SINGAPORE (Jan 31): Nestled amongst picturesque shophouses near Keong Saik Road is a surprising gem that offers up Singapore’s first (and so far only) authentic Caribbean cuisine, Lime House. The newly revamped restaurant practically begs to be rediscovered, with a brand new food and drinks selection that’s guaranteed to hit the sweet spot between flavourful food and refreshing cocktails.

Ever since opening their doors in 2013, Lime House has been pioneering the food, drink and culture of the Caribbean in Singapore. The newly refreshed space is warm, vibrant and cosy, and it features deck chairs, brightly coloured driftwood, tropical flora and a teakwood bar stocked with an extensive selection of over 300 bottles of rum. There is even a cosy patio at the back of the restaurant, which feels like it’s not part of the city at all with its creeping vines and rustic decor. The food, however, is where Lime House truly shines.

For starters, there were Mac Balls ($12++), which are mac-n’-cheese balls battered and deep fried to a golden brown; the Carnival Market ($18++), which are small fillets of pan-seared snapper with homemade jouvert sauce – the head chef’s creation made from butternut, onion, peppers, curry spices, and coconut milk – topped off with tomato salsa; and the Oxtail Eggplant ($16++), which are tender, melt-in-mouth pieces of oxtail meat atop a fried eggplant.

The Mac Balls were delicious – cheesy round gooey delights that evoke both comfort food and a little naughtiness, while the Oxtail Eggplant was a veritable explosion of savoury, meaty flavour in one bite. I was then treated to several mains, far too much for one person, but indulgence is the name of the game here, as on the menu were Old Jamaica Glazed God, Barriga Nigra, Vegetarian Pelau, Signature Jerk Chicken, and Tribajam Goat Curry. 

The Old Jamaica Glazed Cod ($39++) is served with pineapple salsa on a bed of sweet potato croquettes and was perfectly cooked, with a tangy pineapple salsa that cuts through the richness of cod. The Barriga Nigra ($45++), was my favourite – a seared, herb-crusted, black belly lamb served with sautéed vegetables that was cooked medium-well, and to perfection. For those on a keto diet, which eschews all carbohydrates and sugar, Lime House has not forgotten you – the Vegetarian Pelau ($22++) is made with sautéed cauliflower with pineapple, okra and peppers. Traditionally made with rice, this rendition uses cauliflower rice, making it a keto-friendly option. If the idea of healthy cauliflower ‘rice’ puts you off, this version may just change your mind, as it was packed with flavour and wonderfully-spiced.

Next up was Lime House’s Signature Jerk Chicken ($29++), which is a classic Jamaican dish of boneless chicken thigh marinated in a blend of jerk spices. While we are all probably familiar with this dish, Lime House offers a wonderful rendition, as the chicken stayed moist and flavourful. Finally, the Tribajam Goat Curry ($32++), which is fresh goat meat in a savoury and spicy coconut curry gravy served with rice and peas – it’s a classic for a reason, as the meat was perfectly tender and the curry gently spiced without overdoing the spiciness.

And, what is food without a good drink? At Lime House, specialty cocktails made with one-of-a-kind rums take the spotlight. I had the chance to try Caribe Libre ($19++), which is a clever twist on the Cuba Libre. It is an easy and refreshing cocktail to start off a meal, It was followed by the Wreck of the Ten Sails ($22++), an aromatic and invigorating gin gimlet which includes Thai lime leaf notes that balance the spice and pairs perfectly with the Vegetarian Pelau. The Jerk Chicken was paired with the Lime House Punch ($18++), which is a classic punch created specially by Lime House.

The Tribajam Goat Curry was paired with a Spicy Pimento ($21++) a tequila and mezcal cocktail which complements the mild heat in the curry. Finally, the Santo Libre ($19++), which is a refresher typically served with sprite and rum. At Lime House, they use a multi-island rum blend and traditional Jamaican ginger beer to add depth. If you still have room, finish off with dessert – I enjoyed the Mango N’ Coconut Panna Cotta ($16++), which is a Caribbean panna cotta with breaded coconut flakes and coconut ice cream. There is really little to fault the food in Lime House, and the perfect pairing of refreshing cocktails with incredible food rarely goes wrong.