Portrait of Tammy Strobel
My Reading Room

Aptly named Jubilee Coffeehouse & Bar, this vintage 1960s’ home-inspired restaurant was established in 2015 when Singapore celebrated its golden jubilee. Helmed by veteran restaurateur and founder Lee Choon Khim – who concurrently runs F&B establishments such as The Coastal Settlement, Symmetry, Unplugged, Xiao Ya Tou, and more – the design and decor pay tribute to the old world charm found in homes during the olden days. 

Once a chalet and residential development, the almost defunct double-storey space was turned into an enclave, which older generations can relate and reminisce in, while younger customers get a glimpse at what some Singapore homes used to look like. 

“Growing up, Changi was a place I would frequent. Jubilee is relevant because it is within a historical location, and while I still have memories of the old days, I want to recreate them for old time’s sake,” says the 52-year-old. 

He shares that many customers enter the restaurant with the misconception that the space is well preserved when, in fact, it was built from scratch to emulate an old-fashioned style. 

Throughout the two floors, furniture and furnishings – such as photographs of olden-day Singapore, dated paintings, rattan chairs, Art Deco lamps, vintage appliances including a vinyl record player and fan – decorate the space. Many of the pieces were salvaged and bought from The Salvation Army. “I’m basically like a karung guni (rag-and-bone man). The first piece of furniture I collected was a cupboard, which I moved from my kampung to an HDB flat in 1979,” he says. 

Much of Jubilee’s design was fabricated to include traditional patterned ventilation blocks, patterned tiles, retro window grilles and partitions, and terrazzo flooring sourced from Vietnam. Even the ceiling boards are “stained” to create a weathered look, and blend perfectly with the ambience of the interiors. 

As you dine, music from the pre-1990s era plays in the background. The menu caters to all ages, offering a spread of local fare with the likes of mee goreng and chendol, and more “hipster” options, such as truffle fries, to appeal to the younger crowd. “This is a place where all generations – from grandparents to grandchildren – can spend time, and still have conversations,” Choon Khim emphasises. 


More: jubilee