Tour: Lime House

Created to be a place for relaxing and hanging out, Lime House stays true to its Caribbean origins. Infused with a rustic tropical vibe as well as elegant colonial touches, it makes your dining experience feel just like you're in paradise.

Updated on August 04, 2017 15:08 pm

Jerni Camposano

In one of the multi-storey shophouses along Chinatown's hippest triangle lies a dining hotspot that offers a slice of tropical nirvana straight out of the Caribbean islands. Lime House, Singapore's first Caribbean restaurant, allows you to experience the beachy ambience of the region through its interiors and delectable dishes.

Chris Morris—who was born in Trinidad and Tobago, grew up in London, and has lived in Singapore for many years—wanted people to get a taste of the laidback, nonchalant life his birthplace is known for.

From where he came from, "liming" means hanging out with friends—the very same thing that Lime House aims for: a place where people can just relax and spend an amazing time with their pals.

"Singapore is now my home. So I thought it'd be nice to do something culturally. I looked at my own culture because it's interesting and very vibrant," recounts Chris. "I realised food seems to be the best way that culture manifests itself in Singapore. And so Lime House was born."

Facade of Lime House Singapore

But Chris, together with wife Charlene, did not only put emphasis on food. The couple also made sure that the look and feel of the restaurant complement its menu.

"I feel it's important to create an overall ambience. We wanted that when people come in, they feel right at home. That fits the whole Caribbean thing because it's very much about coming to enjoy and relax," says Chris.

Aside from sun-kissed elements in the restaurant, Lime House also showcases sophisticated influences of the British colonial style. One will see this in the many furniture pieces that Chris and Charlene painstakingly sourced from antique shops across Singapore.

Chill & Dine

Located on the first floor of this multi-storey shophouse on Jiak Chuan Road are the restaurant and outdoor bar.

The distressed walls are painted in a distinct shade of blue, a hue that brings you right to the shores of the Caribbean. It perfectly blends with the original shophouse terracotta tiles on the floor.

antique carved wood room divider in lime house singapore

Chris and Charlene also maintained the antique carved wood room divider of the shophouse. In fact, your eyes are instantly drawn to it the moment you set foot in Lime House.

the mix-and-match styled dining chairs in lime house singapore

Lime House decided to go for a mix-and-match look for its dining chairs, treasure gems they got from Junkie's Corner. These leggy beauties are cross-back dark wood chairs that immediately got the couple's attention because of their elegant back designs.

Chris and Charlene also threw in some British colonial touches through dark wood chairs with long wooden slats and emerald green cushion seats. "They look like chairs used for afternoon tea in colonial times," explains Charlene.

a corner at lime house singapore

She continues, "The remaining chairs came in matching sets with the tables. The tables are all new as we needed a standard size to be able to combine them for large groups. Also, consistency in the table design helps to balance out the mix-and-match chairs so the place doesn't distract the eye by being too higgledy piggledy or jumbled."

a tropical-inspired painting at lime house singapore

Although a laidback feel rules in Lime House, no space is ever boring, walls included. They are either decked out with beautiful paintings or are home to meaningful murals.

A huge painting showing off the Caribbean beach scene on a wall inside the restaurant is something you definitely won't miss. It was painted by Chris' brother. The artwork was inspired by a beach in St. Lucia with a volcanic backdrop. "If you look carefully, you will see a small fishing boat in the sea with our three kids sitting in it," hints Charlene.

the lounge area of lime house singapore

The wall at the Lime Yard, the outdoor bar and tropical garden lounge, was originally meant to be painted with a neutral hue. But the couple didn't want it to feel bland and boring; hence, the tropical-inspired wall mural. It took two people 10 days to complete it.

the tropical-inspired lounge area of lime house singapore

Charlene narrates, "We wanted people to be able to lime outside, spend time, and relax with a few cocktails. We decided to go for a Caribbean tropical foliage look and Chris' brother, who is an artist, was visiting along with his parents. His brother and dad said to leave it with them and they painted the wall with pictures of tropical plants. They finished it off by painting the bright tropical flowers with luminescent acrylic paints."

