Lime @ Soho 38 (CLOSED)
Time Out says
Thai with a twist
At a simpler point in time, Lime was just a small store in Kennedy Town peddling casual, homecooked Thai nosh to an adoring neighbourhood crowd. Following the restaurant’s booming success, the owners have expanded their brand to a bigger and more ambitious, terrace-boasting space in Mid-Levels.
Unlike the original location, Lime @ Soho 38 is a more confusing, east-meets-west, bar-meets-restaurant, old-meets-new, sort of mish-mashed situation. The space is decked out like a club with a curved bar, glossy paneling, and everything written in Star Wars-esque font. At the same time, you get rattan cover menus decorated with elephants and Thai masks stretched along the wall. The contrast continues into the menu, which mixes old-school Thai dishes with “Lime Twist” fusion items.
Starting with the familiar, we ordered the appetiser platter ($198) consisting of veggie spring rolls, fish and prawn cakes and battered calamari. For such a classic, Lime’s rendition was surprisingly weak with the nibbles leaning towards the bland side. Things picked up with the miang kum classic ($65) – betel leaves accompanied by six condiments, including lime, nuts and garlic. Everything wrapped in the leaves, the bundles delivered an interesting web of heady flavours.
We also tried the red curry with duck, pineapple and cherry tomatoes ($85). The waitress warned us that the curry would be “super spicy”, even gesturing dramatically with her hands to emphasise her point. We ladled the curry over a mound of pandan rice ($25), swallowed, and it was... sweet. Don’t get us wrong – the sauce was delicious, but it wasn’t anywhere in a five mile radius near the spiciness we had been promised, which was slightly anticlimactic. The nam tok mama noodles with pork neck ($88) on the other hand turned out to be a red hot chilli fest. The ramen were scented with lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves and dotted with an army of spices, leading to a fieriness that stretched straight to the back of the throat. For the simplicity of its ingredients, this was a surprisingly complex flavour mix and a welcome alternative to the more common pad thai.
Since the kitchen was out of minced pork that evening, we were recommended to try the laab pla thord of minced white fish ($88). Wary at first of how fish would fare in this traditionally meat dish, our fears were quickly quelled once we tasted the laab. This was an electrifying, crunchy combo of chillies, lemongrass and deep-fried fish that we heaped into crisp lettuce leaves, folded up like an Asian fish taco and obligingly devoured.
To end, we bypassed the been-there-ate-that desserts and opted instead for the thong yod ($52). These cholesterol-laden concoctions are made by cooking an egg yolk and flour mixture in hot syrup to form teardrop-shaped sweets. Eaten à la mode, these old-school treats were the underdog favourites of a meal with several hits and misses.
While we appreciate Lime’s Bible-thick menu, a focused approach might be more user-friendly (we did spend almost half an hour deciding what to order). If you do find yourself stumped when ordering, go for the stranger, less common dishes. Lime is one place where it pays to be adventurous.
38 Shelley St, Soho, 2179 5779. Sun-Thu noon-midnight, Fri-Sat noon-2am, closed Mon. Meal for two: around $450.