Eating in Kuching 2016 - Kopi C Cafe at Chinahouse Kuching
The Old Courthouse Complex had undergone extensive conservation work many years back - but since then it has been left relatively idle trying to find usages that fit into the ambiance of the venue. I was very happy to hear that it was finally taken over by Narelle McMurtrie of Bon Ton Resort and Chinahouse fame - finally, something exciting is happening at the Old Courthouse. Unfortunately, it has been a very long wait - more than 2 years since I heard the news.
The venue is not really fully open yet - there are signs everywhere saying that renovation is progress, though I don't see much renovation activities going on. For now, the Cafe is open - plus a shop and reading room.
Kopi C Cafe is named after its namesake in Chinahouse Penang. The concept is similar - a casual cafe serving coffee, drinks, cakes and light bites. They have done a great job in decorating the place - given it a rustic and Bohemian charm. Narelle's signature of using antiques, found objects and old furniture is evident in the whole venue.
As you walk into the cafe - you are hit with a bit of deja vu. The same wooden table in Kopi C Penang can be found here greeting the guests - filled with over 20 types of cakes. Behind the cake display is a graffiti/ painting done by Ernest Zacharevic - actually a replica of a mural in Penang. The seating is mostly communal style - which I think Kuchingites will need a bit of time to get used to.
I had been to Kopi C for lunch a couple of times and was wowed by a couple of their dishes. Coming back for dinner I decided to order the same dishes - the Vegetarian Mezze and Pasta with Ginger Flower Pesto. The Mezze still impresses - 9 different dips and spreads each with its own unique taste and all were delicious. I wish they could be more generous with the bread as like the previous times we had to ask for additional bread to soak up the beautiful flavours.
The Ginger Flower Pesto Pasta was not as good as the previous time I had it. The taste is not as fresh and fragrant.
Two other dishes we ordered also did not fare so well. The Chicken Snitznel was deepfried chicken covered in corn flakes served with mashed potato and a few pieces of broccoli. The presentation looked half-hearted and frankly this dish do not belong on the menu.
Rendang Fried Rice - the fried rice was mushy and wasn't fried rice in the true sense. The rendang was just passable.
There are obviously some consistency issues in the kitchen. Maybe it is opening jitters and I really hope they can iron things out because this is really a beautiful venue and it is good to see the Old Courthouse finally put to good use.
*Update: The partnership with Narelle did not seem to have worked out and Kopi C Cafe is now The Commons - serving some of the same dishes but with a different vibe.