Last Updated: July 31, 2017
Expanding from a family-run hawker stall in Thomson road, Sin Hoe Huat Cafe finds its second home in the up and coming hipster neighbourhood of Jalan Besar.
Apart from just serving up toast, eggs and kopi, this new branch also doubles as a watering hole. Situated within Kam Leng Hotel, which shares an equally vintage charm, the two establishments’ styles are like two peas in a pod.
You can choose to sit along the corridor, and soak in the old school vibes while watching the cars drive by. And by the way, the retro grilles make for a really great photo op.
The interior features an impressive wooden wall and neon sign that reminded me of a Hong Kong-style cha chaan teng.
Paired with vintage framed portraits on the walls, Chinese/Cantonese music playing at the background, and a kitchen window offering a peek-a-boo view, it felt almost like stepping back in time.
The effortlessly chill atmosphere, along with the calm indifference of the chef right next to a wok on fire, made this place all the more alluring.
I mentioned that the cafe turns into a watering hole at night and you’ll find beers and ciders aplenty. At times, the cafe and bar will also put on the sports channel, so now you know where to rally up the brothers for a drink to watch the big match.
I’m saving the night drinking experience for another time (perhaps when there’s a match on), and visited the cafe at 12 noon for some good old traditional breakfast sets.
Before starting your meal, you’ll find a selection of old school biscuits and snacks kept in nostalgic tin containers that you can help yourself to while waiting for your orders to be served.
Just so you know, the Toast Set Meals with a pair of eggs and a drink are available all day (you can even have them as bar snacks with your drinks at night), and the Mains Set with a drink are served from 10am onwards. There’s also a comprehensive drinks selection and more bar snacks to go along at night.
I started my hearty breakfast with the Curry Chicken Set ($8.90) from the Mains Set and opted to have it with prata. If you’re looking for a non-greasy alternative, you can have it with steamed rice, noodles or a toasted baguette.
Though it lacked a spicy kick, I loved that the curry was thick and creamy, which came with two drumlets, a chicken wing, and slices of potatoes. If you’re not one for spicy food, this milder curry version will probably take your fancy.
From the Toast Set Meals section, I was recommended the Garlic French Loaf Set ($6.50) that looked like it was more than enough to feed two.
Allow me to digress, because the eggs are worth a mention! They are cooked sous vide to achieve a consistent runny yolk throughout, so no need to worry about getting overcooked soft boiled eggs.
You can order them a la carte too at $2 a pair, and the price may seem a little steep, but you won’t regret it.
Back to the Garlic French Loaf — the baguette was sliced in half and coated with a golden #sinhoehuat homemade garlic spread before being toasted.
The loaf was crispy on the outside and warm and soft on the inside, permeated with the strong aroma of garlic and herbs. Unlike commercial spreads, this had bits of chopped garlic on it, which further enhanced the flavour when I sank my teeth into it.
The Steamed Bread Set ($6) can be served with either classic butter and kaya, or sugar and butter, and I chose the former just because I can’t say no to the coconut spread.
Fluffy and delicately soft, this can be wolfed down in just a few bites. Now, I can see why the night crowd could order this as a snack with drinks; I’m all up for light carbs and something sweet to pair with a bottle of beer.
The Otak Toast with Egg ($4.50) is undeniably one of the dishes you’ll have to order if you’re looking for a substantial toast to have with your coffee. It is topped with a sous vide egg to elevate the flavours and create a satisfactory mouthfeel.
The Ice Cream Bread / Ice Cream 面包 ($4.50), is a ‘zenged‘ up version of the ice cream bread we’re so familiar with. Once you’ve tried it at Sin Hoe Huat Cafe, I promise you’ll thank the creator of rainbow bread.
The rainbow bread was first toasted, making it crispier and denser than having a waffle. Topped with two scoops of ice cream, and drizzled over with lots of chocolate syrup and ground peanuts, I wished I had an empty stomach for this alone, and I’m definitely coming back to have it again.
I enjoyed the concept of Sin Hoe Huat Cafe, and how the second generation is still preserving what their parents started, while adding a touch of modernity to keep up with the times.
The dishes may be the standard classic breakfast that you can get at a much cheaper price at hawker centres, but just for the novelty and experience, it wouldn’t bring much damage to your wallets if you came here once in awhile.
Expected damage: $6.50 – $10 per person