Kuching Old Courthouse was one of the colonial-era buildings built during the White Rajahs’ era. Before it was converted to ChinaHouse, the building used to be home to Sarawak Tourism Board and National Park Booking Office in Kuching (now temporarily moved to Sama Jaya Nature Reserve until a permanent location at the Urban Transformation Centre Sarawak is completed), Sabati’s Women’s Museum and Little Lebanon Restaurant (now closed permanently).
The idea of the historical colonial building turned to restaurant, cafe and cultural complex was originally brought to Georgetown when one talented Australian named Narelle McMurtrie had recognised the city’s tourism potential. McMurtrie, along with Christopher Ong; an expatriate Australian, had helped transformed Georgetown’s ramshackle shophouses into boutique accommodation, cafes, restaurants, shops and cultural centres.
Image credit to The Borneo Post
With her eyes set on Kuching, Narelle McMurtrie had once again worked her magic and transformed Kuching Old Courthouse into one of the coolest place to hang out in Kuching.
ChinaHouse was opened around March 2016. It houses crafts & art space, library, café & wine bar, gift shop, reading room, performance space, restaurant and auditorium.
The most popular spot at ChinaHouse would be Kopi C Café. With over 30 cakes displayed on a long table and in a glass-fronted fridge, tourists and locals had been visiting the café to check out their cake assortments such as Salted Caramel Cheesecake, Passionfruit Coconut Buttermilk Cake, Lemon Meringue Tart, Vietnamese Coffee Tart, Chocolate Coconut Meringue Pie, Banana Mocha Frost Cake, Ginger Cake and many more! For Halloween night, they even have specially decorated cakes in Halloween theme such as Chocolate Decadence, Chocolate Devil, Chocolate Tissimo, Mocha Tart, and Fleur de Se.
Cakes are not the only attraction of this café. Guests can also try their daily bento special, Chopped Crunchy Salad, Ginger Bud Pesto Spaghetti and others. There are mahjong papers covering the tables so that the guests can doodle on it using the crayons on the table. Recently, they even give Cash Voucher worth RM50 to the best doodle of the week. Guests can also play board games while waiting for their food.
Another famous section of ChinaHouse Kuching is the performance space called The Canteen. Visitors get to enjoy live music performance from local and international bands for free and sometimes for a fee. Among the bands that have performed at the Canteen were Cermin, Tornado Eye, Drasska, Bencana, The Warm, Inspired The Bee, Eleven 51, The Farrah and others. Sometimes, there will were events held there such as Tamiya Mini 4WD competition, Art Galleria’ exhibition and the occasional Quiz Night and Open Mic Night.
Image credit to Borneo Post
Image credit to Borneo Post
For those who wish for a romantic dinner, they can go to BTB Restaurant. The restaurant is opened daily from 6:00pm to 11:00pm. They serve modern western style dishes influenced by a mix of Asian and Middle Eastern cuisines.
The relaxing atmosphere of ChinaHouse, along with the cool and artistic decorations and friendly staffs make the place a cosy hang out spot for tourists and locals.