Lime Lounge: Open Concept Space

The second floor is home to the Lime Lounge, where fun happenings like intimate parties, live music jam sessions, quiz nights, and many more take place. Its open-space layout allows for moving around easily and rearranging furnishings with no trouble.

second floor events area of lime house singapore

The straightforward wooden floor and beams are a stark contrast to the furnishing's vivid display of colours and the wall's shade of ocean blue. But it works perfectly well in evoking the feeling of an island escape.

"Most of the antique furniture pieces were from Junkie's Corner in Bukit Timah. The floor lamps were from Hock Siong & Co. while the palm plants were from one of the garden centres on Thompson Road," says Charlene.

We immediately noticed the unique vintage look of their "bench" and Chris and Charlene gamely told us the story behind one of their favourite items in Lime House.

"We were originally trying to find banquette seating, but couldn't find the right look. It was either too American diner or too nightclub. We were browsing for chairs in Junkie's Corner and spotted a church pew," relates Chris. "Charlie who runs the place said he had two of them and could recommend a carpenter who could combine them to create the size we wanted. We then found a sewing shop where an auntie made the cushions to measure."

upcycled dining bench at lime house singapore

To complete the look of the dining set, the couple paired the church pew bench with rectangular kopitiam marble tables they also got from Junkie's Corner. Although the four tables are not all the same, they are satisfied with how the pairing turned out.

Some of the lounge's coffee tables were old hotel bedroom tables the couple got from Hock Siong & Co. Chris and Charlene also scoured through David's Antiques in Balestier to get some antique wicker chairs.

rocking chair at lime house singapore

The bar area also holds a lot of design promise: bar table tops, which were custom-made by a carpenter from reclaimed teak, were accentuated with black iron bases from a commercial furniture supplier; and lounge bar chairs, which were salvaged hotel bedroom chairs they bought from Hock Siong & Co.

Caribbean Colours

Not only does Lime House feed your mind with images of an island getaway, it also satisfies your craving for fine-dining and traditional Caribbean dishes.

Some of the bestsellers on its menu include baby back ribs, fish cakes, and the famous Jamaican jerk chicken.

lime house's baby back ribs, catch of the caribbean, and curry goat
Lime House's Baby Back Ribs, Catch of the Caribbean, and Curry Goat

In the kitchen countertop, you will find a collage of coloured tiles. "We wanted a bright and tropical colour palette to give a true representation of the Caribbean: where people even paint their wooden chattel houses in vibrant colours," shares Charlene. "We were initially thinking of marble for the bar top, but after we saw how the wall was shaping up, we thought we could use the same idea for the bar top. Also, the building is an old shop house with Peranakan tiles on the outside and we thought it would be a nice idea to adapt this tile look and make it our own in other parts of the space."

mosaic tiles at lime house singapore

But did you know that all tile colours were brought in Singapore except for one? Chris and Charlene wanted this specific shade of red called flame red to be included in the collage but it wasn't available in Singapore. In the end, the couple had to import a box of flame red tiles from England.

Going Up Some More

On the third storey is another open-space room that is usually booked for corporate events and product launches. It has an adequate supply of natural light and can accommodate any seating layout.

third floor private room at lime house singapore
a corner on the third floor of lime house singapore

Lime House's myriad of surprises does not end on the third level. The upper floors are breezy spaces that are perfect venues for corporate and private social club events. Here are sneak peeks of the many Instagram-worthy design elements in this soon-to-be-launched area.

spiral staircase at lime house singapore
a colourful accent at lime house singapore
roof deck at lime house singapore

Lime House is located on 2 Jian Chuak Road and is open Monday to Friday, 5PM to 12 AM, and Saturday from 12PM to 12AM. Happy liming!

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Interior photos by Chen How Thyng

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