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.
IPO ? What IPO? When I first heard of the word IPO, the first thought that conjure in my mind was that some company is going to be Public Listed soon? Initial Public Offering?
Then I saw this restaurant that opened right across from City One Mall. I passed it a few times and I was thinking, another restaurant is here. Hope they will last long. Lately, seems many restaurants have mushroomed up and close soon enough.
So finally I visited the eatery over the weekend. I am a true blue Malaysian who loves all Malaysian food, esp. Nasi Lemak, Sarawak Laksa and so much more. When I flipped the menu, I saw all my favourites listed there, esp, the nasi lemak. There were several variety of nasi lemaks here.
When my nasi lemak arrived, it was served on a dimsum tray. I was surprised because nasi lemak is supposed to be associated with Malay food, not Chinese meal but still, it looks fairly presentable. How delicious a nasi lemak is depends on the sambal , and here I give thumbs up to the sambal because it is salty, spicy and soury due to the tamarind juice in it. Some nasi lemak sambal is too salty because they added in too much of belacan but here I give thumbs up to the nasi lemak. I usually eat half bowl of rice but this meal today, I ate the whole lot of rice in the plate and all because of the sambal.
My friend ordered Penang Fried Kuey teow (noodles). Seriously, everyone claims to serve Penang Fried Kuey teow in town but we would say it ain’t the real thing unless the cook is from Penang or you have it in Penang. Well, here this afternoon, the meal is served in a half wrapped brown paper laid out on a plate with a sheet of banana leaf underneath. There were 3 prawns in it, clams and beansprout, with sliced scallion and fried shallots sprinkled on top. The kuey teow was fried to perfect brown colour and it taste quite delicious.
The kuey teow was served with chillies in soy sauce and lime. The chillies were quite spicy for Sarawakian’s taste buds, but it was a nice addition to the kuey teow if you prefer it spicier.
It was so delicious that she gave 9 out of 10, minus 1 from full mark because she never tasted the original Penang Fried Kuey Tiaw for comparison. She ate every single bit of her kuey teow though. Since she didn’t unwrapped the brown paper, as the staff already took the trouble to present the dish nicely, her plate was clean. It can be passed as a new plate if not for the wrapper.
The names of other dishes are quite amusing. Who would’ve thought of naming a dish Apa Pun Ada Nasi Lemak? Only at IPO.