Lime House

Restaurants, Caribbean Chinatown
Lime House
Laidback Caribbean hangout off Keong Saik Road

The latest addition to the row of renovated shophouses along Jiak Chuan Road (next to Cufflink Club, right off the main Keong Saik stretch) is this Caribbean eatery, which takes its name from the term ‘liming’, the West Indian term for hanging out.

Indeed, there’s a relaxed, friendly atmosphere to the venue – it’s the kind of place where most of the guests seem to know the owners and restaurant staff, who in turn greet them in an appropriately hearty fashion. Not surprisingly, it’s already popular with the Carribbean expat community here (yes, there is one – and you can find them liming here), with native Trinidadian owner Chris Morris hoping to fill this particular cuisine gap in the local dining scene.

The restaurant is laid out across two floors, with the interiors renovated (while keeping within the heritage shophouse’s conservation guidelines) to have the feel of colonial houses in the Caribbean. There’s a small alfresco dining area in the front, with a larger  dining room inside; the bar, for post-dinner drinks, is upstairs on the second level. The music is chosen to create that island vibe and while some of the song choices border on frantic, it’s all part of the boisterous atmosphere.

To ensure the cuisine’s authenticity, Morris brought in well-known Trinidadian gourmand Hassan Defour from the UK, to act as consultant chef; Defour also personally took the restaurant’s local head chef Tony Seah, to Trinidad, Tobago and St Lucia to teach him about the culture as well as the cuisine.

The menu consists of classic dishes from around the entire Caribbean, such as jerk chicken ($20), curry goat ($26, below) and deepfried red snapper escovitch ($24).

My choice of appetizer, Slipper Lobster Cocktail ($15), consisted of avocado and marinated Slipper lobster, with a mango and pineapple salsa. While the idea and presentation was simple, the textures and tastes complemented each other for a starter that was light and refreshing.

The Curry Goat ($26) was a much heartier affair, with chunks of tender goat meat immersed in a peppery curry sauce with cubes of sweet potato, served with coconut rice n’ peas and classic Caribbean fried plantain. This is good honest food, reminiscent of home-cooking.

The Catch of the Caribbean ($20) - pan seared sea bream, was topped with coconut-breaded prawn and complemented by a pumpkin puree and souscaille and creole sauce. The flavours of the herbcoated, peppery fish were balanced well by the zesty sauce and mellow pumpkin puree. The coconutbreaded prawns were a little heavy on the batter but flavourful and complementary to the sea bream that was much lighter.

For those with a sweet tooth, the dessert menu is limited with just three options to choose from. Of these the most intriguing had to be the Deconstructed Pina Colada ($12) - a creamy coconut custard with sticky-sweet caramelized pineapple compote and a fresh, light and citrusy lime sherbet. The combination of flavour and texture really hit the spot.

To satisfy that sugar craving, you could skip straight to sampling the bar’s selection of tempting rum cocktails. Specialty cocktails like Caribbean Life ($16) and Lychee Ooh Lala ($17) have been created, while classics such as Rum Julep ($16) and Air Mail ($18) are also on the menu.

Reflecting the Lime House’s ethos, the service is relaxed and friendly. They seem to have succeeded in bringing Singapore a place to go for tasty food, enticing cocktails and a little slice of the Caribbean culture.


Venue name: Lime House
Address: 2 Jiak Chuan Road
Opening hours: Tue-Sun noon-midnight
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