Another cafe exuding the old school charm is Sin Lee Foods, which is located in one of the older estates around Singapore. The cafe is just a stone’s throw away from Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board (SEAB) and a five minutes’ walk from Tiong Bahru MRT Station.
I emailed them about a week prior to my visit for a reservation and requested for a seat next to the windows, which I can assume while not stated indoors specifically, was very much implied. However, when I arrived, I was told that the seat had been given to someone who came earlier than me, even though I was punctual.
To which they apologised almost immediately through my Instagram, stating that the indoor tables were fully occupied by patrons who had reserved tables before me. I just wished that they had told me that when I made my reservations, rather than when I had already reached the cafe.
The alfresco dining area is the first thing that you will see upon arriving at the cafe. Seeing that there were no available tables indoors, we had to sit outdoors. It was rather breezy, but there were plenty of flies, which was a huge turn-off.
Coconut Slushie ($9), served with coconut jelly and toasted coconut flakes. A very refreshing drink. The pretty white and red shades are kind of reminiscent of red ruby, don’t you think?
Salted Egg Sweet Potato Fries ($12). Twice fried sweet potato fires, house made salted duck’s egg sauce and crispy curry leaves. It is understandable why this has become their signature item. A lovely combination of sweet and salty.
Sin Lee’s fried chicken and waffles ($21.90). Juicy boneless chicken leg, iron waffle, house slaw and melted maple butter. Sounded good on the menu and looked really great when it was presented, but missing the mark in many areas.
The waffle was overcooked and became too crisp; the slaw was tasteless, vegetables leaning towards the side of bitter and while the sauce was very delicious, it was given in too little an amount. The only item that I can say they truly delivered was the “juicy boneless chicken leg.”
Banana Beignets ($9.50). Fried to order cake battered bananas, served with condensed milk and freshly grated parmesan. My friend noticed an insect on the piece that she was about to bite into and we sent this back.
This came not long after. I was glad that in spite of the lunch crowd, they made an effort to serve this quickly.
On the whole, service was fine at the beginning, but when the lunch crowd came in, response time started lagging. Tiny details that go a long way like needing to make three separate requests for sauce to be served and serving dessert without utensils or serviettes.
I must add that their response on social media is very prompt. They commented almost immediately after I posted my pictures on Instagram. It would be more productive of them to put such efficiency into their service.
Sin Lee Foods
4 Jalan Bukit Ho Swee
Tel: 6377 3170
Tuesday to Friday 1100-2100hrs
Closed on Mondays (except for Public Holidays).