Café Review: Sinseh: The Grocery

The name may score points for quirkiness, but Sinseh: The Grocery sets up all the wrong expectations for customers.


The only thing that smacks of traditional Chinese medicine here are the glass jars, which hold not gnarled bits of bark and dried cicadas, but of items like homemade cookies and rosemary-infused olive oil. The shop owners aren’t the typical elderly men but a much younger Muslim couple. And while a grocery store suggests more pedestrian or common food items, this one stocks local, home made gourmet food that’s not easily found on the shelves of your neighborhood supermarket. Oh, and it also serves freshly made pastries and snacks for takeaway.

Rohaizan, one half of the husband-and-wife duo behind Sinseh: The Grocery, tells UW about the kind of items stocked on their shelves.


Joining the group of Muslim-owned cafés in the vicinity of hip streets Haji Lane and Arab Street is Sinseh: The Grocery, a dessert takeaway joint/grocery store opened on Nov 29 by the owners of The Lab SG.


These 2 establishments along Jalan Pisang are just a couple of stores apart, just a 10-minute walk from Bugis MRT. Unlike The Lab SG, Sinseh: The Grocery is more for takeaway, thus the only table available is a wooden cart just outside the store, which seats just 5 people.


We tried one item each from the 4 main attractions from their menu: waffles, sweet and savory bagels, and drinks.


The “Churros Apple Waffles” ($10) is a quadruple sweet whammy that will get you a sugar rush faster than how the ice cream starts to melt in the Singapore heat. The cinnamon sugar-coated waffle is topped with a big scoop of maple walnut ice cream, with candied apple chips and caramel sauce added over the top.

Churros Apple Waffles


The waffle is soft and crisp at the sides with cinnamon sugar lodged in the waffle’s crevices. The maple walnut ice cream tasted more vanilla and walnut than maple, but the crushed walnuts in the ice cream gave it a nice nutty texture. When eaten together, this mix of flavors do go well with each other although the combination of the maple walnut ice cream and the cinnamon sugar waffles was on the sweeter side. After having the waffle, we realized that our plate was missing a dollop of speculoos jam (as stated in the menu), and we suspect it was unavailable that day.


Apart from the waffle combinations on the menu, Sinseh: The Grocery also offers “special of the day” waffles. The day we were there, we noted that banana waffles (“Banana Walnut Crunch”) and durian waffles (“Durian Caramel Waffle”) were available. Both the Banana Walnut Crunch and Durian Caramel Waffle use maple walnut ice cream, but Banana Walnut Crunch uses a plain waffle base with fresh banana slices and banana puree toppings while the Durian Caramel Waffle has durian paste mixed in the waffle batter. Perhaps that’s something to look out for.


Next, we had “Go Berries” ($9): Strawberry cheesecake ice cream sandwiched in a blueberry bagel and topped with strawberry wafers and fresh strawberry. We love that the bagels were toasted and didn’t turn soggy even after the ice cream began to melt. Bagels are known to be chewy, and if you’re accustomed to the soft waffle, the slightly crunchy bagel will seem a little unyielding. The strawberry cheesecake ice cream reminds us of Ben & Jerry’s, but it didn’t have the bites of cheesecake and strawberry jam, and is much creamier, almost like a pureed strawberry cheesecake.

“Go Berries”, strawberry cheesecake ice cream sandwiched with blueberry bagel and topped with fresh strawberry and wafer.


For those of you who prefer customizing your own ice cream waffle/bagel, you can do that too.


Rohaizan Abdul Rahman, 35, one half of the husband-and-wife duo behind The Lab SG and Sinseh: The Grocery, shares that her business partner/husband, Luqman Hakim, 29, came up with the idea of bagel ice cream sandwiches as he’s a lover of bagels. They noticed that people were becoming more interested in bagels, and that they’re more commonly savory, so they decided to make more options for sweet bagels. The compact menu has 3 variations of waffles, sweet and savory bagels each, 11 drinks, and 12 flavors of ice cream during our visit.


