What's in a name? Plenty, if the name is Sinpopo, a notoriously sleazy 1960s night club along Joo Chiat. Although it closed in the 80s, the name has been resurrected and given a squeaky clean makeover with Sinpopo Brand Cafe, a retro cool cafe styled after a 1970s coffee shop. With decor, food, and desserts that have been painstakingly researched and recreated by the people behind Awfully Chocolate, Sinpopo Brand Cafe evokes memories of days past, and is a draw for both young and old alike.
The 1970s nostalgia ambience at Sinpopo Brand Cafe begins with its reto signage and 1970s Sharp brand sliding door television. Retro posters created by in-house designers adorn the walls, old vinyl records and other antiques like a rotary dial telephone are placed around the interior, and even the floor tiles, authentic 1970s doors, enamel and metal cutlery were sourced. The curated items even include period Chinese music which plays in the background! The only sign of modernity... air conditioning which keeps the place cool!
Service at Sinpopo Brand Cafe is semi self-service. Refer to the old-school exercise books for the menu, check off the items you want, place orders and make payment at the cashier counter, styled to look like a coffee shop drink stall. The upbeat and friendly staff will serve orders to your table when ready... which is quite fast even during peak periods. Good!
Portions at Sinpopo Brand Cafe are generally quite large, and more then sufficient for one person, although I recommend sharing their dishes. Prices at Sinpopo Brand Cafe are cafe-esque, costing an average of SGD $9 or so per main dish, and SGD $6 or so per dessert. This tends to polarize people, some love the high quality and creative food / desserts, while others complain they can get cheaper versions from elsewhere. Personally, I feel the price is rather justified for the quality of food and the ambience.
The Sng Muay Pop (SGD $3.90) is a refreshing fizzy soda drink made with Sprite, fresh calamansi, and sour plum ice balls which melt to release the slightly sour, tangy flavour into the sweet and sour drink. Loved it!
The Chin Chow With Attap Chee (SGD $4.90) has chunks of cooling chin chow grass jelly, over a bowl of finely shaved ice. The attap chee / attap seeds are perfectly cooked and soft, lovely to eat. But perhaps the most surprising twist was the addition of lychee jelly balls, which pop in the mouth to release a delicious, fruity burst of flavour which coats everything in its sweetness. Excellent!
The Gula Melaka Soft Jelly (SGD $4.90) features gula melaka palm sugar jelly, also known as dodol, cooked till silky soft and smooth, almost like soy beancurd smooth! The addition of coconut milk help to cut through the sweetness of this dessert, but I recommend sharing, because the portion is a lot for 1 person!