, smells great and makes you want to return to the same place over and over again.

On a scale of one to 10, I would give this particular fried rice a “7”. However, the price, in my humble opinion, was a bit steep. Since it was Chatterbox in Bangsar, no less, I will let it slide.

It is no secret that the rentals in Bangsar are detrimental to the balance sheet of any establishment if that place is doing less than good.

My friend who opted for Hong Kong milk tea was quite pleased with his choice. I just had hot Chinese tea because I knew I needed a beverage to counteract the oil in the fried rice.

Chatterbox has a pleasant ambience. It is not noisy like many downtown coffeeshops and service is better than average. Cleanliness of the restaurant meets our high expectations because it caters to the upper middle class and fussy young professionals.

Affordable prices

If you want to please a female colleague, buy her lunch at this place. It won’t make you a pauper and the place has a bit of class without being snobbish.

If you do decide to pick the baked cheese rice, I suggest you share it with a friend. I have tried this item at another Chinese restaurant.

Baked cheese rice is great for the first 10 minutes, after which you feel like fasting for 24 hours. It is rich, slightly heavy on the stomach and doesn’t taste quite oriental.

If you haven’t tasted baked cheese rice before, there’s always a first time. Most people above 40 try to go easy on dishes like this. For young people, I am sure your heart can take it but don’t make it your favourite dish.

With its reputation intact for a number of years now, Chatterbox is expected to thrive in Bangsar. Residents here will continue to patronise the place because of the prevalence of high disposable incomes.

In other areas in Petaling Jaya, Chatterbox may have a fight on its hands because the coffeeshops tend to dispense with the nice décor and just offer good food with very affordable prices.


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