As for their savory bagels, the “Salmon & Dill Bagel” ($12) was piled generously with smoked salmon, and sandwiched with dill cream cheese, Spanish onions and mesclun salad. We’d expected the raw red onions to be pungent; instead, they lent a nice aromatic flavor to the sandwich. As with the previous “Go Berries”, the texture of the toasted plain bagel may be a little chewy, but it had a nice crunch, so it didn’t bother us too much especially because we had the bagel-wich open faced.

Salmon & Dill Bagel


Most of the drinks offered at Sinseh: The Grocery are floats (a beverage topped with ice cream), and no hot drinks were available. Well, if need be, you can buy hot beverages at The Lab SG.


Virgin Lychee Mojito

We went for the “Virgin Lychee Mojito” ($7) and according to the menu’s description; it was a “lychee and lime infused soda topped with lychee lime sorbet” that had mint leaves and lime slices in it. The drink was slightly fizzy and tasted like a regular syrup-based drink with hints of mint. If we’d wanted a shot of sugar, we’d have preferred to enjoy a scoop of ice cream instead, as we’d prefer something milkier than of a sorbet that has the same flavor profile as the drink. However, if you’re a sorbet lover, you might want to taste the sorbet on its own at the counter first. The prices at Sinseh: The Grocery are similar to other cafes like Stateland Coffee and Waffle Slayer, but pricier than popular neighborhood stores like Creamier where an ice-cream waffle combo is usually under $10. Although Sinseh: The Grocery’s filling desserts are reasonably priced, their single scoop of ice cream costs $5. At that price, we’d rather fork out a little more to get some Haagen-Dazs.


Unlike many cafes touting the homemade label, Rohaizan candidly shares that their bagels and ice cream are outsourced, due to the fact that they don’t have the capacity to devote more storage space and time for it. As it is, the kitchen is busy baking fresh loaves and churning out burgers at The Lab SG daily. She says that this is another way of supporting local ice cream makers.


For those who don’t like having desserts standing or in the outdoor heat, the staff shared that diners of The Lab SG can order their desserts from Sinseh: The Grocery and enjoy it within those premises instead.


Besides the ice cream desserts and bagel sandwiches, Sinseh: The Grocery also offers freshly baked pastries that aren’t on the menu and that vary each day. We spotted molten lava cake, cinnamon rolls, baklava, herb buns and croissants (priced between $3 and $8). We were too stuffed to try the baked goods, but we’ve made a note to head back for those.



Household food products are available for purchase in their grocery section, with items ranging from a $4 cookie to a $37 KeepCup, an Australian brand of “barista-standard” reusable and recyclable tumblers meant for hot drinks that can be found in McDonald’s, select stores and cafes in Singapore.


Other items on sale are in-house products, such as homemade “no-salt seasonings”, repackaged tea leaves and jellybeans stored in glass bottles and test tubes, keeping their product and décor aesthetics similar to The Lab SG. It’s from the concept of “concocting” something from different ingredients and displaying a myriad of products inside the kind of glass jars commonly found on the shelves of TCM halls that inspired the name of Sinseh: The Grocery, explains Rohaizan.


Besides a small selection of imported products like organic diced tomatoes and soymilk from the brand Kirkland, Sinseh: The Grocery shows support to local businesses by stocking independent local brands. Some items include jams from Straits Preserve, granola bars from Eastern Granola, and handmade nougats from 3 Bites Full.


Rohaizan says that Sinseh: The Grocery is an extension of the company’s vision of, “We Experiment”. She hopes that the grocery section of the store can allow people to bring home items to “experiment” with (in their cooking), and that Sinseh: The Grocery can be an outlet for them to further play around with desserts.



9 Jalan Pisang, #01-01


6291 5743
Opening Hours:

Monday to Saturday, noon to 8:30pm