Cheap & Good

The Plain Jane cafe offers swiss rolls that rock

The matcha Swiss roll is infused with the right amount of green tea flavour.
The matcha Swiss roll is infused with the right amount of green tea flavour.ST PHOTO: LEE MIN KOK

As a rabid fan of desserts, the humble Swiss roll is hardly the thing to get me excited when I check out the offerings at a new cafe, The Plain Jane, in Serangoon Avenue 4.

To my surprise, the "Japanese-style" version that co-owner Jane Cheung puts out is a delightful take on this old-school cake.

The cosy cafe across Serangoon Stadium was opened by the 30-year-old and a silent partner last month.

While it also serves other bakes and a limited menu of savoury brunch items, it is the Swiss roll that I go back for twice.

Besides the plain roll ($4.90), there are also the "not so plain" ones - as Cheung cheekily refers to them - that sell for $5.90 a pop.


    Where: 01-10 Block 211 Serangoon Avenue 4

    Open: Noon to 8pm (Monday, Tuesday & Thursday; closed on Wednesday), noon to 10pm (Friday), 10am to 10pm (Saturday), 10am to 8pm (Sunday)

    Info: Call 6281-2477 or go to

    Rating: 3.5 stars

Regular flavours include Nutella, matcha, Earl Grey and raspberry, although Cheung also rolls out seasonal flavours such as Thai milk tea (made with cha yen brought in from Bangkok) and a planned yuzu version for Chinese New Year.

Unlike the slender rolls I am used to eating, the ones at The Plain Jane are plumper, yet light, fluffy and moist. The ratio of cream to roll is also greater.

I am told that a single roll, which can yield eight portions, takes three hours to make, using premium ingredients such as high-grade matcha powder and Valrhona chocolate.

Although my favourite is the matcha roll, which comes infused with just the right amount of green tea flavour, the raspberry ranks a close second.

What I appreciate is how The Plain Jane improvises with the ingredients it has to create unique rolls that vary with each visit.

My first raspberry roll has chunks of the fruit studded within, while on a second visit, I find that three different types of jam - strawberry, red currant and raspberry - have been incorporated into the raspberry-infused cream for a fruitier flavour.

Correction note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated The Plain Jane's address as Block 221. It is in fact Block 211. We are sorry for the error.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on December 27, 2015, with the headline 'Rolls that rock'. Print Edition | Subscribe