Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Eating in Kuching 2016 - The Granary

First a bit of disclaimer - my office was involved in the design of this new food outlet. With that out of the way - The Granary is a cafe and pub housed in an old disused warehouse behind the Wayang Street shophouses. Many Kuchingites probably don't even know that this warehouse existed - it was well hidden behind a thick bush and overgrown with greenery. 

In the renovation most of the existing walls and columns were kept. The entire roof had to be replaced as it was collapsing. Recycled building components were used to fill in the gaps, and the overall aim was to retain the rustic charm of the old warehouse as much as possible. 

A young team of entrepreneurs run the business and they managed to give the place a cool and laid-back vibe. The menu offers mostly Italian comfort food - with pasta and pizzas pretty much in the forefront. We ordered a couple of pastas and a meat ball slider to share. The sliders were bite size and quite yummy.

The Spaghetti with Meatballs came with a hearty tomato sauce and generously sized meatballs. It tasted like it was cooked by an Italian mama.

The Fettuccine with Mushroom and Chicken came in a creamy onion sauce. This was quite light and tasty.

The Granary is meant to be a social hub - so the focus is not just on the food but on the creative drinks and events organized at the venue. They have a regular BBQ night - and live music on weekends. Check it out if you are in Kuching. 

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Eating in Kuching 2016 - Sukha Cafe

Sukha Cafe is located at Brighten Square at the junction of Jalan Tun Jugah and Jalan Song. It has been opened for a couple of years and quite popular with the young and trendy crowd. The decor rides on the current on-trend recycled-retro vibe. The most striking feature is the clever use of recycled bicycle wheels in the ceiling installation which doubled as a light fitting. 

Sukha specializes in waffles - both the sweet and savoury variety. They also serve a good coffee. 

Their signature dish is the Chicken with Waffles - thick chunks of waffles served with butter milk fried chicken and accompanied with honey mustard sauce. The chicken is really very well done - with crunchy crust and tender meat inside. The honey mustard sauce is house-made and goes well with the waffles and chicken. This is definitely the dish to order here - and it is best shared between 2 or 3 people or it may be a bit too rich. 

We also ordered the Chunky Monkey Waffles - which came with sliced bananas, chocolate sauce and banana ice cream - sprinkled with crush peanuts. This is a great dessert and hits all the right buttons in terms of flavours and textures. The only small peeve was that the bananas were a bit green - otherwise it would have been perfect. 

If you are not into waffles they also do a reasonable Nasi Lemak. All in all Sukha is a nice and homey place for a relaxing break.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Eating in Kuching 2016 - GWC Cafe

GWC - Grill Wine Cafe - is an unexpected find in Kuching. I had read about it on several Facebook posts, but only managed to track it down recently. It is actually part of a new hotel development along Jalan Tun Ahmad Zaide Adruce - next to the McDonalds at 3rd Mile. 

GWC is the first restaurant in Kuching to serve Cambodian food. They also serve other Western dishes but we were there to try their specialty. I had tried Cambodian food a few years back during a visit to Siem Reap. It is similar to Thai food-  but less spicy. GWC's Cambodian offer is not very extensive. All the Cambodian dishes fit onto one page of the menu. 

We started with a Grilled Beef Salad. This is reminiscent of a Thai beef salad, and the flavours are very similar except that this version is less tart. The flavours are quite well balanced. 

There were 2 soups on the menu and we ordered both. The S'Ngor Chruok is a Cambodian sour soup - and it is like a lighter version of Tom Yam. Very nice.

Samlor Kor Koo is a traditional Cambodian soup with cononut milk. We chose chicken but you can also have it with fish or seafood. This is a bit like Thai green curry - again a bit lighter and more subtle in taste. There were a lot of ingredients in the soup - pumpkin, green papaya, long beans, young jack fruit and maringa leaves. It was the best dish of the night.

A-Mok sounds like something you could get drunk with - but is a steamed yellow curry with cononut milk in banana leaf. It is the same as "Hormok" - a dish that is very common in Northern Thailand. The texture is like very light steamed egg - and the taste is a bit too subtle. A bit more spice hit would have made it better.

Beef Lok Lak is wok-fried beef with brandy. Couldn't really taste the brandy but the beef was quite tender. The sauce is sweetish and you need to mix in a bit of the accompanying sourish sauce to balance the taste.

This restaurant and the hotel next door is a Cambodian-Kuching joint venture. The service and kitchen staff are all Cambodians. The staff are very friendly and spoke good English.  The food tastes very authentic - no doubt owing to the fact that there are actually Cambodians cooking in the Kitchen. A great place to try when you are tired of the other food options in Kuching. 

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Eating in Kuching 2016 - Nuromen Cafe

I never thought I would say this but it has finally happened - there are so many new food places cropping up in Kuching, it is difficult to keep up ! Kuching has grown up - food wise, at least !

Nuromen Cafe is a new food outlet specializing in beef noodles and rice bowls. The interior of the cafe is bright and cheerful. The black and white theme is simple yet striking. 

Located just opposite my office on Chan Chin Ann Road, I have been to the cafe a few times and quite like the food. The best thing on the menu is the beef noodle - either the dry or soup version. It has the traditional "goo bah mee" taste that those who have grown up in Kuching would know.

The beef rice bowls are a good option if you don't feel like noodles. The taste is not as satisfying as the noodles - a bit one dimensional.

For those who don't take beef they also have some chicken dishes. I am really happy that places like Nuromen have popped up - which offer something different from the regular kopitiam. It is no wonder that this place is very popular for lunch.