Sin Lee Foods: these are my obsessions

Lately, I've got chicken and waffles on my mind. 

Hence the debauchery as recently seen from my instagram feed (@fundamentally_flawed). It's disgusting, I know.

Sin Lee foods is one of the many cafes opened up in the past month or less that has inherited the name and nostalgic flavor of its original shop occupant. Converting the famous lor mee and prawn noodle shop in Jalan Bukit Ho Swee into a cafe space; I scouted around for traces or details in the fabric worth reminiscing over, but there were none. The purposefully stark innards leaving little impression in a sea of mimics spotting the island.

Leaving that aside, I reached out for Latte ($5.50). Papa Palheta's full bodied and popular Throwback blend is the main brew here, slightly nutty with just the right amount of acidity, the shot sat well amidst the mildly sweet frothy milk. Then, my brain begins percolating with pleas for a double shot... next time maybe. 

For a pint sized cafe, Sin Lee's food menu is rather extensive. Descriptions and the inspired food imagery it paints are one thing, how the real deal measures in the flavor department is ultimately the more important of the two, especially given the somewhat heftier cafe prices. 

I surprised myself with a retreat back to the Croissant Royale ($16.90); a play on the classic eggs benedict which I swore never to order in a cafe ever again. What sets Sin Lee's version apart from the usual are firstly it's generous portion sizes and that excellent hollandaise sauce. The croissant, toasted till golden brown provided that bit of crunch, whilst the other half left to wilt and take it all the goodness of the blanket of velvety hollandaise sauce and soft centered egg. Punctuated by the refreshing acidity of lemon, the sauce was a wonderful accompaniment to the heavy combination of smoked salmon and runny yolks; this dish further enjoyed with the contrast of the bitter arugula leaves showered with a light dancing of parmesan cheese. 

An honest dish with good intentions.

The A.B.C grilled cheese sandwich ($14.90) sounded much more inspired on the menu then it did in person. Grilled apple, bacon and soft cheddar sits between slices of toasted bread with a side of spam fries. The dish literally providing the ingredients listed on the menu with minimal creativity in execution. Word of advice to the kitchen staff, lower the heat on that fryer please; the spam fries were overcooked to an inch of its life. I would  also have put a little of that grilled apple sauce or perhaps maple syrup over the gooey cheddar for that contrast and definitely look into a more matured cheddar for a tinge of saltiness. But that's just me... oh yes, a little less rendering of fats on the bacon too please...

Equally lackluster is the Shashuka ($17.90), Moroccan baked eggs, house spicy tomato sauce, thick sausage, white cheddar cheese and french country toast; the dish screams against it's proclaimed nationality, the absence of related spices in this homey dish betraying its identity. The tomato sauce could have used a bit of blitzing as well, the clumsy chunks of stewed tomatoes in there together with the unsliced thick sausage (that looked like it was just thrown in some hot water to blanch) missing the mark on the hospitality and unique heartiness of Middle Eastern cuisine. Skip this dish.

One of the most adventurous dishes is the one and only Sin Lee's Fried Chicken and Waffles ($21.90).  The juicy boneless chicken leg working well on its own, but sings when bestowed with a drizzle of that melted maple butter... dayum. I'm lost for words. The cheddar iron waffles are slightly on the heavier side, with a crisp edge and moist innards (some parts of it drawing references to min jiang kui) but makes a redonkulous party in the mouth with the sinful maple butter sauce. I relished in the coleslaw as well, the overall creaminess enlivened with a tinge of citrus in there. Definitely a dish worth visiting Sin Lee for.

For a new kid on the block, Sin Lee Foods has a lot of pressure to keep up with the current food trends. A slight detour off the Tiong Bahru stretch, there is a lot of room for improvement before it's capable of getting the crowds moving over. Despite it's many hits and misses, I believe in a couple of weeks with its issues smoothened out, a dining experience at Sin Lee will be as deeply gratifying as that stellar chicken & waffles dish that I would have happily spooned with on a languid Sunday afternoon. Kudos to the team.

Sin Lee Foods
Blk 4 Jalan Bukit Ho Swee #01-164
Singapore 162004
T: 6377 3170
Tues-Sunday 10am-9pm

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