5 Cafes At Jalan Bukit Ho Swee – A Taste of Nostalgia


Tiong Bahru was the ‘pioneer’ of the third wave café hotspots, giving rise to a number of hipster / indie / nostalgic-themed cafes in the vicinity. It seems that while Tiong Bahru is getting too saturated with cafes, new businesses are moving to nearby Jalan Bukit Ho Swee.

This stretch along Havelock Road is known for its cheap and good eats, peppered with Teochew porridge stalls, old-school Chinese restaurants and a famous Bak Kut Teh shop. Most of the original shops are long gone, and we are starting to see cafes open up in the most unexpected of places.

5 Cafes At Jalan Bt Ho Swee

Sin Lee Foods
Blk 4 Jalan Bukit Ho Swee #01-164 Singapore 162004
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 9pm (Tues-Fri), 9am – 9pm (Sat), 9am – 6m (Sun), 11:30am – 6pm (PH), Closed Mon

Sin Lee Foods is easily the most popular and known café in the Jalan Bt Ho Swee district, branded as a heritage café. Though the only thing really nostalgic about it, is the estate and the former signboard it retained.

Sin Lee called their Fried Chicken & Waffles ($21.90) “The One & Only”. Again, I blinked my eyes a moment, at $21.90. This is what I would call “delicious grub food”. The deep fried chicken leg meat laid on top, all tender and moist, could feed two hungry men. If only it was less salty. And fortunately, the house slaw at the side helped ease out the greasiness.

Other recommended items are the Salted Egg Sweet Potato Fries, Aburi Broccoli Salad, Beef & Grains, Soft Shell Bun, and Banana Beignets. (Read: Sin Lee Foods Bt Ho Swee)

Le Halo
Blk 4 Jalan Bukit Ho Swee #01-162, Singapore 162004 (10 min walk from Tiong Bahru MRT)
Tel: +65 97368087
Opening Hours: 10:30am – 6pm (Mon, Wed, Thurs), 10:30am – 9pm (Fri, Sat) Closed Tues

Next door to Sin Lee Foods. Eclectic looking café. The interior with splashes of pastel colours, selling vintage items from online shop Chair-ish The Moments. Take a selfie with the zodiac animal drawings on the walls, shaped like toast like the café’s logo, specially faced left or right in line with feng shui configurations.

Recommend items were the Piggy Stew ($11.50), Otak Egg ($8.50), Mushroom Carbonara ($14.50) and Meatball Pasta ($14.50), prepared by Chef Jimmy who graduated from At-Sunrice Global Chef Academy Singapore and completed his apprenticeship in Ritz Carlton Millenia, and Le Bistro Du Sommelier. (Read: Le Halo Jalan Bt Ho Swee)

The Tastemaker Store
Blk 22 Havelock Road, #01-705 Singapore 160022
Opening Hours: 11am – 6pm (Mon, Wed, Thurs, Sun), 10am – 9pm (Fri, Sat), Closed Tues

The Tastemaker Store feels different from the other cafes in terms of vibes – laid back, simple and uncluttered. Primary colours of white and earth are accented with touches of green from the potted plants. The type that you would film for magazines. No wonder they are frequently featured.

Food served is uncomplicated with a local twist, as they try to experiment with flavours and refine recipes we are already familiar with. I was recommended to try their Lemon Curd with Clotted Cream spread across hot muffin buns ($3.00). Perhaps the only café in Singapore to serve local savouries of Glutinous Rice ($3.80) and Yam Cake ($3.80), it could be a necessary move for The Tastemaker due to its location. Many Teochew-nang in the vicinity.

They have recently expanded the menu to serve savouries such as Curry Chicken Rice ($6.50) Crabmeat Fried Rice ($8.50) and Seafood Hor Fun ($6.80) – all in their signature metal containers. (Read: The Tastemaker Store Havelock Road)

Cream & Custard
46 Jalan Bukit Ho Swee #01-894 Singapore 160046
Opening Hours: 11am – 9pm (Tues-Sun)

A bakery cafe to join in the Bt Ho Swee ranks, located at an inconspicuous Blk 46 of an olden estate opened by Melissa Hoe. Cream & Custard specialises in cakes and tarts, selling a variety such as Passionfruit Meringue, Praline Chocolate Crunch, Strawberry Shortcake, Triple Chocolate Devil, Tropical Delight and Tiramisu. Prices are between $5-$6 (though cakes were not labelled when I visited).

Some hits, some misses. Liked the croissant with its light buttery fragrance, though some of the cakes were tried were on the sweet side. The Passionfruit Tart was way sour and sweet at the same time – I gave up after two bites. The owner (I think) quipped, “But it’s our specialty here”.

Melissa, Gambatte!

Dessert Project
22 Havelock Road #01-673 Singapore 160022
Opening Hours: 12pm – 930pm (Mon-Tues, Thurs, Sun), 12pm – 11pm (Fri-Sat), Closed Wed

Before the ice cream and waffle shop opened, they have already received seven 5-star ratings on their official facebook page, with one reader commenting about their “relaxing and friendly atmosphere”. They have very supportive friends.

Anyway, Dessert Project serves up ice cream ($3.80 for single scoop, $4.20 for premium flavours) with some rather varied flavours – think White Truffle (seriously, it almost reminded me of truffle fries), Parma Ham with Melon, and White Rabbit Candy. Loved the textures, though slightly sweet.

MRT : EW17 Tiong Bahru Station, Exit B (10-15 min walk)
Lower Delta Road, Bus Stop A (Bus stop no. B10381) : SBS 14, 32, 64, 65
Tiong Bahru Road, Bus Stop B (Bus stop no. B10169) : SBS 5, 16, 33, 63, 123, 195, SMRT 851, NR5

Other Related Entries
Sin Lee Foods (Bt Ho Swee)
Le Halo (Jalan Bt Ho Swee)
The Tastemaker Store (Havelock Road)

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