Retro Bistro: Sin Lee Foods at 4 Jalan Bukit Ho Swee, Singapore 162004

December 27, 2014

Retro vintage cafes/bistros in the heartlands are all in the rage this year, and I visited one of them a couple of months ago on a lazy Sunday afternoon to check out what's the fuss. Sin Lee Foods is set up by The Batter People Co. (behind Batter, a creperie) and located at the sleepy enclave of Bukit Ho Swee, one of the oldest estates around. You can park nearby, and walk up a flight of stairs to find it. Look for the black and white awning!


It's a relatively small cafe that can sit probably 20 people indoors, but there's also an alfresco area that can accommodate more people who don't mind the heat (it's actually ok with the fans!).


Here's the menu. As you can see, they have quite a good variety (not too many or little). Look closer, and you'll realize that their food is not your average cafe food! That's because the owners and chef would like to introduce more interesting foods to customers. You won't find any egg benedicts here! I did find prices to be slightly high, but then again, it's not meant for your HDB zi char crowd.

There's also decent coffee, and sodas.


We tried quite a lot of items on the menu among the 5 of us when we visited! I even ordered two housemade lemonade (raspberry and passionfruit) at $6 cos they were quite refreshing.

For appetizers, there was the aburi broccoli salad ($10), which turned out to be really interesting with the use of broccoli, that had a light powdery texture unlike regular broccoli. This coupled with the crunchy bits of papadum makes for a great appetizer.


Of course we also had to order the salted egg sweet potato fries ($11), which turned out to be the best among the lot, despite how simple it is. The curry leaves mixed with salted egg sauce drizzled on sweet potato slivers fried just right, is the winning combination.


To be even more adventurous, we got the miso glazed eggplant ($10), which turned out to be a bit too wet and soggy for me. Never been a huge fan of eggplant anyway. The use of pomegranate seeds was a creative touch though.


For mains, we got 3 items as well (how hungry were we??). We got the soft shell bun ($17) because it was so well described. It wasn't too bad -- the soft shell crab was generously big.


Then there's the Sin Lee's Fried Chicken and Waffles ($21.90), which is pretty good, though it might look better than it tasted. I'm sorry to say this, but my expectations were higher. The chicken skin felt a bit too oily and stale. Perhaps that's because we were probably the last customers of the day before dinner. If you were to order this, make sure you're there early then!


The beef and grains ($23) was probably my favorite among the lot, even if its the most expensive. After two fried items, my Asian side came out and asked for some rice and protein. The beef was well-marinated and tender, and the egg on top of the risotto rice was a nice touch. Satisfying!


For desserts we got 2 items cos we couldn't decide. The Elvis Waffle ($15) was quite well-done. The waffle wasn't too hard or dry, though the peanut butter ice cream and waffle wasn't anything over the top amazing, it's good.

I can't say the same for the Mini doughnuts ($8.50) though. They are served with marshmallow and caramel sauce dips, but the doughnuts themselves are a bit too oily for us, and not in the indulgent way but the omg my arteries type of way. Avoid.


There you go! Mostly hits and some misses - overall not a bad place to have brunch or dinner at, for their innovative take on cafe food, and the different types of ingredients experimented with. As a result I'll still recommend for you to visit this retro bistro and check it out for yourself! Edit May 2016: Download the HollerOut app and quote “alexischeong” to get 10% off your total bill for spending more than $50 at Sin Lee Fooods!
Sin Lee Foods
4 Jalan Bukit Ho Swee, Singapore 162004
+65 63773170
Tuesday — Fridays 11:00 to 21:00
Saturdays 09:30 to 21:00, Sundays 09:30 to 18:00
Closed on Mondays

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