My Johor kakis told me about how they love the chicken rice at Café Downtown in Hotel Tropical Inn. Being a chicken rice fan, of course, I am interested to check it out.
But the price tag of RM25++ made me think twice. RM25++ seems alot to pay for chicken rice in Johor Bahru where it can be had for under RM5 in many coffee shops.
Yet, Tropical Inn's chicken rice buffet has been thriving and attracting new fans by the day. This reminds me of the famous Mandarin Orchard chicken rice which had become an institution over the last 20 plus years despite being the most expensive by far in Singapore. So, I was curious to find out "What kept Tropical Inn's chicken rice flying high?"
To start with, the service is excellent. Guests are personally served by the friendly Executive Chef Woon who cheerfully chops and cuts the chicken according to what the guest chooses.
The smooth, tender flesh was flowing with sweet natural juices which oozes into my mouth when I bite into it. The chicken was fresh and the succulent thigh had little fat on it. (Good, as I am cholesterol conscious.) I must say, this is one of the best boiled chicken thighs I've had J
Greedy me went for a roasted chicken thigh, next. This golden brown thigh was nice too. It tasted more salty than sweet, and with just the right amount of saltiness. Tender though dryer than the boiled version. You can see by now, my personal preference is for boiled chicken.
|Rice with a drizzle of black soy sauce|
The rice was excellent. The grains were firm and separate. Very lightly coated with a fragrant blend of chicken and shallot oils, the grains felt slightly nutty, which I liked.
The buffet provides a good patola (sponge gourd) soup to complement the chicken and rice.
Ginger, chili and dark soy sauces as well as gravy are provided. The ginger and chili sauces are mild, and I like the dark soy sauce best.
So, back to the question, "Was it worth RM25++ for a lunch of chicken rice?"
Actually, to be fair, the RM25++ does not just pay for the chicken rice; the buffet spread also offers several other beef, fish, and vegetable dishes. There was even a Penang laksa station. Desserts, cakes and cut fruits as well as free flow of coffee and tea were also included.
So, would I come back for this chicken rice? Yes, I would and despite my initial scepticism, I think this delicious chicken rice buffet is actually value for money (considering the buffet spread, hotel café ambiance, and attentive service).
I shall be back to try their popular herbal chicken.
(Tropical Inn's Chicken rice buffet is available on Mondays and Thursdays. On Mondays, they serve boiled and herbal chicken. On Thursdays, boiled and roasted chicken.)
Restaurant name: Café Downtown @ Tropical Inn
Address: 15, Jalan Gereja, Johor Bahru
Hours: Noon to 2:00pm
Date visited: 7 Jun 2012